The hesitancy to name Hagel or another candidate is already diminishing Obama’s stature, erasing more of his post-election glow. While the president ponders, White House aides on an almost daily basis leaked ever-changing and sometimes conflicting estimates of Hagel’s chances, each unattributed comment pounced on as big news. The patterns of the leaks suggest that the noise being made by Hagel’s opponents and pressures by interest groups were having an effect on the president’s thinking, though they may have been simply reflecting the fluctuating predilections and panic among his staff. What was bizarre about the White House’s apparent mood swings about naming Hagel is that nothing that has happened should have come as a great surprise. There was no great reason not to anticipate the nature if not the vehemence of the attacks.