Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination should be withdrawn, primarily because of the astonishing incompetence he displayed during his hearings. The men and women in the military deserve a leader at the Pentagon who is equal to the commitment and abilities they display every day. Their lives and the nation’s security is on the line, and the former senator is not up to that task.
But even if he was, the material omissions from his Senate confirmation paperwork as well as his refusal to disclose key aspects of his financial maneuvers over the past few years puts the Senate in a position that makes it impossible to evaluate his record and uncertain as to his candor. If the Senate approves their former colleague, they will be telegraphing all future nominees that dissembling and obstruction are all the Senate really needs for its advice and consent to be given.
The Democrats filibustered John Bolton in 2005 thus requiring his appointment to the U.N. via a recess appointment. That position was very much a part of the Bush national security team, so cries from the left that the GOP is using an unprecedented tactic are simply not true.
For the Hagel nomination to proceed, five Republicans must vote for cloture. Thus far four have done so, but of ocurse they can change their minds when the debate resumes on February 26:
Thad Cochran of Mississippi 202-224-5054:
Susan Collins of Maine: (202) 224-2523
Mike Johanns of Nebraska: (202) 224-4224
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: (202) 224-6665
Two more Republicans are on the fence:
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: (202) 224-5972
John McCain of Arizona: (202) 224-2235
It is important that the next week be used by constituents and supporters of these senators to indicate to them the opposition to Senator Hagel that is widely felt in the country and especially among national security Republicans.
Seven Democratic senators facing tough re-elections in 21 months also need to hear from voters in their state urging that the filibuster be sustained and Hagel not confirmed:
Mark Begich in Alaska, 202-224-3004,
Mark Pryor in Arkansas: 202-224-2353,
Mary Landrieu in Louisiana: 202-224-5824:
Kay Hagan in North Carolina: 202-224-6342:
Tim Johnson in South Dakota: 202-224-5842:
Jean Shaheen of New Hampshire: 202-224-2841
Mark Udall of Colorado: 202-224-5941
These Senate Democrats need to hear from their states’ voters that the cloture vote is the vote they are watching as 2014 looms. Some will no doubt vote to advance Senator Hagel’s nomination to please the White House and Harry Reid and then vote against him to try and trickl their voters, but in this age of hyper-aware and social-media connected voters, a vote for cloture is understood to be a vote for Senator Hagel’s confirmation. Many of these Democratic senators represent large military communities. It is hard to imagine those service men and women not noticing and remembering how these senators vote in the weeks ahead. The newly uncovered materials about Senator Hagel which demonstrate that he did not disclose material information to the Senate Armed Services Committee give each of these Democratic senators a very good, indeed a compelling reason to revisit their yes vote on cloture. Senator Hagel’s at best unusual views on the Midele east and especially the Israel-Palestinian confict are also reason enough, as Powerline’s Scott Johnson explains, for these Democrats to let the White House know it is time to pull the plug.
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin has the latest details on the confirmation battle, and is the source for many of the speeches and comments that Senator Hagel withheld from the senate during the hearings phase of his nomination.