Daniel: There’s no real mystery why Barack Obama nominated the manifestly unqualified Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense: his appointment would be “historic,” like everything else about the Obama presidency. Of course, in Hagel’s case that very “historic” element — that the former grunt would be the first enlisted man to head up DOD —
is the same thing that ought to have disqualified him is not in itself a qualification in the first place. As Obama said when announcing the appointment:
Chuck Hagel’s leadership of our military would be historic. He’d be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as Secretary of Defense, one of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war, and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department. As I saw during our visits together to Afghanistan and Iraq, in Chuck Hagel our troops see a decorated combat veteran of character and strength. They see one of their own.
And that’s it. Obama knows the lickspittle media can’t resist the “historic” angle — he got elected in part on the meme — and will continue to spoon feed them as many of those stories as he can. Because, given the Left’s conspiracy-minded view of American history, “historic” comes pre-packaged with the sense of “righting an injustice.”
First enlisted man to head the Pentagon? Who better to run America’s international war effort than a guy whose view of the military was through the wrong end of the telescope? But in an administration whose governing ethos is revenge, it all makes perfect sense.
UPDATE: apologies for an infelicitous phrasing that made it seem to some that I was slagging off enlisted troops. My point remains that Obama is in part using the “historic” nature of the appointment to steamroll perfectly legitimate questions about Hagel’s suitability for the job of SecDef.