Groucho Marx for SecDef

 

191px-Groucho_MarxSo, Chuck Hagel is out; pushed, it appears. Who should replace him? Who can? Here’s the problem: The only ones who survive in the Obama administration are political hacks with personal ties to the President. This generates a Catch-22: two of them, actually.

The first is public. Anyone with the potential to get anything done will be a hack. Conversely, anyone with the potential to get anything good done will be stymied. We’ve already been warned by Bob Gates and Leon Panetta. There’s no way for the public to come out ahead.

The second is personal. Imagine that you are someone competent, say, Michèle Fluornoy. Taking this job would be reputational and professional suicide, because it’s only a matter of time before Obama throws you under the bus. So anyone willing to take the job can’t be all that smart and competent to begin with.

It reminds me of Groucho Marx and the country club. If this administration wants someone as a member, we shouldn’t want that person to join.

There are 39 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.  How he got in my pajamas, I’ll never know.

    But he was an elephant, so of course I shot him.

    • #1
  2. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Lois Lerner’s going to need Executive Privilege soon.

    • #2
  3. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I have wondered about this.  It is being made clear that Obama is getting rid of Hagel, but that he will stay on until a replacement is appointed.  I am starting to think that the replacements at Justice and Defense are not about getting new people in there it is about starting a fight with the Senate Republican’s in the hope that Obama can use the difficult confirmation fights as fodder for his war against the Repubs.  Just thinking out loud here.

    • #3
  4. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Marxist-Lennonist!

    • #4
  5. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Son of Spengler: The second is personal. Imagine that you are someone competent — say, Michelle Fluornoy. Taking this job would be reputational and professional suicide, because it’s only a matter of time before Obama throws you under the bus. So anyone willing to take the job can’t be all that smart and competent to begin with.

    Sounds familiar:

    • #5
  6. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Obama is a sinking ship in so many ways. Frankly I’m amazed more of the rats aren’t fleeing the ship. His amnesty fiat is his last gasp at relevance, and it seems like a desperate one considering all the blow back it can and will have. His foreign policy is a disaster that becomes more apparent the more people are reminded of it. I say we let him have whoever he wants for Defense it won’t matter. I’ve essentially written off the next two years.

    The next president will have to prepare to deal with a permanent Islamic State, a nuclear Iran, and an aggressively expansionist Russia that will have already broken apart Ukraine and now will be eyeing the Baltic States, Moldova, and Georgia. It is all such a terrible mess.

    • #6
  7. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Longshanks: Who is this person who speaks to me as though I needed his advice?
    Hagel: Wuaaaaagh!

    • #7
  8. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Z in MT:I have wondered about this. It is being made clear that Obama is getting rid of Hagel, but that he will stay on until a replacement is appointed. I am starting to think that the replacements at Justice and Defense are not about getting new people in there it is about starting a fight with the Senate Republican’s in the hope that Obama can use the difficult confirmation fights as fodder for his war against the Repubs. Just thinking out loud here.

    I am in something of that camp myself, less interested in the who will replace than the why was he kicked out?

    Is Hagel serving as some type of scapegoat for the disastrous rise of ISIS after our premature withdrawal from Iraq?

    Also note that with very little fanfare or media coverage this administration has decided to do a complete 180° with regards to Afghanistan. Did Hagel object? He is a Vietnam vet after all, perhaps he expressed some concerns about an open ended military engagement with no clear objectives?

    • #8
  9. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Roberto:

    Z in MT:I have wondered about this. It is being made clear that Obama is getting rid of Hagel, but that he will stay on until a replacement is appointed. I am starting to think that the replacements at Justice and Defense are not about getting new people in there it is about starting a fight with the Senate Republican’s in the hope that Obama can use the difficult confirmation fights as fodder for his war against the Repubs. Just thinking out loud here.

    I am in something of that camp myself, less interested in the who will replace than the why was he kicked out?

    Is Hagel serving as some type of scapegoat for the disastrous rise of ISIS after our premature withdrawal from Iraq?

    Also note that with very little fanfare or media coverage this administration has decided to do a complete 180° with regards to Afghanistan. Did Hagel object? He is a Vietnam vet after all, perhaps he expressed some concerns about an open ended military engagement with no clear objectives?

    Hagel has recently contradicted the White House regarding nuclear readiness (Obama wants a drawdown) and ISIS’s potency, as have various people at the Pentagon. Obama the narcissist can tolerate failure, but not dissent. I predict he will pick another Jack Lew type, whose role will be to police the generals for conformity.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Roberto, from the NYT:

    His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.

    It’s a twofer! IS and Ebola!

