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Monday, November 24, 2014

Hagel First Obama Domino to Fall After Midterms

By Douglas V. Gibbs

The Obama administration is cleaning house, or members of the failed Obama presidency are running for their political lives.  They each have their reasons, political ambitions, and the way the media has been spinning each departure, but the reality is clear: President Barack Obama is a failure (or a success, if you are a hard left statist calling for an authoritarian regime in the White House), and he is expanding the executive branch's powers in ways the framers of the United States Constitution never intended.  Many of Barry's hard left buddies do not want to be caught in the firestorm by the electorate who spoke loudly on November 4, 2014 that they do not approve, and in the case of Hagel, the first combat veteran to hold the office of Secretary of Defense, and the only Republican on the National Defense team, the pressure to resign became too intense.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Obama's 2013 replacement for the departed Leon Panetta, has unexpectedly stepped down following the departure of Hillary Clinton last year, and Attorney General Eric Holder who announced he planned to give his resignation on September 25, 2014.  When the year began, Holder was one of three remaining members from Obama's original cabinet.

Hagel's departure is the first after the Republican sweep of the midterm elections three weeks ago.  He has been a scapegoat for the Obama team's national security failures, including criticism that the Obama administration responded too slowly to global crises such as ebola, and ISIS, even though Hagel was the lone member of Obama's staff to get it right regarding the Islamic State.  Hagel resigned under pressure, asked to step down by his highness, Obama the first.

The "decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, [is] a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration."

In other words, how the New York Times is trying to spin it, Hagel is a peace-nik, and what Obama has realized he needs is a war-monger, like the ones he hammered on as being dangerous people, while he was running in 2008.  However, the reality is, Hagel has seen ISIS for what they are, and his strategies insist that the President meet the threat with more force than he has, and demands that Obama recognize ISIS for the dangerous reality that the Muslim terror group represents - a contradiction to the President that just won't be tolerated.

The White House insists Hagel was not fired, he was simply pressured to resign (talk about double-speak), but the reality is that either critics of the administration have finally got their message through and the Big O is feeling the pressure, or the Obama administration is shifting gears to complete its metamorphosis into an authoritarian regime that won't tolerate anyone who makes "The One" look bad.

Prior to the announcement that Hagel would be gone, Obama officials were speculating on his possible replacement.  All of the potential candidates have a richer political defense background than Hagel could ever have dreamed of.  The leading candidate, a Pentagon veteran from the Bill Clinton years, Michele Fournoy, could give Obama another historical first.  If she is appointed, she would be the first woman to serve as Defense Secretary.

Dictators have consultative assemblies, teams that surround them that are loyalists, or they are removed.  Hagel's inability to fit in with Mr. Obama's circle of friends kept him on the outside.  The reality that he would be removed was not a matter of "if," but a matter of "when."  Hagel was like the court jester that failed to amuse the king, so he is being escorted out of the castle. . . voluntarily, we are told, of course.

A shuffling of cabinet members during the final term of a presidency, especially during what would be considered a lame duck period (though we all know that King Obama is anything but a lame duck), is not uncommon, but it is apparent that Hagel does not fit into Obama's plans, and needed to be removed.  Critics said Hagel failed to inspire confidence at the Pentagon, and struggled to fit into the Obama team, but that said, Obama advisers have also told President Obama to be careful with his choice for a replacement.  The President does not desire having another high-profile defense secretary in the mold of Mr. Gates, who went on to write a memoir of his years with Mr. Obama in which he sharply criticized the president.

Mr. Hagel did his peace-monger job.  He brought back the troops, slashed the Pentagon budget, and confused reporters with his unfocused and barely intelligible news conferences.  The nail in the coffin, however, came when Hagel dared to contradict President Obama regarding ISIS.  The Islamic State, according to Hagel, is an "imminent threat to every interest we have. . . beyond anything that we've seen."  Hagel also accurately stated, "They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology and a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess."  Hagel's comments recognizing ISIS as a serious threat that needed to be dealt with by the United States Military came mere months after Obama had called ISIS a junior varsity squad, and a minor threat.

Politico reports that Hagel's criticisms of the President's national security strategies did not stop with merely his public words about ISIS.  Behind the scenes, Hagel sent a memo to National Security Adviser Susan Rice sharply critical of the administration’s strategy for Syria.

Now that Hagel is on his way out, the only question that remains is, "Who's next?"

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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