It's The Micromanagement
by Deacon Blues
I'll be writing on this in the coming weeks, because the GOP's new core argument against a Hillary Clinton candidacy is that besides being too old (and an old woman at that), the knock against Hillary is that her record as Secretary of State is thin of any real accomplishments during her four years. John McCain and others will argue that she is oversold and didn't fix anything.
Then, in the same breath, these same critics will say that their friend Chuck Hagel was railroaded out of the Cabinet by a White House staff that has too much control over defense and foreign policy, and a president who cares too much about risk-averse politics and legacy-building and not enough about making tough decisions based on input from professionals.
See the inconsistency there? McCain and the GOP can't have it both ways. They can't argue in the case of Hillary that she didn't do enough while also arguing that Obama micromanages on foreign and defense policy. This isn't an isolated issue with Hagel; his predecessors also complained about White House micromanagement by the National Security staff at the expense of more expert opinion on the ground.
As for Hagel, despite the spin from the White House about him not being the right fit, the simple truth may be that he realized what Leon Panetta and Bob Gates saw first hand themselves: this White House and its decision-making process takes too long and still ends up with a muddled mess (see ISIS/Syria, Putin/Ukraine, and Afghanistan for starters). Hagel was already on record, as was John Kerry, that the White House was wrong on these issues and arrived at policies that wouldn't work. It's just that Kerry wants to be Secretary of State so bad and achieve something for his legacy that he's carved out a role for himself within the existing straightjacket he operates in. Hagel saw no upside to staying around any more when Obama's original mistakes in Afghanistan policy from 2009 (and a new Afghan president) allowed for the Pentagon to do a do-over and go back in more aggressively through 2015, something that wouldn't have been needed if Obama had made the correct decision. Hagel knows that Obama's muddled approach in Iraq and Syria will lead to a similar recalibration sometime next year, at a far higher cost in terms of resources, when a more robust approach earlier would have avoided this sad end result.
As for Hillary, if you know you'll be spending your first term doing pooper-scooper duty overseas cleaning up Obama's messes, after seeing how Obama was saddled with doing the same for Bush, do you really want the job?