    • #10
  11. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    SoS: Forgive my slight facetiousness, but: How about Yosemite Sam?  (You have to admit, political hack does not describe him in the least.)

    • #11
  12. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    Son of Spengler

    I predict he will pick another Jack Lew type, whose role will be to police the generals for conformity.

    Yes, or like Rrrrrron Klain?  Was that his name? the Ebola czar – when you google him, the latest news item that comes up is Oct. 19, when he was appointed – nothing about him since then. Yes, O will appoint someone whose chief skill is bludgeoning the press to keep all bad news out of sight and away from entanglements with the White House.

    • #12
  13. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Percival:Roberto, from the NYT:

    His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.

    It’s a twofer!IS and Ebola!

    From that NYT article it does indeed appear to be a twofer. It sounds as if: A.) his disagreements with the White House were not particularly appreciated, thus  B.) making him an excellent scapegoat for all that has been going wrong with US foreign policy.

    Pencilvania:Yes, or like Rrrrrron Klain? Was that his name? the Ebola czar – when you google him, the latest news item that comes up is Oct. 19, when he was appointed – nothing about him since then. Yes, O will appoint someone whose chief skill is bludgeoning the press to keep all bad news out of sight and away from entanglements with the White House.

    I doubt it, the White House already appears to be preparing the battlespace for yet another historic appointment. The WaPo and NPR have been throwing around former under secretary of defense Michèle Flournoy. Little was said of her competence or lack thereof, I have no knowledge myself as her name is new to me, but it was dutifully noted she would be the first female SecDef.

    • #13
  14. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    My recommendation is to save taxpayers the salary and not fill the job until 2016; the Emperor will do whatever he chooses anyway. Let the deputy secretary take care of the paperwork in the meantime.

    • #14
  15. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Here’s an idea: Obama could host a reality show, like Survivor, or Top Chef, or The Apprentice. The Nominee? Celebrity SecDef? I’m sure it would generate the best ratings C-SPAN ever had.

    • #15
  16. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Son of Spengler:Here’s an idea: Obama could host a reality show, like Survivor, or Top Chef, or The Apprentice. The Nominee? Celebrity SecDef? I’m sure it would generate the best ratings C-SPAN ever had.

    It is not exactly choosing representatives at random from a phone book but probably as close as we could get and the odds of getting a qualified SecDef would probably be higher than whatever process is currently being used to vet candidates.

    As for myself I am seeing Flournoy as more of a lock by the hour.

    Former Defense Department official Michele Flournoy, who is considered to be on a short list to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, attacked Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign for recognizing that the decision to withdraw troops from Iraq in 2011 was a “tragic” mistake.

    “Governor Romney called the ending of the Iraq War and the bringing of our troops home ‘tragic,’ which is really hard to understand,” Flournoy recited for an Obama campaign video in October 2012. “He wanted to keep our troops there longer, tens of thousands of them.”

    I imagine the President would be very appreciative of this type of cheerleading at the moment. Having the SecDef defending the pull out in light of the rise of ISIS may be exactly what he is looking for right now.

    • #16
  17. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania
    Son of Spengler

    Here’s an idea: Obama could host a reality show, like Survivor, or Top Chef, or The ApprenticeThe NomineeCelebrity SecDef? I’m sure it would generate the best ratings C-SPAN ever had.

    That – that is so scary because it’s almost believable for the egos in this White House.  And Joe Biden was born to play the announcer/sidekick on such a show.

    • #17
  18. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    We’re going to war!

    • #18
  19. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Pencilvania:

    That – that is so scary because it’s almost believable for the egos in this White House. And Joe Biden was born to play the announcer/sidekick on such a show.

    In some alternative universe I am sure he is. Can you not picture it, Biden as some new incarnation of Monty Hall in Let’s Make a Deal? It is the role he was born to play.

    • #19
  20. Giantkiller Member
    Giantkiller
    @Giantkiller

    Michelle Flournoy is a capable, intelligent woman.  We could do worse at SECDEF –  for instance, another recycled political hack, or some far left true believer.  I always found Flournoy to be a thoughtful, energetic Undersecretary for Policy – which, for the uninitiated, is a critical position in the actual operations of the Department.  When she left a couple of years back, she was really missed.

    • #20
  21. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Giantkiller:Michelle Flournoy is a capable, intelligent woman. We could do worse at SECDEF – for instance, another recycled political hack, or some far left true believer. I always found Flournoy to be a thoughtful, energetic Undersecretary for Policy – which, for the uninitiated, is a critical position in the actual operations of the Department. When she left a couple of years back, she was really missed.

