As rumors swirl around the beltway over the sudden departure of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, sources in Washington are reporting that the decision may be linked to more prosaic matters than fights over military budgets or differences over how to prosecute the war against ISIS.
Sources close to former Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel say that he was forced to step down so that President Obama would win an office pool organized within the administration on how long Hagel would serve in the post.
Although the official line is that Hagel resigned, administration insiders say he was pushed out according to a carefully planned timetable that allowed Obama to pocket “thousands” of dollars in sweeping the pool of bets placed by White House staff.
It has been a poorly kept secret for several years around Washington that the notoriously competitive president forces his staff to place bets with him on everything from the results of congressional votes to “friendly” sporting matchups, the results of which which are then arranged so that the commander-in-chief can’t lose.
In any case, Obama loyalists are reluctant to let the president suffer loss of face. “In games of pick-up basketball, staffers with a clear shot will throw themselves to the ground or feign injury to avoid scoring points against the president,” one anonymous White House source told the Dandy Goat.
And Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi make sure that votes in Congress are whipped so that Obama always wins bets on how the final vote count, with Democrats often voting in ways that could anger constituents and cost them re-election in order to ensure the result the president has put his money on.
In the case of Hagel, some White House staff had bet on his term lasting less than a year based on his disastrous performance during his Senate confirmation hearings, and suspicions that he was only being appointed so that he could serve as a fall guy for sweeping cuts in military budgets and personnel layoffs.
But most were banking on Hagel seeing out the remainder of the Obama presidency. And a few insiders even bet on him continuing to serve as a transitional figure into the next administration, whether Democrat or Republican. But Obama’s money was on the random figure of 21 months. None of the other wagers were close, which meant that Obama also collected the second and third place prizes.
Late Monday evening, some junior White House staff were sending congratulatory messages and gifts such as expensive chocolates and fine bottles of wine to the president, lauding his prescience and judgement while mockingly disparaging their own guesses as “comically inaccurate” and “embarrassingly wide of the mark.”