Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on Hagel's confirmation Former Senator Chuck Hagel was finally confirmed as secretary of defense yesterday, but only after having to sit through more unfounded allegations and ugly insinuations from Republicans like Jim Inhofe, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul. Reports in the conservative media about Hagel's supposed appearances before extremist groups like Friends of Hamas (no such group exists) have been widely discredited, yet Republican Senators continued to harp on these criticisms even while giving up on filibustering Hagel further. "These gentlemen seemed not to grasp that the extraordinary variable here was not Hagel’s candidacy but their unprecedented level of opposition, directed at a former colleague who had become an Obama supporter," argues Dana Milbank. But no harm done to the U.S.'s new Pentagon head, Milbank writes (sarcastically), "They merely suggested that he is on the payroll of terrorists and in the pockets of America’s enemies."
Sheila Bair in The New York Times on why the GOP should care about income inequality As a committed Republican and believer in capitalism, former FDIC chairwoman Sheila Bair says that she believes "some level of income inequality is both inevitable and desirable." But there's a point at which governments allow the chasm between rich and poor to grow so wide that it begins to harm economic morale. And the U.S. may have reached that point in the last few years, she argues. "This is not a situation that any freethinking Republican should accept," she writes. "Skewing income toward the upper, upper class hurts our economy because the rich tend to sit on their money — unlike lower- and middle-income people, who spend a large share of their paychecks, and hence stimulate economic activity. But more fundamentally, it cuts against everything our country and my party stand for. Government’s role should not be to rig the game in favor of 'the haves' but to make sure 'the have-nots' are given a fair shot."