Stop Stepping On My Anti-Hagel Message!

As a follow-on to my last post, I am richly amused by Jennifer Rubin’s reaction to David Brooks’ argument that the Hagel nomination is actually aimed at finding an appropriate supervisor for a major rethinking of defense spending:

The most disingenuous defense of Hagel comes from David Brooks, who says Hagel is needed “to supervise the beginning of this generation-long process of defense cutbacks.” What about the dozens of qualified candidates capable of doing just that who don’t express hostility toward American Jews, disapprove of Iran sanctions and want to negotiate directly with Hamas?

You’d normally figure Rubin wouldn’t mind Brooks’ take on Hagel, much less call it a “defense” of the nominee–indeed, the “most disingenuous defense.” She’s a very big fan of maximum Pentagon spending. But as noted here yesterday, she’s decided the Hagel nomination fight is sort of the American Dreyfus Affair, a trial of anti-semitism. And Brooks is stepping on her message.

I do agree with Rubin about one thing:

Christians United for Israel came out against the Hagel nomination. The Orthodox Union (a Jewish organization with close ties to New Jersey and New York elected officials) is silent. Hence, the need to change the name to the “Christian Zionist Lobby.”

There’s no question that a desire to placate the Christian Right is the single biggest political factor motivating the recent GOP line demanding unconditional support for Bibi Netanyahu’s course of action as the most important principle of U.S. foreign policy. It’s certainly a much bigger deal than the eternally projected, eternally disappointed goal of turning Jewish voters into a GOP constituency group.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.