Shorter Question Everything
• What happened yesterday wasn’t about Hagel at all. It wasn’t even about the Iraq War’s 2007 “surge,” which McCain is desperate to justify because he can never justify the war itself, which finds Hagel moved to the right side of history while McCain remains stubbornly on the wrong. It’s about that junior senator from Illinois who crossed McCain early in some obscure backroom Senate deal no one can remember anymore, then denied McCain the presidency in no small part because Obama understood the folly of Iraq better than McCain can allow himself to. McCain’s unrelenting obsession with the grievance that Obama has come to represent to him is the saddest legacy in memory. The very fact of Obama and all things Obamic has turned McCain into something toxic, maybe even to himself.
• Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Sunday defended not only his potential successor to lead the Pentagon, but also the government’s response time to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. “This is not 911,” Panetta said to CNN’s Candy Crowley on State of the Union. “You cannot just simply call and expect within two minutes to have a team in place. It takes time.”
• Paul Krugman: “We’ve gotten glimpse into the mindset of the pro-gun people,” Krugman observed. “And we’ve seen certainly with [NRA CEO] Wayne LaPierre and some of these others, it’s bizarre, they have this vision that we’re living in a Mad Max movie and that nothing can be done about it, that America cannot manage unless everybody’s prepared to shoot intruders, that the idea that we have a police force that provides public safety is somehow totally impractical, despite the fact that that is in fact the way we live.” “Now the craziness of the pro-gun lobby has been revealed,” he added. “And that has got to move the debate and got to move legislation, at least to some degree.”
• Ailing Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro made a surprise appearance in Havana Sunday to vote in parliamentary polls, expressing confidence in the revolution despite a decades-long US trade embargo. Castro’s visit to the voting precinct in Havana’s El Vedado neighborhood was the main event in Sunday’s elections, during which Cubans chose 612 members of the National Assembly as well as deputies of local legislatures. “I am convinced that Cuban are really a revolutionary people,” 86-year-old Castro told reporters, who surrounded him at the polling station. “I don’t have to prove it. History has already proven it. And 50 years of the US blockade have not been—nor will it be—able to defeat us.”