Yesterday afternoon the Senate finally confirmed Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense by a vote of 58-41. Getting there was an adventure!
On February 14th the Senate rejected a motion to invoke cloture and proceed on Hagel’s nomination by a vote of 58-40, (60 votes are required to invoke cloture – or stop a filibuster which the Republicans claimed really wasn’t a filibuster). That was the 21st roll call vote in the 113th Senate. After that vote Congress went on a break until Monday February 25th. On that date the Senate took its 22nd roll call vote confirming Robert Bacharch to the 10th district federal bench. On Tuesday February 26th the Senate reconsidered the motion to invoke cloture in Hagel’s nomination and this time it passed by a vote of 71-27; its 23rd roll call vote. They promptly went to lunch. Late that afternoon they actually confirmed him by a vote of 58-41; their 24th roll call vote. All but one Democrat, both Independents and four Republicans voted in the affirmative. The lone Democrat was Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey who was absent – had he been there he certainly would have joined his fellow Democrats.
The Four Republicans were: Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul was the shocker. The Kentucky Tea Party/Republican voted against cloture both times and then voted to confirm.
So much for the sideshow; here is the real question. Considering the Senate was not in session almost the entire time what changed between the 14th and the 26th? The answer is nothing. Why did the Senate Republicans – who loved to be perceived as strong on defense – unnecessarily delay the confirmation of the Secretary of Defense? I have some theories but none of them have to do with the good of the American people.
It is almost the Republicans’ knee jerk reaction to be against anything President Obama proposes. They say no first and then think about a justification for their answer. Hagel is a decorated veteran and well qualified for the post. In case they were thinking they were going to get someone more to their liking need I remind them that Hagel is a former Republican Senator? However by saying no and then going home they could look like tough guys before their Tea Party supporters at any meetings they attended.
Hagel had also worked well with Obama in the time they served together in the Senate. That is a cardinal sin to many on the Right – just look at how they currently view their former darling, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Hagel didn’t pass the new purity tests and had to be embarrassed by having his confirmation delayed. This was a message to any other Republican who is considering going off the reservation.
If none of this makes sense to you there is a good reason. It doesn’t make sense! Instead of addressing the real problems facing America and the world the Tea Party/Republicans in Congress prefer to manufacture crises and delay the inevitable for no cause. I didn’t have high hopes for the 113th Congress and unfortunately thus far it appears I was correct.
This article is the property of tellthetruthonthem.com and its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak.