Watch the clip below. He’s also been reassuring senators that he won’t have a policymaking role as SecDef, in case they’re leery of tasking an unqualified incompetent with so much responsibility. He’s basically daring Democrats to vote no, isn’t he?
Question: Are there Democratic votes in play that weren’t before? A GOP Senate aide tells BuzzFeed that they may have a shot now at blocking the confirmation:
Chuck Hagel’s chances of becoming the next Secretary of Defense might have diminished somewhat Thursday, after a choppy first half to his confirmation hearing emboldened Senate Republicans who think they may actually be able to prevent his confirmation.
“There’s a possibility Republicans could block his nomination, especially after today’s performance,” a Senate Republican aide confirmed to BuzzFeed…
[M]ore meetings are still to come, and a number of lawmakers are withholding their judgment until then. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander said his decision “will depend upon the hearing today and my meeting with him next week.”
Unless Hagel starts drooling on himself, which at this point is within the realm of possibility, I can’t believe there’s any critical mass of Democrats willing to kneecap Obama so soon into his term by voting with the GOP. If he’d doubled down on the “Israel lobby” invective, that’d be one thing, but the Party Of Ideas isn’t going to torpedo The One’s preferred candidate for something as minor as being glaringly unfit for the job. The GOP will have to filibuster. Or does “block” mean hold?
Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who aggressively questioned Hagel about controversial remarks he had made on Al Jazeera, suggested he may put a hold on Hagel’s nomination. Cruz noted Hagel’s failure to disclosure requested documents relating to hundreds of speeches he has given over the years, as well as information about the organizations paying him to speak, and their sources of funding.
“In my view, the committee lacks adequate information to vote on his nomination,” Cruz told reporters. “I think we should do everything necessary to ensure that the committee and the full Senate has full disclosure, and an adequate time to review that disclosure.”
Delay the confirmation long enough and maybe Hagel will decide to withdraw. Which brings us to another question: Are there 40 Republicans willing to go to the mat for a filibuster, especially with Democrats already warming up the “obstructionist GOP” talking point for gun control, immigration, and budget negotiations? This might be a good opportunity, actually. Most of the public probably isn’t paying attention (when do they ever pay attention to confirmation hearings that don’t involve Supreme Court vacancies?) and Hagel’s been so ridiculously bad today that not even otherwise sympathetic media can spin it. After you watch him notify the Senate that they’ll have to confirm him before finding out just how unqualified he is, watch below as Dana Bash admits on CNN that even Democratic senators can’t get over how poorly he’s done. Jen Rubin says a Democrat on the Hill told her, “It is very clear from the testimony that Sen. Hagel will not be bringing the potato salad to the next Mensa picnic.” The bar for publicly embarrassing Democrats into dooming Obama’s nominee is very, very, very high, but this guy has a slim chance of clearing it. Says a lot about O’s contempt for his party leadership, and of course for the public, that he’d feed this to them.