Official photo by Pete Souza.

The White House was calling senators’ offices Sunday to inform them Hagel’s nomination is imminent and to help build support for it, a source familiar with the nomination said. CNN reported Friday that the White House had told some senior members of Congress to expect the tapping of Hagel, and another source with knowledge of the nomination called it “locked down.” [CNN]

PRESIDENT OBAMA is preparing to remind everyone that he won the election in November, so he gets to pick the cabinet replacements he so chooses. That evidently will come as a shock to the swiftboating right wingers like Bill Kristol and Senator Lindsey Graham and Republicans, as well as some Democrats, who are whipping up a frenzy that is a waste of time, because the case being made in public is an embarrassment.

The pissing contest over Mr. Hagel is just the latest extension of a Washington class of elite imbeciles who think a person of contrary opinion at the Pentagon will cause world pandemonium.

The latest wingnut de jour, Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz, is so ignorant he thinks the job of a cabinet official is to pass a loyalty test on Israel. From CNN:

“It’s interesting, the president seems bound and determined to proceed down this path despite the fact that Hagel’s record is very, very troubling on the nation of Israel,” Cruz said. “He has not been a friend to Israel. And in my view the United States should stand unshakably with Israel.”

It looks like Cruz, the neophyte senator from Texas (where else?), is vying to be Senator Lindsey Graham’s chihuahua.

“Hagel, if confirmed to be secretary of defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the state of Israel in our nation’s history.” – Senator Lindsey Graham [CNN]

Why is the national U.S. media taking these accusations regarding Israel seriously? The nomination is to be for United Stated Secretary of Defense, with all policy the purview of President Obama. Hagel can’t do anything unless Obama approves it.

The United States has been Israel’s best friend since the country was established under President Harry Truman, with deep roots and long history. But now we’re all supposed to believe that the nomination of Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department will endanger our abiding relationship?

This is the treatment Republicans sometimes give members of their own party who have served in the military with distinction, including those like Hagel who has two Purple Hearts and still carries shrapnel from his wounds in his chest.

Mr. Hagel’s service in Vietnam made him deeply skeptical of American imperialism, the paramount neoconservative cause, which helped break us financially during George W. Bush’s tenure. It’s long past time we had someone who didn’t look at the Pentagon as a capitalistic venture. Once upon a time Donald Rumsfeld was charged with downsizing that monstrosity, but then 9/11 hit.

Chuck Hagel deserves a fair hearing and if Republicans choose a filibuster they should have to stand on the floor until they drop to pull it off.

“At the end of the day, Republicans will support a decorated war hero who was their colleague for 12 years and has critical experience on veterans’ issues,” said an administration official who requested anonymity to discuss a nomination before it was announced. “It would be hard to explain a no vote just because he bucked his party on Iraq, a war most Americans think was a disaster.” [New York Times]