Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, for month after interminable month now, has been the presumptive and, eventually, the actual nominee to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense. He’s been questioned thoroughly, taken a series of intense meetings, given a lackluster hearing performance, and birthed his own media ecosystem, only to be narrowly approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this week.
The vote to confirm or reject him was due to take place today, but it’s currently being blocked by a de facto filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused the GOP of filibustering Hagel’s nomination, a move he described as unprecedented for a president’s pick for defense secretary. Reid, D-Nev., needs only a few Republican votes to secure the 60 needed to clear Hagel’s nomination for an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
But the remaining “yes” votes remain elusive. Republican senators, led by Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona, vowed to delay the process unless they got more information about what President Barack Obama was doing on the night of the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Their demand has the effect of a filibuster.
Will Hagelmania ever end? Can it?