I read Chris Cillizza's "Why Republicans Are Filibustering Chuck Hagel" yesterday, and I was amused to discover that only one of the three reasons he listed had anything to do with whether Hagel is an appropriate person to run the Defense Department.
Yes, Reason #2 is that, according to Republicans, "The beefs with Hagel are legit" ("'A number of senators have serious concerns with his lack of experience leading such a massive bureaucracy, in addition to his position on Iran and Israel,'" said one GOP strategist"). But Reason #1 is "There's no downside" -- Hagel doesn't have an actual fan base in the general public, so why the hell not throw sand in the gears of government and block him?
And Reason #3 is this:
3. It's a Republican rallying cry. Republicans thought they would be in the Senate majority right now. And they thought they might also have Mitt Romney in the White House. Neither of those things happened. Instead, Senate Republicans watched their House colleagues ensure they got a worse deal on the fiscal cliff and kick the can down the road on the debt ceiling. In short: The Senate GOP conference needs something to rally around and Hagel's nomination serves as a useful exercise to do just that.... "It's always good to have a 'support your colleagues' exercise when a Senator in your conference is looking for information from the Administration early in a new Congress," explained one aide. "It ensures you're playing as a team going forward...."Yup -- your company takes everybody to the woods and has each employee do a trust fall. Republicans shut down part of the government.