Chuck Hagel’s road to the Pentagon has been “a bit” more bumpy than anyone realized. The reasons for this are many: off-color comments on social issues, domestic politics, and Iran sanctions, to name a few.Whether or not one agrees with the nomination, the choice of a qualified Republican senator getting significantly more flak from his own party than Leon Panetta is pretty remarkable. Regardless, it looks like he’ll go through.
His opponents were quite riled up after a major electoral setback and so-so debt ceiling performance. After Mitt Romney’s choice not to make foreign policy a major issue during the 2012 campaign, conservatives thought this was an issue where they could deal the administration a major blow. At the moment, this looks like a defeat for Republicans. But given the electorate’s apathy on foreign affairs and short memory, playing hardball with President Obama might strengthen the base without too much downside.