    Gates and Panetta both seem to have liked her.  She can probably handle it, but it remains to be seen if she fights for her charge if further cuts are announced.

    • #21
  22. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Nanda Panjandrum:SoS: Forgive my slight facetiousness, but: How about Yosemite Sam? (You have to admit, political hack does not describe him in the least.)

     Ooooooooh, Ah hates them Islamists!

    • #22
  23. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Member
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny
    Son of Spengler

    Here’s an idea: Obama could host a reality show, like Survivor, or Top Chef, or The Apprentice. The Nominee? Celebrity SecDef? I’m sure it would generate the best ratings C-SPAN ever had.

    Obama currently is hosting a reality show.  His whole administration feels like one.  It’s called Ametuer Presidency.

    • #23
  24. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Member
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    Jim Webb might make a good SecDef but he’s too independent minded and i guess he’s running for president.

    I am positive Obama is not going to pick another Repbublican.

    • #24
  25. user_75648 Thatcher
    user_75648
    @JohnHendrix

    Son of Spengler:Here’s an idea: Obama could host a reality show, like Survivor, or Top Chef, or The Apprentice. The Nominee? Celebrity SecDef? I’m sure it would generate the best ratings C-SPAN ever had.

    LOL!  You almost hit the nail on the head! Obama is a Survivor-type game show alright, but the but it isn’t the SecDef that is at risk of not surviving, its America as we have known it.

    • #25
  26. user_357321 Inactive
    user_357321
    @Jordan

    The administration has been particularly hostile toward the military brass for the entire tenure of President Obama.  I don’t think we’ve seen our experienced flag officers have suffered this kind of purge in a generation or two.

    It seems that anyone who might have a different idea or disagree with the administration on any substantive manner is quickly given the axe, and especially in the DoD.

    • #26
  27. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Pencilvania: And Joe Biden was born to play the announcer/sidekick on such a show.

    “Your challenge today is to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The winner will be the one with the most convincing testimony, as determined by a vote of the Committee. Whoever wins will get, literally, a huge advantage going into the elimination round. It’s a big [CoC]ing deal. Are you ready?”

    • #27
  28. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    SecDef Hunger Games. I’m sure EJHill could do something with that…

    hunger games joe biden

    • #28
  29. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    If, as is likely, the replacement will either be a political hack or a political scapegoat, then we all know how this will develop. The military will salute, bark “yes sir!” and then do whatever they want.

    That, and the fact that the president now has opposition with legislative-appropriations authority, means that there’s going to be a lot of traffic between the Pentagon and Capitol Hill.

    Mr. President, you’re not the only one who won’t take No for an answer.  These generals are trained to achieve an objective, and to maneuver around obstacles – and they’ve been doing it for a lot longer than you.

    • #29
  30. user_1066 Inactive
    user_1066
    @MorituriTe

    As earlier suggested, Ron Klain has nothing to do, now that he has swept Ebola under the rug. He could move seamlessly over to Defense now, where his special talents are urgently needed.

    Perhaps his first move could be to find a young woman recently returned from a stint with ISIS, and arrange for cutouts to champion her cause against attempts at prosecution, accusing prosecutors of a superstitious and Islamophobic witch hunt. This young woman could jump bail and run for another state with a Democrat governor, who would welcome her with “War on Women” rhetoric and accuse Republicans of trying to deny her birth control.

    Meanwhile, Ron could arrange for sympathetic talk show appearances for Iranian mullahs and nuclear scientists, who could tell stories about their childhoods sitting in the dark without electric light, and their lifelong quest to bring peaceful nuclear energy to their oil rich country. Then he could coordinate a vicious media campaign against Ukranians and Israelis, accusing them of provoking their peace loving neighbors by oppressing ethnic minorities, and painting Putin’s invasion and Palestinian missile attacks as humanitarian rescue operations.

    The Pentagon will be festooned with huge rainbow banners announcing, “There are no enemies, only friends we haven’t opened our borders to yet!” Weapons programs will be replaced with “green energy” research on behalf of businesses owned by Obama bundlers and bagmen. US soldiers will be required to do two years of Peace Corps service, then receive mandatory group therapy for PTSD and ADHD to help them return to “normal” society. Guns and artillery pieces will have their firing pins removed, so that they can’t hurt anyone.

    The color of military uniforms will be upgraded from khaki and camouflage to flourescent orange, because, you know, it’s not fair for our soldiers to hide. In fact, the word “soldiers” will be replaced with “our children” in all official communications.

    Meanwhile, the EPA and Department of Education SWAT teams will be increased to six armored divisions, and given Hellfire missiles for their drones.

    You’re not laughing. Why aren’t you laughing?

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.