Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

U.S. Senate Filibusters Defense Sec. Nomination of Sen. Chuck Hagel

with 3 comments

Folks, sometimes I truly do not understand Washington, DC, whatsoever.

Former Republican United States Senator Chuck Hagel, of Nebraska, who has been nominated by the Obama Administration to become the next Secretary of Defense, has been effectively filibustered by the U.S. Senate on a 58-40 vote in favor of Hagel — with one Senator, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), only being willing to vote “present.”

Sixty votes were needed in order to end this stalemate.  And the Senate could only muster 58.  (Plus Hatch’s “present” vote.)

My word.

Here’s the four Republicans who voted against the filibuster and for Senator Hagel: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Susan Collins of Maine.

Only four Senators voted for their former colleague, a well-respected, decorated military veteran.  And a member of their own political party.

(Plus Hatch, who voted present — thus proving he was unwilling to vote against Hagel even if by doing so he looked timid, at best.)

What is wrong with the Senate, if they can’t even vote to confirm a respectable, responsible guy like Senator Hagel?

Look.  I lived in Nebraska for several years.   I know Hagel to be a political conservative, but he is honest and principled and understands the military extremely well.  He has the courage of his convictions.

Hagel will make an admirable Secretary of Defense, as he would most likely be mighty unwilling to spend lives needlessly.  And having a former military veteran as the Defense Secretary has to help, doesn’t it?

Well, apparently not if you’re a Republican Senator.  Even when it comes to one of your own retired colleagues.

Now we get to wait ten days until another vote can be taken.

All I can say is, I remain unimpressed by what I’ve seen out of both houses of Congress this year.  And I echo what Harry Reid had to say as quoted by this article via the Huffington Post:

Reid decried the outcome immediately after the vote Thursday evening, emphasizing the need to relieve outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of his obligations and confirm Hagel at a time when the country continues to face military challenges.

“There is nothing going to change in the next 10 days about the qualifications of Chuck Hagel,” Reid said.

“I’m going to go call Chuck Hagel when I finish here and say, I’m sorry — sorry this has happened. I’m sorry for the president, I’m sorry for the country, and I’m sorry for you, but we’re not going to give up on you,” he added.

One final thought: Hagel will be confirmed, and deserves to be confirmed.  So all of these machinations merely make most of the Republicans look foolish (save the four who voted against the filibuster, thus for Hagel).  And that doesn’t give me a whole lot of hope for our country whatsoever.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm

3 Responses

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  1. *Sigh*

    Hagel’s an idiot and a patsy. He’ll be used as cover to gut DoD. You may think that DoD is over-funded (and that may actually be true, although no one ever thinks of looking at any other agency of the Federal Government for inefficiency or excess funding), but I do not believe for an instant that the current administration would balk at cutting through the bone versus merely down to it.

    *I’m* a veteran and I would not recommend myself to be SecDef. (I even outranked Senator Hagel.) Just so you know, the SecDef doesn’t declare war or any of those other things that cause soldiers/sailors/airmen to put their lives on the line. That’s a Congressional thing. Or an Executive thing, if you don’t mobilize anyone.

    I must admit that I found the sentence “I know Hagel to be a political conservative, but he is honest […]” somewhat amusing on several levels.


    February 15, 2013 at 6:38 am

    • Well, ’twas not intended to be so, but in today’s day and age, one takes one’s humor where you can find it.

      I’m a centrist Indy/Democrat. I like my state D party and am often appalled by the national Ds, especially Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. (The best I can say for any of ’em is that their hearts may be in the right place, but they’ve been outmaneuvered again and again.) So it’s from that framework that I’m speaking — I’m saying that Hagel’s politics and mine do not match up very well, but I find him to be ethical and honest. Honorable in his fashion, too.

      I know that only the President, with or without Congressional approval (better to have it than not, of course), can declare war. And only the Congress can vote to fully fund anything the military does, whether it’s rebuilding bridges in various places or helping to keep the peace in Kosovo or looking for land mines, etc., in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      My question to you is, who would make a better Secretary of Defense?

      And a second question is this: why is it that the Senate basically waved John Kerry through, when Kerry ran for President and was very outspoken about how much he disliked the Bush Administration and G.W. Bush, when now Sen. McCain has blasted former Sen. Hagel over Hagel’s opposition to the surge in Iraq years ago (supposedly Hagel was not patriotic ’cause he didn’t go along to get along, which I find ludicrous in and of itself)?

      Barb Caffrey

      February 15, 2013 at 10:59 pm

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