Dropping Like Flies

Sen. Max Baucus of Montana today became the sixth Dem senator to announce that he will not seek re-election in 2014.

The others are Frank “Methuselah” Lautenberg of New Jersey, Carl Levin of Michigan, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.

GOP Makes It Suck To Be Chuck

The GOP is considering walking out of a vote on Chuck Hagel’s DoD nomination if Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-MI) holds one on Tuesday.  Kind of a mean-girls-middle-school thing to do.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), the ranking minority member on the Committee, is using the F-word about Hagel — he wants a 60-vote threshold to approve him, not a majority, so he’s threatening a filibuster.

Interestingly, Inhofe’s staff has concluded that Hagel has met the disclosure standard applied to previous nominees for Secretary of Defense, so the GOP’s demand for more information seems — surprise, surprise — to be total BS.

I hope the Prez gets up at his SOTU and shouts “You lie!” at the GOP members.


Rubin Pretty Much Calls Hagel a Traitor

From “Chuck Hagel Is Still Hiding,” Jennifer Rubin, “Right Turn,” WaPo:

“At this point it is obvious that Hagel, with the White House’s indulgence, is intentionally withholding information from the committee that is easily accessible but apparently controversial.  Levin may be compelled by the White House to hold his committee vote next week, but Republicans have every reason to do whatever is needed to prevent a nominee this unfit and uncooperative with the legitimate demands of the Senate confirmation process from reaching a position where he can do real damage (by incompetence, at the very least) to our national security and provide access to a host of shadowy figures whose identities Hagel is so insistent on concealing.”  Emphasis added.

I think Rubin is listening to too many “shadowy figures.”

Right Wing Tries to Kill Hagel by Saying He’s Dead

“He who hesitates is lost”  — and the delay of the Armed Services Committee vote on Chuck Hagel for DoD has created a vacuum that the right-wing is rushing to fill with anti-Hagel venom.

The right is trying to put the Hagel nomination in trouble by claiming that it already is in trouble.  You kill him by pronouncing him already dead.

Tom Ricks, at Foreign Policy, says it’s now “50-50” that Hagel will withdraw.  He illustrates his post with a slice of bread, half of which has been toasted.  Going all Nate Silver, he writes “Bottom line:  Every business day that the Senate Armed Services Committee doesn’t vote to send the nomination to the full Senate, I think the likelihood of Hagel becoming defense secretary declines by about 2 percent.”

At Breitbart, Ben Shapiro, relying on “Senate sources,” i.e., Tea Partier Ted Cruz (R-Texas),  tries to link Hagel to a group called “Friends of Hamas,” which sounds like a Daily Show joke.  Shapiro claims White House Associate Communications Director Eric Schultz hung up on him when he called to ask.

The neo-cons at American Future Fund (Bill Kristol and friends) are running an anti-Hagel on the Sunday talks shows this weekend.  If the vote had happened on Thursday as scheduled, they wouldn’t have had another weekend to grind up Chuck, but Carl Levin gave them this gift.  The gift of time is invaluable when you’re trying to stop a nomination.

Over at National Review, Andrew Stiles has a long post called “What’s Hagel Hiding?” where, based on anonymous sources, he proclaims the nomination in trouble:

“GOP Senate aides say they are not sure why Levin decided to postpone the vote, but suspect that Hagel’s nomination could be in jeopardy.  ‘The only plausible reason they delayed the vote is because they didn’t have enough votes to confirm him,’ an aide close to the committee told National Review Online.  Some Republicans are said to be considering a hold on Hagel’s nomination….

“Now, there is reason to believe Hagel could be in trouble.”

“Multiple sources raised the possibility that the materials Republicans are seeking contain ‘explosive details’ that could prove devastating Hagel’s prospects for confirmation.  Some Hagel opponents strongly suspect he has delivered speeches at events hosted by organizations most Americans would find ‘unsavory.'”

Also at National Review, Andrew McCarthy asks, “Is Hagel Toast?” and tries to link Hagel to the National Iranian American Council, which lobbies for the Iranian government.

Jennifer Rubin, who writes for the Washington Post, but confuses it with the Jerusalem Post, gleefully says this is a “critical” weekend for the nomination she opposes, gets all conspiratorial about Levin, and starts writing Hagel’s obituary:

“Or it might be that Levin, with or without encouragement from the White House, is letting this nominee hang out there for maybe just one more shoe to drop, thus ridding everyone (especially our troops) of Hagel’s stewardship of the military at a particularly challenging time.

“It does seem the weekend is critical.  We will see how vigorously (or not) the White House defends Hagel on the Sunday shows; whether any more Republicans publicly announce their opposition or any Democrats show weakness; and, finally, what documents, if any, Hagel coughs up.  The weekend also gives the White House, if so inclined, to come up with a Plan B — a qualified, competent nominee who won’t scare the living daylights out of the Senate.”


Levin Defends Hagel

Having postponed the Armed Services Committee vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to DoD because of unreasonable GOP financial disclosure demands made in a 2/6 letter signed by 26 GOP senators, committee chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) is now standing up to the Republicans with a letter to his committee’s ranking minority member, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK).

Levin says the GOP letter “appears to insist upon financial disclosure requirements that far exceed the standard practices of the Armed Services Committee and go far beyond the financial disclosure required of previous Secretaries of Defense.”

After walking through what is normally provided, what Hagel has provided, and why the further demands are absurd, Levin concludes:

“The committee cannot have two different sets of financial disclosure standards for nominees, one for Senator Hagel and one for other nominees.”

Hey Carl, you wanna bet?