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Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) leaves a news conference in Omaha, Nebraska March 12, 2007. REUTERS/Dave Kaup
Chuck Hagel, filibustered Republican nominee.
The Senate is going to take a second stab at a confirmation vote for former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to be defense secretary next Tuesday, and indications are that this time Republicans won't have the votes to sustain their filibuster. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) will vote for Hagel on Tuesday. Damning him with faint praise, Shelby told the Decatur Daily that Hagel is "probably as good as we're going to get," in announcing his vote switch.

What else could Republicans really do at this point, particularly after the national humiliation of the "Friends of Hamas" debacle? There is a diehard corps of Republicans, though, that don't seem to get that they've made themselves public laughingstocks, and who just aren't capable of being embarrassed into backing down. That would be the 15 who wrote a letter to President Obama demanding that he withdraw the nomination. They include Lindsey "I'm a tea partier! Really!" Graham, Jim "Hamas is like the Salvation Army" Inhofe, and Ted "Calgary" Cruz who, and this is true, has a list of the communists who have infiltrated Harvard Law School. Oh, and 2016's would-be golden boy, Marco Rubio.

But with Shelby moving on, the gig is up. Republicans Thad Cochran, Mike Johanns, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted with Democrats last week to end cloture, and very likely will again. With all 55 Democrats, that's all she wrote. Even John McCain appears to know that enough is enough, and is ready to give up and vote for cloture. If there are already enough Republican votes to get it done, though, McCain will probably just be pissy enough to vote no. Because that's just who he is.

The pointless delay of Hagel's confirmation has accomplished a few things about Republicans, however. First, no matter how outlandish the story, if Breitbart reports it, they'll run with it. Second, these are the people who have de facto control over the Senate! They'll filibuster anything on the flimsiest of grounds, just because the can, new filibuster rules be damned.

That still has to change. If you haven't already, please sign our petition urging Harry Reid to re-open the process of filibuster reform in the Senate.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:56 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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