William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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HAGEL GETS CLOSER – AT 9:46 A.M. ET:  I don't see any way for senior goofball Chuck Hagel to be denied the post of secretary of defense, unless some Democrats in the Senate defect, or unless something comes up that requires him to withdraw. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted several days ago that Republicans may try a filibuster, which would require 60 votes to break, effectively defeating Hagel's nomination unless those 60 votes could be found.  However, it's been noted that this would be unprecedented in a Cabinet confirmation setting.  John McCain has announced his opposition.  So have other Republicans.  From the Washington Examiner:   

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. John McCain, a sharp critic of Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary, said Monday he will not support a filibuster of President Barack Obama's pick, even though he declined to say whether he intends to vote for confirmation.

"I do not believe a filibuster is appropriate and I would oppose such a move," McCain told reporters Monday, two days after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell raised the possibility of forcing a showdown vote.

In the fiercest exchange of Hagel's confirmation hearing last week, McCain questioned the nominee about the Iraq war and whether he was right or wrong in opposing an additional 30,000 U.S. troops in 2007. The Arizona senator said he still has questions on the nomination and "was not happy with his (Hagel's) failure to answer a really simple question."

But McCain insisted he would not support use of the filibuster, a procedural tactic which can derail a confirmation vote and which can be stopped only by the votes of 60 of the 100 senators.

Several other Republican senators echoed McCain about a step that would be historic on a Cabinet choice. Nominees facing stiff opposition or serious ethical questions typically have withdrawn before any vote. The last nominee to be defeated was John Tower, President George H.W. Bush's choice for defense secretary who failed on a 53-47 vote in 1989 amid accusations of drinking and womanizing.

COMMENT:  I do hope that Republicans will show the spine that they often lack, and vote against Hagel's nomination, even if they know he ultimately will be approved.  It is important to put your views firmly on the record.  

The Senate had the courage to turn down John Tower, a poor choice because of his personal failings.  But Hagel is the choice of Barack, come to save us, and Barack's party has neither the character or courage to oppose an obviously horrible nominee.

February 5, 2013