“Courage”: A word we hear tossed around promiscuously about Chuck Hagel. About his Vietnam career? Nope. About personal travails? Nope. Chuck Hagel is a “courageous” man because he changes his mind. A lot.
Bret Stephens of the WSJ was among the first to detail Hagel’s lemming-like political transformations. Hate the gays when no one cared; love the gays when they do. Hate gays in the military when it was cool; love it when it isn’t. Iraq war? Yes, then no.
And today, Eli Lake has a fine piece up on the Daily Beast detailing Hagel’s determined climb up the greasy pole of political favor. In 2000, he reportedly begged to endorse George W. Bush. But when John McCain’s star began rising, Hagel clambered over Bush and endorsed McCain.
Now that he’s up for SecDef, Hagel is busy repudiating all of his old views, leaking via Obama administration officials and cronies in DC that he has once again grown in office, showing the courage that is his hallmark. Suddenly, he’s tough on Iran. Believes strongly in the US-Israel alliance. Loves the gays. It remains to be seen whether he will learn to love abortion and hate guns, but anything is possible.
Hagel’s, er, mercurial nature is yet another reason to wonder why Barack Obama wished this man to hold a cabinet posting. Because one thing is for certain, it will only be a matter of time before he changes his mind about the principles he insists upon today.