Carol Platt Liebau: Hagel Has "Guts"?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Hagel Has "Guts"?

Peggy Noonan thinks that Chuck Hagel has "guts" because he was willing to say unfavorable things about the war long before it was fashionable to do so.

It doesn't strike me that was particularly "gutsy" on Hagel's part. As he's learned from the example of John McCain, whenever a Republican senator steps forward to criticize a president of his own party, he'll always find a receptive audience among the MSM, and he can be confident of favorable coverage. That's particularly true when it's a Vietnam war vet criticizing a Republican president about the war. And as he's learned from the example of Lincoln Chafee, no matter what he does, it's practically impossible to lose the support of the Republican party apparatus and fundraising machine.

If the war had gone well, his criticism would have been nothing more than proof of his "maverick" status, and forgotten quickly. If things went poorly, he looked prescient. So what, exactly, was the downside -- unless one counts the military equivalent of "talking down the market" as a downside, of course?

Mrs. Noonan sees the debate on non-binding resolutions as senators becoming "serious" and "taking a stand." With all due respect, only in politics could passing statements of sentiment -- with no force whatsoever behind them -- count as "taking a stand." How heroic is it to do so when the general entrusted with the Iraq mission has pointed out that it will embolden America's enemies, thereby making victory more difficult?

If the senators want to "take a stand," let them stand behind some action. Let them propose an action plan for victory, or defund the war. Otherwise, in this craven and poisonous political environment, the only really courageous non-binding resolution would be the one that calls for victory -- and nothing but.


Blogger R Platt said...

I'm sorry but Noonan has completely lost it. Only in the oxygen-deprived atmosphere of our nation's capital could anyone consider Hagel courageous. In the total scheme of things he is a relatively insignificant politico who is seeking recognition by abandoning his party and patronizing the left. Hagel is simply a loser leading a losing cause.

6:32 PM  

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