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Former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to be Defense Secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 31, 2013. Hagel, 66, is a decorated Vietnam War veteran and a former two-te
Chuck Hagel
All of the Republican stalling and temper tantrums over Republican former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination for defense secretary, including an historic filibuster, succeeded in drawing out the confirmation process and giving a number of Republican senators a chance to grandstand extensively. But all that has finally given way to a cloture vote in which the Senate voted, 71 to 27, to move forward to an actual up or down vote.

Senate "deliberations" over this wouldn't have been complete without more craziness from the Senate floor, including Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe repeating his insistence that Iran has endorsed Hagel.

But that's it. Despite the grandstanding demands to have the nomination withdrawn, we're not going to hear any more about "Friends of Hamas." Texas Sen. Ted "Calgary" Cruz is going to have to find another subject for his neo-McCarthyism than wild allegations about Hagel having taken North Korean money. (Don't worry about Cruz, he's doing just fine on the McCarthyism front.) South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is going to have to find another fight to gin up to ward off a primary challenge from his right. Arizona Sen. John McCain is going to have to find another cloud to shake his fist at to exercise his bitterness at having lost in 2008.

And Chuck Hagel, a Republican, is back on track to be confirmed as defense secretary. Yay?

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