It looks like Quin’s prediction that Senate Republicans would filibuster Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the next Defense Secretary was right on.
Politico and Fox News are reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t have 60 votes necessary to shut down a threatened Republican filibuster, so it looks like Hagel will be in confirmation limbo until at least February 25th.
The reasons given revolve mainly around trying to pressure the White House to turn over documents detailing the Obama Administration’s response during and after the terrorist attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. So far, there have been only cursory remarks by Republican Senators that a vote on Hagel is being delayed because of problems raised by his past policy statements and inconsistent testimony two weeks ago.
Right now, it looks like the GOP, as the minority party in the Senate, is trying to assert itself any way it can. But there is a risk the move could backfire, if over the next week or two President Obama successfully frames the filibuster as over a dispute about an issue unrelated to Hagel’s fitness to run the Pentagon. To avoid that, Republicans should be prepared to make a compelling case against Hagel on the merits, in every forum possible.