Chuck Hagel will be approved as defense secretary after all, it seems:
Senators voted to end debate Tuesday on President Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the secretary of Defense. He now faces a formal vote on confirmation.The Washington Post's Aaron Blake asks whether the GOP's battle was worth the effort to the party, and answers his own question this way:
The vote was 71-27 to end debate and send the nomination to the Senate for a full vote, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.
Hagel's confirmation seems virtually assured....
Why it was worth itSo, to sum up:
Despite the unprecedented nature of the filibuster and the Democratic criticism of their effort against a decorated war hero, Republicans likely will pay no major political price for their tactics. This is for two reasons:
1) The American people quite simply weren't all that interested. Even though the Hagel drama was big news in Washington, it was met by the American people with a collective yawn. Even as of last week, a Pew poll showedthat half of Americans said they didn't know enough about Hagel to rate him favorably or unfavorably. Despite the dicey electoral gambit to delay Hagel's nomination, there has been little backlash against Republicans for doing it -- at least as far as we can tell right now.
And 2) Nobody is going to mourn much for Chuck Hagel. The fact is that this is a guy without a political home. He is a former Republican senator who alienated his own party with his vehement criticism of the Iraq war and also seen as a political interloper who hasn't built up a whole lot of good will with Democrats. His past criticisms of the "Jewish lobby" and a gay ambassador nominee, while not enough to derail his nomination, were enough to ensure that even his supporters weren't all that enamored of him. And Republicans were able to bring his numbers down a little, with Pew showing his unfavorable rating rising from 18 percent in January to 28 percent last week (his favorable rating also rose slightly, from 18 percent to 22 percent, over that span).
In the end, the Hagel nomination will amount to little more than an inside baseball political game. Republicans effectively registered their concerns and have, for the second time this year, either thwarted one of President Obama's likely Cabinet picks (Susan Rice) or served notice that they won't be steamrolled into supporting divisive nominees (Hagel).
1) It was worth fighting this losing battle because, what the hell, why not? Republicans didn't hurt themselves.
2) It was worth fighting this battle because nobody likes the guy they went after.
3) It was worth fighting this battle because it made him even less popular.
What this reminds me of is high school-- no, junior high. I wasn't seriously bullied back in those years, but I went through some low-level harassment, and I saw some directed at others.
You know the guy who'd slump in his seat as you'd walk down the aisle, so you'd trip over his feet? Or the guy who'd shove you into a bank of lockers and then just keep walking? These weren't beatdowns. They didn't cause real pain or leave marks. It was all just meant to throw you off stride, and to make sure you knew where you (and the perpetrator) stood in the pecking order.
The people who did those things in my school years obviously derived satisfaction from them. Their political counterparts are modern-day Republicans.