NBC: Hagel might lose 10 Democrats in the Senate

posted at 10:01 am on January 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

So says Chuck Todd, underscoring the oddly pugnacious move today to nominate Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.  Republicans clearly oppose the move, and that eliminates any benefit of bipartisanship.  If Democrats don’t line up foursquare behind the pick, why make it at all?

Let’s take that as a baseline.  That presumes that Obama has 43 votes from his own party on Hagel in the bag — hardly a rousing level of support for a Cabinet appointment, especially one as critical as Defense.  Hagel would need eight votes from the GOP, a caucus which isn’t going to be inclined to ride to Obama’s rescue anyway, and certainly not for Hagel.  Perhaps the White House thinks it has a better whip count than Chuck Todd, but Todd’s certainly correct that Democrats aren’t going out of their way to show any support for Hagel.

For instance, here’s Ben Cardin on Current TV, soon to be Al-Jazeera America, where Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) should feel free to let his support for Hagel show.  Instead, Cardin insists that Hagel is going to have to answer some tough questions before he can expect the support of Democrats:

HOST: “First question to you, Senator, what do you think about the Chuck Hagel pick from the president?”

SEN. BEN CARDIN: “Well, I think it will be controversial. I hope most senators will take their responsibility to advise and consent and let the process move forward. Let’s go through the hearings. There are some statements that Senator Hagel has made that he needs to clarify. And we’ll see how the confirmation process proceeds if he’s nominated. But it will be controversial.”

HOST: “Do you think he’ll make it through, though, senator?”

SEN CARDIN: “You know, I am not – the answer is yes, I think he probably will. It’s not a foregone conclusion. The Republicans right now seemed to be well organized in opposition. There are Democrats including this senator who have questions that have to be answered before I can support him. The process is going to have to go forward if the president nominates him. That’s what the confirmation hearings should be about. It should be about putting on the record some of the statements he’s made, how he feels about Iran and sanctions, how he feels about U.S. policies towards Israel and the Middle East. I think all of those issues need to be on the record so the American people can hear Senator Hagel defend some of the charges that have been made. But quite frankly, I don’t think we should pre-judge this.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement there. Nor did the White House do much work into getting anyone to issue any over the weekend, as Jennifer Rubin points out:

It was noteworthy that, while leaking the Hagel nomination over the weekend, the administration lined up no support from Senate Democrats for the Sunday shows. As a result, Republicans including Cornyn, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) to one degree or another bashed Hagel while prominent Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) were entirely noncommittal. This morning both Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and potential New Jersey Senate candidate Mayor Cory Booker expressed concerns about Hagel. Offices of Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) would not provide comment despite our repeated attempts to ascertain the views of these critical Democrats. (Imagine the position they’d be in if 30 to 40 Senate Republicans voted no.) It seems they are hoping that Hagel will blow himself up before or during the hearing and they’ll be spared an actual vote when he limps off the stage. (Profiles in courage they are not.)

So why did Obama choose to appoint Hagel in the face of what looks like bipartisan opposition rather than bipartisan support?  Jill Lawrence offers six reasons, at least four of which are hardly unique to Hagel: a solid ally at the Pentagon (what SecDef wouldn’t be to a President who appointed him?), bipartisanship (plenty of other Republicans from which to choose), like and trust each other (see “solid ally”), caution about military interventionism (a rather mainstream point of view, no?).

The only two here that look unique to Hagel are the first and last:

Obama does not want to be seen as caving twice to GOP attacks, Rice followed by Hagel.More importantly, he had a solid alternative for secretary of state in Sen. John Kerry. Hagel is unique in several ways, among them that he is a decorated Vietnam war veteran. The two other top candidates for defense secretary, Ashton Carter and Michele Flournoy, did not serve in the military.

Senators are sometimes inclined to give deference to their own in a confirmation process.But Hagel’s blunt run in public life has provoked discomfort and dismay among Republicans and Democrats alike. The former Nebraska senator has a lot of reassuring and convincing to do before he can count on winning that deference from former colleagues and others in the chamber he left four years ago.

