Hagel passes through committee; confirmation seems likely

The Senate Armed Services Committee has voted to pass the nomination of Chuck Hagel on to the full Senate. The vote was 14-11, with all 14 “yes” votes being Democrats. Remember that Hagel, nominally a Republican, was supposedly President Obama’s idea of a bipartisan selection. In reality, of course, bipartisanship was never part of Obama’s thinking.

It seems clear that Hagel will have the support of all 55 Senate Democrats. He’s also edging towards the five Republican votes he will need. Susan Collins reportedly has said she will vote to confirm. So has Thad Cochran. I’m pretty sure that there are at least three more squishes to be found in the Republican caucus. In fact, John McCain has indicated his reluctance to block the nomination.

The fact that Hagel won’t provide the information necessary to determine whether he’s been paid by the likes of “Friends of Hamas” doesn’t seem to be resonating. In my view, Hagel’s refusal makes this a case in which it is appropriate to filibuster a cabinet nominee. But McCain seems to disagree. Perhaps he will explain why.


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