A view of Hagel

A reader writes:

At one time I worked in Senator Chuck Hagel’s office. I believe readers may be interested in my observations of Senator Hagel.

He has a limited educational background, and worked as a local broadcaster in Nebraska before getting his start as an aide to a Nebraska congressman in the 1970s. Before that, he fought in Vietnam, where he was seriously wounded. With his Capitol Hill background and war record, he obtained a high position in the Reagan administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs. Then he had some friends who were investing in the new cellular phone field; he sold his car to raise the funds to invest with them. That’s how he became a millionaire. And in a small state like Nebraska, that’s how a person possessed of the requisite ego, regardless of other qualifications, including intelligence, becomes a United States Senator.

He is not an active legislator. (In fact, I did not see him take much part in the floor debate last year on the traitorous immigration bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Martinez.) Once I saw him at a committee mark-up of a bill complain about the amendments process as “minutiae.” Of course, that is the blood and guts of legislating, requiring a good deal of attention to detail and effort, as the impressive Senator Jeff Sessions resolutely demonstrated during the immigration debate. It is much easier to promote oneself by appearing frequently on television, acting “senatorial” and speaking in generalities, which is how Hagel has made his name. His staff calls his tv appearances “face time.” Alas, it seems the “face time” figures like Hagel, John Kerry and John Edwards get more attention as presidential prospects than the serious legislators like Sessions.

Senator Hagel used to hold periodic meetings, perhaps monthly, with his campaign consultants and quite possibly big contributors—off government property. (This is speculation, but maybe at one of these meetings he was asked by his Nebraska agri-business contributors to front for the treasonous immigration and amnesty bill.) He also conducted a weekly telephone interview with the local press back home. The entire staff heard these interviews as a conference call. Sadly, the reporters never seemed to have an idea of the pow-wows he held with the people who really count in our “democracy,” and the interviews were largely a waste of time, although the reporters, typically, did not understand this. To be fair, I am sure Senator Hagel is no different from many of his colleagues in this regard.

He used to send his Nebraska schedule to the staff before his trips back home. I noted that the meetings with campaign contributors were scheduled for a lot more time than meetings with citizen groups. Again, he likely is no different than many if not most of his colleagues in this practice.

One prominent conservative I knew said Senator Hagel was known as the “butterfly.” That is, he makes loud pronouncements on issues, such as Iraq, gaining attention as an independent, but without actually coming to grips with the issues or accomplishing anything. He just flutters around issues. His anticlimactic announcement yesterday that he is not running for president is the latest example of his butterfly approach to serious political matters.

Another demonstration of his judgment on great moral issues was Hagel’s support of the forced repatriation of little Elian Gonzalez back to Castro’s communist Cuba. (Recall the police-state armed assault by Clinton’s federal thugs on the home of Elian’s relatives, in defiance of a court order, when Elian had an automatic weapon pointed almost in his crying face before being seized.)

I observed Senator Hagel to be something of a poseur, a man who, like many politicians, is skilled mainly at affecting a serious and commanding demeanor without actually achieving anything of substance as a legislator. It may not be appropriate to get into personalities in this way. But in view of the catastrophic mis-government that is leading our nation to ruin, I believe I should offer my observations for the consideration of VFR readers.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 13, 2007 02:56 PM | Send

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