Despite his less than steller performance at his confirmation hearing last week, Chuck Hagel is still on track for an easy confirmation, especially after picking up another key GOP supporter in Mike Johanns (his Senate successor in Nebraska). So naturally, since much of the Senate GOP has the maturity and emotional stability of three year olds, we're getting talk of a filibuster. Here's Yertle the Turtle on the option:
McConnell said opposition to the former Republican senator leading the Pentagon was growing.
"Whether that means he will end up having to achieve 60 votes or 51 is not clear yet," the Kentucky senator, who is seeking re-election, said Saturday at the opening of his campaign headquarters in Louisville.
Now, that might seem worrisome to Hagel backers, but heres a key nugget later in that piece that signals McConnell is all talk and no action:
Democrats hold a 55-45 advantage in the Senate and two Republicans have announced theri support for Hagel - Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mike Johanns of Hagel's home state of Nebraska. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a member of the leadership, said he would oppose Hagel, but would not back a filibuster.If a member of the GOP Senate leadership like Blunt is not going along with a filibuster scheme, things don't look good for its chances. And that was before this dropped:
Republican Sen. John McCain, a sharp critic of Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary, said Monday he will not support a filibuster of President Barack Obama's pick, even though he declined to say whether he intends to vote for confirmation.And it wasn't just McCain. Here's some more GOP reactions:
"I don not believe a filibuster is appropriate and I would oppose such a move," McCain told reporters Monday, two days after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell raised the possibility of forcing a showdown vote.
"It would be unprecendented for the Senate not to allow an up-or-down vote on a president's Cabinet nomination, but I haven't made any decision about a vote," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.Translation: "Mitch, you're on your own." (Or as far as Graham's concerned, "I do nothing without my dear snugglebunny Johnny's consent.")
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she was "no inclined to support a filibuster regardless of my ultimate decision," on the nominee.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, who opposes Hagel's nomination, said he would not support a filibuster.
Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who suggested the administration re-evaluate its choice, said "filibustering is something I do very reluctantly."
Now, who knows why McCain is getting cold feet on a filibuster (perhaps he doesn't want more bad press after his epic Twitter fail today), but his refusal to back a filibuster pretty much ensures that Hagel is headed for confirmation. As Josh Marshall makes it plain:
Which means about as clearly as can be that this drama (farcical drama, but drama) is over.Sorry, GOP. I know you don't like Hagel, but unless you can dredge up images of him in a Superman costume, looks like you're stuck with him.