As we see now, the latter reason looks moot.  Basically, this is a fit of pique from Barack Obama, who damaged Susan Rice bad enough for her to have to withdraw her name from consideration at State, and who now wants to get a little payback.  He might succeed in getting Hagel confirmed, but it’s going to cause a lot of damage to Democrats on Capitol Hill, and to American credibility on opposing the Iranian nuclear-weapons program.

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Ben Cardin is almost as bad as O’Mally.

Almost.

Gatsu on January 7, 2013 at 10:03 AM

This has become another pissing match for Dog Eater, the man can’t back down because his bloated ego won’t allow for the idea that his choice wasn’t all that smart.

Exit question: When will these 10 demorats be labeled as fascist racists?

Bishop on January 7, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Basically, this is a fit of pique from Barack Obama,

Sadly four more years of this garbage from The Whine.

rbj on January 7, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Cory Booker. A Democrat with a brain and a pair. If we had more of these we wouldn’t need Republicans…

Archivarix on January 7, 2013 at 10:10 AM

0bama has methodically worked upon pissing off and dividing every group in the nation since 2009.

He is an accomplished divider. Under his tyranny, e pluribus unum has become a sad joke jingling in our pockets. His ability to divide people is definitely pathological, almost biblical in its effortless efficacy.

Now it’s time to divide the Jews.

cane_loader on January 7, 2013 at 10:10 AM

0bama has sown confusion and division since 2009, like nothing I can find in a chief executive since 1789.

Can anyone find a president to top him? You could propose Lincoln… but Lincoln didn’t sow confusion – only division.

cane_loader on January 7, 2013 at 10:12 AM

0bama has sown confusion and division since 2009, like nothing I can find in a chief executive since 1789.

cane_loader on January 7, 2013 at 10:12 AM

I nominate FDR.

Archivarix on January 7, 2013 at 10:13 AM

The crux is: He’ll Fup everything he touches.

Speakup on January 7, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Possibly FDR runs second place… the confusion of his “alphabet” agencies… but who else?

Have we ever had such a divider spreading such a foul, divided mood in the land?

cane_loader on January 7, 2013 at 10:14 AM

I nominate FDR.

Archivarix on January 7, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Ahh! Seconded!!!!! You beat me

cane_loader on January 7, 2013 at 10:14 AM

The crux is: He’ll Fup everything he touches.

Speakup on January 7, 2013 at 10:13 AM

You are correct.

The man has a singular, unparalleled ability to find the fulcrum in any functioning system and take a sledge to it.

cane_loader on January 7, 2013 at 10:16 AM

The crux is: He’ll Fup everything he touches.

Speakup on January 7, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Some refer to this ability as “Reverse Midas Touch”.

Archivarix on January 7, 2013 at 10:22 AM

@Bishop: After they’re labelled Jews.

Seth Halpern on January 7, 2013 at 10:24 AM

I’ve had it with this idea that anything with an R behind its name working with these Chicago thugs make it a “bipartisan” approach.

Hagel is as much a Republican as Chris Christie- which is to say not at all.

Happy Nomad on January 7, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Hagel is as much a Republican as Chris Christie- which is to say not at all.

Happy Nomad on January 7, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Christie is a classic squish. He has to live around all those liberals, and it’s contagious :(

cane_loader on January 7, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Results for #hagel

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23hagel

canopfor on January 7, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Let’s go back to when Hagel was being primaried. Who did the NRSC back? I’m betting it was Hagel over his opponent.

DanMan on January 7, 2013 at 10:31 AM

I wore ‘the blue suit’ for 34 years, and I’m no fan of Hagel as SecDef… No thanks…

Khun Joe on January 7, 2013 at 10:32 AM

…and the sh!t keeps flowing!

KOOLAID2 on January 7, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Oh, BS, they will fall in line. What a non story.

rubberneck on January 7, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm………………………..

