McCain Says Hagel and Obama Are Welcome on His Lawn

John McCain says the White House has answered his questions about Benghazi to his satisfaction.  Now he’s trying to get answers to Ted Cruz’s questions about Chuck Hagel himself.

If they can make Cruz happy (good luck with that), there won’t be a filibuster, and there will be an up or down (and it will be up) vote on Hagel tomorrow, and he can catch his flight to the NATO meeting in Brussels.

The GOP really doesn’t need another empty chair photo.


GOP Holds Up Hagel

Claiming that they want more information from Chuck Hagel about his past and from the White House about Benghazi, GOP senators are maneuvering to ensure his nomination doesn’t get an up or down vote tomorrow.  With the Senate then on recess next week, the earliest he could be confirmed would be February 25.

Meanwhile, NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels next week, with Afghanistan prominently on the agenda, and of course President Obama wants Hagel to be there.  The GOP seems to have a weird fondness for empty chairs.  The Clint Eastwood convention stunt was just pathetic, but a NATO meeting is a BFD.

All 55 Senate Dems will vote for Hagel and 2 Republicans have said they will too, so the Administration has more than the simple majority it needs for the nomination itself.  What it doesn’t have are the 60 votes needed for cloture to end debate and bring the nomination to the floor.

Some GOP senators have said that while they will vote against Hagel, they don’t support the filibuster to prevent that vote, but it looks as if some of these senators don’t want to buck their party to end the filibuster tomorrow.

McCain Tells Obama To Get Off His Lawn

… and take Chuck Hagel with him.

Having agreed that he wouldn’t filibuster Chuck Hagel’s nomination, John McCain now says that he might, unless President Obama provides more information about his conduct on the night of the Benghazi terror attack.

A Bit Much, Even for Her

“In sum, when and if Hagel gets through he will be a marginal figure, not likely to be given sensitive tasks and unable to carry weight with lawmakers. For Hagel critics and those privately fretting that he is in well over his head, there is consolation in knowing he’ll be a non-player. The choice of deputy secretary of defense then will take on new importance. Who is really going to run the Pentagon?”  Italics in original.

Jennifer Rubin, Right Turn, WaPo

A “marginal figure,” “a non-player,” when Obama thinks so highly of him?  You don’t go through all this just to ignore the guy.

No Holds on Hagel

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says that he won’t allow a hold on Chuck Hagel’s nomination.  It just takes a single senator to do a hold.  He intends to have the full Senate vote by the end of the week.  The Senate Armed Services Committee is voting later today.

But the GOP may still filibuster Hagel.

Quote of the Day

“Chuck Hagel is a good man, but these are dangerous times.  What kind of signal are we sending to the Iranians when our nominee for Secretary of Defense seems clueless about what our policy is? I hope the Obama Administration will reconsider his nomination.”

Sen. Lindsey “Butters” Graham (R- SC)

Slippery Butters

Lindsey “Butters” Graham (R-SC) is threatening to put a hold on both Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of Defense and John Brennan’s for CIA Director until the President explains what he did on the night of the Benghazi terror attack that left four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, dead.  Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, Graham vowed:

“I’m not going to stop until we get to the bottom of it.  We know nothing about what the president did on the night of September 11, during a time of national crisis, and the American people need to know what their Commander-in-Chief did, if anything, during the eight-hour attack.

“I don’t know what the president did that evening.  I don’t know if he ever called anyone. I know he never talked to the Secretary of Defense. I know that he never talked to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. … I know the Secretary of State never talked to the Secretary of Defense. This was incredibly mismanaged. And what we know now, it seems to be a very disengaged president.”

His battle cry is “No confirmation without information.”  Senator, I would say to you, “No clout without coming out.”

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.”