Skip to comments.NBC: Hagel might lose 10 Democrats in the Senate
Posted on 01/07/2013 7:28:03 AM PST by SeekAndFind
So says Chuck Todd, underscoring the oddly pugnacious move today to nominate Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Republicans clearly oppose the move, and that eliminates any benefit of bipartisanship. If Democrats don't line up foursquare behind the pick, why make it at all?
Let's take that as a baseline. That presumes that Obama has 43 votes from his own party on Hagel in the bag --- hardly a rousing level of support for a Cabinet appointment, especially one as critical as Defense. Hagel would need eight votes from the GOP, a caucus which isn't going to be inclined to ride to Obama's rescue anyway, and certainly not for Hagel. Perhaps the White House thinks it has a better whip count than Chuck Todd, but Todd's certainly correct that Democrats aren't going out of their way to show any support for Hagel.
For instance, here’s Ben Cardin on Current TV, soon to be Al-Jazeera America, where Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) should feel free to let his support for Hagel show. Instead, Cardin insists that Hagel is going to have to answer some tough questions before he can expect the support of Democrats:
HOST: First question to you, Senator, what do you think about the Chuck Hagel pick from the president?
SEN. BEN CARDIN: Well, I think it will be controversial. I hope most senators will take their responsibility to advise and consent and let the process move forward. Let’s go through the hearings. There are some statements that Senator Hagel has made that he needs to clarify. And well see how the confirmation process proceeds if hes nominated. But it will be controversial.
HOST: Do you think hell make it through, though, senator?
SEN CARDIN: You know, I am not the answer is yes, I think he probably will. It’s not a foregone conclusion. The Republicans right now seemed to be well organized in opposition. There are Democrats including this senator who have questions that have to be answered before I can support him. The process is going to have to go forward if the president nominates him. That’s what the confirmation hearings should be about. It should be about putting on the record some of the statements he’s made, how he feels about Iran and sanctions, how he feels about U.S. policies towards Israel and the Middle East. I think all of those issues need to be on the record so the American people can hear Senator Hagel defend some of the charges that have been made. But quite frankly, I don’t think we should pre-judge this.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement there. Nor did the White House do much work into getting anyone to issue any over the weekend, as Jennifer Rubin points out:
It was noteworthy that, while leaking the Hagel nomination over the weekend, the administration lined up no support from Senate Democrats for the Sunday shows. As a result, Republicans including Cornyn, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) to one degree or another bashed Hagel while prominent Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) were entirely noncommittal. This morning both Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and potential New Jersey Senate candidate Mayor Cory Booker expressed concerns about Hagel. Offices of Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) would not provide comment despite our repeated attempts to ascertain the views of these critical Democrats. (Imagine the position theyd be in if 30 to 40 Senate Republicans voted no.) It seems they are hoping that Hagel will blow himself up before or during the hearing and theyll be spared an actual vote when he limps off the stage. (Profiles in courage they are not.)
So why did Obama choose to appoint Hagel in the face of what looks like bipartisan opposition rather than bipartisan support? Jill Lawrence offers six reasons, at least four of which are hardly unique to Hagel: a solid ally at the Pentagon (what SecDef wouldn’t be to a President who appointed him?), bipartisanship (plenty of other Republicans from which to choose), like and trust each other (see “solid ally”), caution about military interventionism (a rather mainstream point of view, no?).
The only two here that look unique to Hagel are the first and last:
Obama does not want to be seen as caving twice to GOP attacks, Rice followed by Hagel.More importantly, he had a solid alternative for secretary of state in Sen. John Kerry. Hagel is unique in several ways, among them that he is a decorated Vietnam war veteran. The two other top candidates for defense secretary, Ashton Carter and Michele Flournoy, did not serve in the military.
Senators are sometimes inclined to give deference to their own in a confirmation process.But Hagel’s blunt run in public life has provoked discomfort and dismay among Republicans and Democrats alike. The former Nebraska senator has a lot of reassuring and convincing to do before he can count on winning that deference from former colleagues and others in the chamber he left four years ago.