Officials: Chuck Hagel Was a ‘Gift From God’ for the Israeli USO
By Steve Clemons

Jan 6 2013, 12:53 PM ET
***********************

Critics charge that Chuck Hagel went on crusade in 1980s to close a USO mission in Israel — but Israelis involved then say the potential secretary of defense nominee actually saved the operation.

Admiral Ze’ev Almog, or Aluf Almog in Hebrew, speaks in a deep baritone, no-BS, command-authority voice that must have intimidated enemies and political rivals inside and outside Israel’s command structure over the past decades. He exudes confidence, authority, and a compelling patriotism for the State of Israel for which he fought in so many wars. The nearly 78-year old former Commander-in-Chief of the Israeli Navy and former head of the Israel Shipyards fought in the Suez Crisis, the Six-Day War, the War of Attrition, the Yom Kippur War, the 1982 Lebanon War, and through the long span of what is called the South Lebanon Conflict.

220px-Rear_Admiral_Ze’ev_Almog.jpgAlmog was commander of the battle-tested Naval Commando Unit, Flotilla 13, performing more than 80 combat operations ranging from penetrating Egypt’s Port Said and raids on Adabiya coastal forts to sinking Egyptian torpedo boats. He is credited with dramatic transformation of Israel’s sea-based military platforms and operations, and is one of those legendary leaders from whom many Israelis still have the benefit of learning about high stakes moments in the nation’s history. Ze’ev Almog has also been a friend of and corresponding with former US Senator Chuck Hagel for decades.

I tracked down the one-time naval commander-in-chief one late night by cell phone. First, I got his grandson, to whom I recounted why I wanted to speak to his grandfather. The young man responded by saying his grandfather would insist on me retelling everything again “exactly.” Why was I calling? What was the purpose? What did I intend to do with my interview? Almog is cautious but forceful – and a really busy man. I called four times in one night – finally securing my interview at what was about 1 a.m. for him in Israel.

And then we talked about Chuck Hagel.
(More…)
==========

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/01/officials-chuck-hagel-was-a-gift-from-god-for-the-israeli-uso/266863/

canopfor on January 7, 2013 at 10:39 AM

…and the sh!t keeps flowing!

KOOLAID2 on January 7, 2013 at 10:37 AM

KOOLAID:

Yup,and the sh*t,by the Obama Team,gets dressed up as Ice-Cream:)

canopfor on January 7, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Yup,and the sh*t,by the Obama Team,gets dressed up as Ice-Cream:)

canopfor on January 7, 2013 at 10:42 AM

and that is the part that IMO is the most frustrating.

CoffeeLover on January 7, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Ben Cardin is almost as bad as O’Mally.

Almost.

Gatsu on January 7, 2013 at 10:03 AM

But, but he’s “your friend Ben!”

I know this because I saw it on the TV. The TV wouldn’t lie to me, would it?

And he’s really just as bad as O’Malley. But neither one of them is as big a toolish assclown as Glendenning was…

PetecminMd on January 7, 2013 at 10:47 AM

I don’t believe that Hagel has the intelligence to get through a confirmation hearing.

Vince on January 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM

When Rice looked like too much trouble, Barky stabbed her in the back 20 times over.

All those ‘revelations’ that she held shares in suspect looking ME oil firms etc. came straight from Jarrett. It was their usual way of letting someone down gently (by killing them).

CorporatePiggy on January 7, 2013 at 10:59 AM

But, but he’s “your friend Ben!”

PetecminMd on January 7, 2013 at 10:47 AM

The rat Ben in that 1970s movie was more of a friend than either Cardin or O’Malley.

Happy Nomad on January 7, 2013 at 11:01 AM

This administrations war on the wimmenz is despicable. While Clinton is bowing out, they’re nominating Kerry and Hagel? Thats just not ‘FAIR’.

tommy71 on January 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

@canopfer: When otherwise credible witnesses have black-and-white recollections of the same person, the simplest explanation is that they’re both right. And the simplest inference is that the person in question is two-faced.

