MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT Chuck Hagel Ambushed by the Senate GOP
So the Senate GOP successfully filibustered the nomination of Chuck Hagel to become Secretary of Defense, replacing Leon Panetta. This is the first time that a defense secretary nomination has been stalled by a filibuster – and this is a filibuster to prevent a vote from even happening.
In part, Harry Reid and Carl Levin deserve some of the blame for this, because per the flaccid Democratic caucus, they led the opposition to eliminating obstructive non-filibuster filibusters such as this. They wanted to make nice, nice with the Republicans and reach a "gentleman's agreement" with Mitch McConnell. That's an oxymoron right there, a "gentleman's agreement" with McConnell and his band of political cutthroats.
As reported by NPR, Reid commented on the latest GOP use of an improvised explosive device to bollix up the governance of the United States:
"Just when you thought things couldn't get worse, it gets worse" said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the majority leader. Reid said he planned to schedule another procedural vote for the week after next to try to advance Hagel's nomination to a final vote.
Harry Reid, you have no one to blame but yourself for holding out your hand yet again to hostage takers and expecting them to stop taking hostages. Hey, Harry, they are hardwired to be pernicious and ignore civility, what did you expect?
Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham – one of the three pro-war amigos with John McCain and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman – is "demanding" more answers on Benghazi. Good grief, will someone give that man a sedative? This Benghazi nonsense has been virtually the sole GOP foreign policy concern for months now. And it comes from a caucus that gave carte blanche to the multiple deceptions and lies that the Bush/Cheney administration used to launch a ruinous war in Iraq. We should also mention that it is the same caucus that gave Bush a pass on 9/11, even though he had been warned that something like the terrorist attack was probably imminent – and he did absolutely nothing to prevent it.
Compare the treatment of Hagel to how the Democrats historically dealt with Dick Cheney's nomination as secretary of defense under President George Herbert Walker Bush. The Dickster received a 92-0 confirmation vote – no dissenting Democratic senators there.
The second time Rumsfeld was nominated for secretary of defense (he had first served in that position under President Gerald Ford), he was approved along with six other George W. Bush cabinet nominees by a voice vote in the Senate. (It is worth noting that Dick Cheney, who insinuated himself into the vice presidency, recommended Rumsfeld for the second go round at the defense department -–and George W. Bush dutifully complied. Rumsfeld and Cheney had been a White House tag team going back to the Nixon administration.)
While the Democrats historically give deference to Republican presidents on cabinet appointments, the Republicans often give Democratic presidents the finger while grandstanding in the media and hoping to rev up the right wing base. They frequently apply pressure before a choice is even made, as they did with Susan Rice (who was likely going to be nominated for secretary of state).
There's a lesson to be learned here for the Democrats in the Senate: speak loudly and carry a big stick, but they never appear to learn it. This is a party that couldn't even defeat "fake" filibusters when the Dems had a filibuster-proof majority.
Any party that can't get a sufficient vote to just proceed to voting on their president's nominee for secretary of defense is justifiably perceived as weak and naïve.
While Lindsey Graham is still strutting around the Capitol demanding "answers" on Benghazi – weeks and weeks after this tragedy has been fully explored -- you know that the Dems just don't have the fortitude to stand up to the schoolyard bullies.