Opening Act: In Any Capacity

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 7 2013 8:11 AM

Opening Act: In Any Capacity

Happy Chuck Hagel Day! It's a new national holiday, though it doesn't appear on the Jewish calendar.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

One reason that people still know/care about Hagel is that he spent the late Bush years fulminating against Bush's foreign policy, sending the hearts of profile writers aflutter. This Joe Lelyveld take is the classic of the genre -- its premise is that Hagel might run the sort of anti-establishment campaign that Ron Paul ended up running. It's packed with quotes that look much richer now.

McCain was an early enthusiast for the war in Iraq, Hagel an early skeptic. Could he imagine the co-chairman of his first national race having a place on a McCain ticket or in a McCain administration? I asked. "I'd be honored to have Chuck with me in any capacity," McCain replied. "He'd make a great secretary of state."
Advertisement

Some fun reporting from The Hill, mostly based on anonymous sources, emphasizes just how weak Boehner looks right now.

A veteran lawmaker sighed and shook his head when asked to respond to the return of the Boehner/Cantor drama.
“Shhh. Not helpful,” the Republican said.

Ken Vogel profiles Bill Kristol, who's having another moment as the media covers the Hagel nomination with an eye on the many groups fulminating against him.

A gala roast last month celebrating Kristol’s 60th birthday drew GOP donors Paul Singer and Ira Rennert among 280 or so guests at New York’s Plaza Hotel, where presenters poked fun at Kristol’s alphabet soup of nonprofit groups and spotty king-making record... Commentary editor John Podhoretz, who was master of ceremonies at the roast and worked with Kristol at the Weekly Standard, delivered a slide show that riffed off the names of various Kristol groups to come up with absurd-sounding parody groups suggesting their goal was simply to spawn more groups to employ his protégés.

This is a stone-cold classic Mark Halperin statement, which assumes a "sophisticated" anti-Hagel campaign, kind of letting off the press that would fall for such sophistication.

Meanwhile, in real journalism, Tim Carney connects the dots between lobbyists who used to work for Max Baucus and tax breaks that magically get approved by Max Baucus.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.