Until his confirmation hearings, I had believed that after intensive and harsh questioning, Senator Chuck Hagel would be confirmed as President Obama's choice to be the next Secretary of Defense.
No one could have anticipated the catastrophic performance of the nominee before the Senate Armed Services Committee while on the international stage, something which has been acknowledged even by stunned officials of the administration.
Hagel acknowledged that there are key foreign policy issues with which he is not familiar and promised that he will study them before beginning his prospective new position, but most astonishingly, he misspoke when attempting convey the administration's position, and presumably his position, on whether Iran can be contained if and when it produces a nuclear weapon. After this gaffe, an aide presented Hagel with a card, which after reading, he announced had informed him that he had misspoken. It is widely believed that Iran took significant notice of the Hagel sideshow.
Many thought that the worst Chuck Hagel had to fear from Senate questioners were his reference to "The Jewish lobby" and his expressed disdain for gays, yet his problems run far deeper than these facets of his background.
If Chuck Hagel is confirmed to be Secretary of Defense, he will have beaten long odds.