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.