Will Hagel be confirmed?Republicans gained more than they expected from the Hagel confirmation hearing last week (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Still no amount of right-wing conspiracies against Mr. Hagel could have done to the former Nebraska senator what his own astoundingly disastrous performance did. One that revealed far more about his lack of capacity for the job, his confusion, than anyone could have predicted—a display not without its saddening aspects. The vote count shows that Mr. Obama will still probably have his choice of defense secretary, but it will not come without cost to the reputation of this administration.
Of the parties to the hearings, none emerged with as much profit to show for themselves than the Republican interrogators who revealed the character and history of the man the president had proclaimed his ideal candidate to head the Pentagon. In this sustained effort they were remarkable—lethal, fully equipped, and driven by passion clearly beyondpartisan malice. It has been a long time since Republicans showed a fighting temper of this kind, unyielding in its contempt for what the choice of a Hagel represents about core values like the national defense, our stance regarding the most dangerous of our enemies in the world.
If the Hagel hearings had done nothing else—they had in fact done everything else in their revelations, if not the final outcome—they had, in this time of postelection dreariness, shown Republicans come roaring to life. They had been moved to do so by Mr. Obama's nomination of Mr. Hagel—a gift to the Republicans, though perhaps not to the national defense.Actually, there may be another thing that the Republicans have gained. Foreign Policy's The Cable blog reported on Thursday that only one Republican - Senator Thad Cochran (R-Ms) - has said publicly that he will vote to confirm Hagel. Meanwhile, other Republicans decided on Thursday that they will not vote to confirm Hagel. They include John McCain (R-Az), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-Fl), and Jeff Sessions (R-Al). Two others, John Hoeven (R-ND) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak) also seem to be lining up in opposition.
The Cable assumes that Hagel will be confirmed anyway, and discounts the possibility that the nomination will be filibustered. The last time I checked there are 45 Republicans in the Senate. Hagel has won one so far. 44 Senators are more than enough for a filibuster.