Opening Act: In Any Capacity

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

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.”

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.