As we see now, the latter reason looks moot. Basically, this is a fit of pique from Barack Obama, who damaged Susan Rice bad enough for her to have to withdraw her name from consideration at State, and who now wants to get a little payback. He might succeed in getting Hagel confirmed, but it’s going to cause a lot of damage to Democrats on Capitol Hill, and to American credibility on opposing the Iranian nuclear-weapons program.
Another republican giving Obama “Bipartisan” cover. I understand he’s considering Michael Bloomhole for his gun commission.
It will be interesting to see how Chuck-u Schumer votes seeing as how he represents a whole lot of Jews.
I think there are two strong possibilities.
The first is that Hagel will be approved, because though the Democrats are willing to “Bork” nominees they hate, the Republicans have been traditionalists, willing to give the POTUS whatever nominee he wants, no matter how awful. They rationalize it by saying that if he is that incompetent, it’s better in the long run for us if he is a total foul up.
The second possibility is that Hagel is a stalking-horse (either a decoy or effort to divide the opposition). That Obama is throwing him to the senate like throwing raw meat to a hungry pack of wolves. The idea is that, when they reject him, Obama will submit somebody even more repugnant, like John Kerry, with the hope that any senate opposition will be muted, not wanting to reject a second candidate, knowing that Obama would then go on a publicity tear about how “unreasonable” the Republicans are.
And possibly giving Reid more impulse to diminish Republican power in the senate further.
Obama’s second term is off to a rocky start — even before it has officially started.
Hagel will be approved. Count on it.
Unfortunately Obama didn't face any real competition in his two elections.
It only takes one senator to throw both nominations into limbo.
I find it interesting that Reid is delaying his attack on the anti-filibuster change to Senate rules until after these nominations.
This is an absurd waste of time, and money.
Swear him in, already.
Are you kidding? This deal is sealed. The gay cockus calls the shots in this admin.
This will be a giant “never mind”, and next time they’ll ask the $3-bill crowd FIRST.
You are in favor then of swearing in EVERY Obama nominee for all cabinet positions without any vetting at all?
Among the 8 Republicans votingfor him willbe McCain, Graham, and Mitch McConnell.
They aren’t fooling anyone.
No, it's possible (Susan Rice, etc) that Obama COULD nominate someone who couldn't get 60 votes in this Senate - unlikely, but possible.
Hagel has 70+ votes locked up. Why bother?
All too true. We had weak candidates, who ran weak campaigns, and Obama’s campaign organization fielded a ground game that was far ahead of the GOP effort in sophistication and execution.
[10 Democrats in the Senate...]
...just want something for their vote that they can take back home to help them with reelection.
It’s and old, old trick used by both sides.
Well, that's Obama's ace in the hole: "Approve Hagel or get some Marxist-of-the-Week with zero military background."
I feel certain Hagel will be approved, with a number of GOP Senators supporting him.
Sadly, I can find no evidence which would even remotely indicate you are wrong.
At least, Patrick J. Buchanan will be happy.
I wouldn't be surprised to find that Obama was picking these provocative nominees for just that purpose, i.e., to provoke. He and Reid are coordinating to bait the GOP into contesting his nominees so that Reid can 'solve' the 'crisis' by blowing up the current filibuster process.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Obama was picking these provocative nominees for just that purpose, i.e., to provoke.
Yep. The kenyan is trying to pick a fight here. I don’t see the need to give him what he wants in this case.
Who the SecDef is really doesn’t matter in the big picture with the marxists calling the shots in the WH. Hagel is just another stooge who will do whatever he is told to do.
BS. He’s going to pretend to be tortured by the decision, but at the end of the day he’ll find a way to get down with the program and greenlight Obama’s bitch. So will the rest of the Dims. It’s what they do.
I’d put money on it, but nobody would take my bet.