Seth Halpern on January 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Hagel will last two days into the confirmation hearings. Crash and burn.

Then Obama will put in who he really wanted all along!

Jack Deth on January 7, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Hagel will last two days into the confirmation hearings. Crash and burn.

Then Obama will put in who he really wanted all along!

Jack Deth on January 7, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Susan Rice?

cane_loader on January 7, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Obama is attempting to stack the departments with stooges, boot lickers and dim bulbs to preclude any future challenges from within. The senate had better be very critical and cull this bunch lest they cause serious damage to the country.

rplat on January 7, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Instead, Cardin insists that Hagel is going to have to answer some tough questions

“Do you prefer Granny Smith apples in your pie?”

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 11:41 AM

I hope Hagel does get confirmed and all the Democrats are on record supporting him, especially the “Jewish” Democrats in the Senate, it MIGHT, and I say “MIGHT” wake up American Jews to the reality that Democrats and Obama hate Israel and you. If anyone saw even 30 seconds of any Occupy Wall street rally, they would know just how antisemitic liberals TRULY are.

This may be a wake up call. Or not.

Raquel Pinkbullet on January 7, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Bottom line is Jews don’t support the GOP, and voted overwhelmingly for Obama. They will have to live with the consequences of that vote. Just like the Jews who voted for Hitler in Germany.

Raquel Pinkbullet on January 7, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Bottom line is Jews don’t support the GOP, and voted overwhelmingly for Obama. They will have to live with the consequences of that vote. Just like the Jews who voted for Hitler in Germany.

Raquel Pinkbullet on January 7, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Ba-zing.

Elections and ideas have consequences. We are past due for said consequences and they will not be pleasant.

Frankly after all the times in the Bible where they learned the hard way, I really thought the Jews of all people would know better than to vote for a half-Muslim, freedom-hating screwball. Especially when the survival of their revived nation could be on the line.

MelonCollie on January 7, 2013 at 11:50 AM

1. Hagel hates the Pentagon/Defense.

2. Hagel hates the Jews.

3. Obama likes Hagel.

Schadenfreude on January 7, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Gays and Jews get what they voted for.

Schadenfreude on January 7, 2013 at 12:34 PM

MelonCollie on January 7, 2013 at 11:50 AM

The Jews aren’t the only group of people that have repeatedly pe*d on the electric fence in order to learn that it delivers a shock. Just look at the 51% in our own country.

chemman on January 7, 2013 at 1:00 PM

So says Chuck Todd, underscoring the oddly pugnacious move today to nominate Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Republicans clearly oppose the move, and that eliminates any benefit of bipartisanship. If Democrats don’t line up foursquare behind the pick, why make it at all?

“Because I won, that’s why. So there!”

There Goes The Neighborhood on January 7, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Let’s take that as a baseline. That presumes that Obama has 43 votes from his own party on Hagel in the bag — hardly a rousing level of support for a Cabinet appointment, especially one as critical as Defense.

Who cares? Obama will get 40-43 votes from his own party, while letting the NY and NJ senators, and a few others with large Jewish constituencies vote no. McCain, Murkowski, the two sisters, and a few other Republicans will vote yes, and Obama will get his appointment.

There is no drama here.

Mr. Arkadin on January 7, 2013 at 2:23 PM

While this will indeed be messy, American Jews are largely on their own.

Since our friends in the Jewish community largely voted for Mr. Obama, they’ve lost my support.

Given the President’s record on Israel- what did they think he was going to do.

Good luck to them.

Marcus Traianus on January 7, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Democrats always stick together like glue–

Bullhead on January 7, 2013 at 10:04 PM

You say decorated war veteran. I thought he had 2 purple hearts. I mean no disrespect but a purple heart recognizes some kind of wound. Not really anything else.

scboy on January 8, 2013 at 8:48 AM