{{show_title_date || "Cabinet caution: Does Chuck Hagel stand a chance?, 12/25/12, 7:00 PM ET"}}

If Hagel is toast, Obama’s in a jam


On Wednesday’s show, NOW guest host Ari Melber and the panel discussed the reaction to news that former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel may be President Obama’s choice to run the Pentagon.

Recent reports indicate that the White House may be cooling towards Hagel after  a spate of negative press coverage of the former senator’s comments on everything from Israel and gay rights to his stance on Iran.

Hagel’s chances of being nominated were dealt another blow over the weekend after Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declined to endorse his candidacy. That prompted one unnamed Republican aide to write to Politico, “Pass the jam. He’s [Hagel’s] toast.”

“If Barack Obama backs down to Senate Republicans on this, then it’s really going to set the stage for the beginning of his second term that the Senate Republicans are controlling who is in his cabinet,” said msnbc Contributor and Managing Editor of theGrio.com Joy Reid. “Let us stop having neoconservatives in the Senate choose the entire Obama cabinet.”

New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait had a different take, saying it would be unwise for the administration to nominate Hagel simply to counter a perception that the president keeps getting rolled by Senate Republicans.

“The person who’s going to set the Obama foreign policy and military agenda is Barack Obama,” Chait said. “It’s really a symbolic fight, and so the question is–do you need a symbolic fight when you can get someone else to do what you want just as well without going through intense combat?”

If Hagel is toast, Obama's in a jam