Former deputy secretary of defense Ashton Carter has been tapped to replace Hagel. Carter wasn’t exactly a high-profile choice—the headlines The Scrapbook reads about him home in on the piquant details that he’s a theoretical physics Ph.D. who once advocated unilaterally attacking North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, which probably doesn’t endear him to the Obama administration. As such, the White House took the extraordinary step of preparing him for the nomination process while letting it be known that they might also give him the hook. “Even on Tuesday, as the final touches were [being put] on the White House plans to announce Carter, still another administration official said the White House was going back one more time to see if there were other possible higher profile candidates,” wrote CNN reporter Barbara Starr last week.
Frankly, we wouldn’t blame Carter if he were to withdraw his name from contention after such reprehensible treatment. If he does stick it out, we hope he rises to the challenges presented by a difficult job. We live in perilous times, regardless of how furiously the White House downplays the threats that are rapidly proliferating. Unfortunately, as long as the Obama administration is in charge, we’re lucky to have anyone in the job, competent or not.
Et tu, Weekly Standard?