Posts Tagged ‘confirmation’
January 31st, 2013 at 6:28 pm
Hagel Flunks Confirmation Hearing; Still Might Pass Senate

Looks like Quin might get his wish on Chuck Hagel’s nomination.  President Barack Obama’s Defense Secretary nominee misstated the Administration’s policy on containment of Iran twice; once when Hagel said he supported Obama’s policy of containment, then when he said there was no policy.  It took Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-MI) to remind Hagel that, actually, “We (i.e. America) do have a position on containment, and that is we do not favor containment.”

Hagel also said during his confirmation hearing today that he doesn’t know enough about military programs and technology, but promised that as Defense Secretary he would do the necessary cramming to get up to speed.

Overall, Hagel did himself no favors with the senators who oppose his nomination, and may have given fence-sitters enough wiggle room to justify abandoning him.  My guess, however, is that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will work the phones and twist the arms necessary to save the Administration from a humiliating No vote on confirmation.

January 17th, 2013 at 8:02 pm
Questions for Hagel

George Will has some excellent questions that should be put to Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel in the latter’s upcoming confirmation hearings.  Here are my three favorites:

●Do you agree with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s judgment that cuts under sequestration would “hollow out the force”? Can you give examples of procurements or deployments that justify your description of the Defense Department as “bloated”?

●Congress’s power to declare war has atrophied since it was last exercised (against Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary on June 5, 1942). Should Congress authorize America’s wars?

●Speaking of the imperial presidency, do you believe that the use of drones to target specific individuals means presidents have an unreviewable power to kill whomever they define as enemies? Do you favor “signature strikes,” wherein drones attack not identifiable individuals but groups of young males whose characteristics match the “signature” of terrorists?

Read the whole list here.

January 8th, 2013 at 2:06 pm
Hagel Should Get the Opportunity to Go Through a Tough Confirmation Process

To start, I’ll take as a compliment Quin’s assertion that “Ashton seems to accept with some equanimity the idea that Chuck Hagel will be confirmed as Secretary of Defense” since equanimity is a virtue I’m trying to achieve.

That said, I don’t think there’s a Republican United States Senator willing to take Quin’s suggestion and put a permanent hold on Hagel’s nomination.

It’s one thing for Ted Cruz (R-TX) to make waves on cable television by (rightly) blasting the Obama Administration over Hagel, the fiscal cliff, and gun control, but it is quite another for Cruz to use his senatorial prerogative of “holding” up the President’s nomination for one of the top three Cabinet posts (State and Treasury being the other two); especially since Cruz is in his first full week as a Senator.

Moreover, from the tone of opposition coming from other top Republicans like John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and others, I don’t get the sense defeating the Hagel nomination through an obscure “hold” is the proverbial hill upon which any Republican Senator wants to die this session.

Instead, I think Hagel will go through the confirmation process with the kind of probing scrutiny Supreme Court justices get.  It may very well be that, as Quin writes, “The man [Hagel], appears to many to be an anti-Semite.  Opponents make quite a case that he should never set foot in the top office at the Pentagon.”

Well, let Senate Republicans, not just political pundits, make that case on the record.

In the confirmation hearings, during floor debate, and in an actual speaking filibuster if it comes to that, Senate Republicans will have many instances to make precisely the case Quin alludes to, and any other substantive policy criticisms about Hagel they think will defeat his confirmation.  But let’s have the argument in public, through the normal process of a presidential nomination.

U.S. Senators like to think they work within “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”  Let them prove it with a robust examination of Chuck Hagel’s fitness to be the next Secretary of Defense.