Sniffs the Weekly Standard:
Chuck Hagel, apparently fired as Secretary of Defense, was exactly who and what Obama wanted, a weak Defense Secretary willing to carry out the President’s plan of demilitarizing of the U.S. and reducing U.S. power abroad. But that plan has led to rapidly deteriorating stability around the globe, and with ISIS appearing to be winning while the U.S. has restricted itself to bomb runs and “advisors,” Obama had a choice. He could, as he has consistently done for six years, refuse to acknowledge that his policies were misfiring and that his team was failing, thus giving the public no reason to believe that he knew, or perhaps even cared, that his ideology didn’t translate into desirable real world results. He could continue blaming others—Republicans, bad luck, Bush—for failures, and keep his loyalists in their jobs no matter how incompetent they appeared. In the alternative, he could signal that he was not satisfied with the status quo, and let heads roll—you know, like real leaders do.
I am shocked that he finally chose the second option. Could this be the long-awaited uptick in Obama’s relentlessly flat leadership learning curve? There is reason for hope. True, Hagel was the one Republican in the Cabinet, so he was an easy sacrifice, and it is also true that he should never have been appointed in the first place. Sure, he’s a scapegoat, but scapegoats signal that there is accountability: this is a positive development in every way. In government and in every important job, it doesn’t matter why you don’t succeed. Your job is to succeed, and if you don’t, you are responsible. If Obama is willing to hold Chuck Hagel to that standard, maybe he’ll realize that this is the standard he must be judged by as well.