WHY IS CHUCK HAGEL STILL IN THE MIX? “With liberal gay activists, key Republican senators and a bevy of pro-Israel groups vocally opposed to the former Nebraska senator, it is worthwhile to take a step back and answer some more basic questions. Let’s start with an issue that should concern the Obama administration and its allies, namely the significant policy differences between Hagel and the president. President Obama believes in tough sanctions against Iran; Hagel does not. The president insists that he wants good relations with Israel (and thereby can influence its decision-making with regard to Iran); Hagel has displayed a poisonous animosity toward the Jewish state. Hagel has advocated direct negotiations with Hamas; Obama has never gone this far. The difficulty in articulating to foes and friends our positions on an array of issues is greatly magnified when a critical cabinet officials has a long track record of disagreement with the president, or at least what the president says is his current policy.”

Personnel is policy. If Obama appoints Hagel, you’ll know what his policy is, regardless of what he says.