Quote of the Day: Campaign against Hagel Losing Steam

Our political Quote of the Day comes from Talking Point Memo’s Josh Marshall who says the campaign against former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the Obama administration’s new

Secretary of Defense is losing team:
Nominations lose steam or gain steam. Campaigns against nominations lose steam or gain steam. And at the moment, the campaign against Chuck Hagel’s nomination is losing steam. AIPAC and the ADL have both signaled they do not plan to make a fight of it. Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister is giving Hagel the thumbs up. Now even the Washington Post editorial page has signaled it’s backing off its opposition.

As I noted on Sunday, the prospect of a five seat Democratic majority denying a reelected President the nomination of a former Senator who is blandly unobjectionable anywhere outside the hothouse of DC was always quite unlikely. And these tells are consequential precisely because they signal that the parties in question don’t think it’s a winnable fight.

So what now?

Politico says Senate Republicans are now ‘scoffing’ at the probable nomination of Jack Lew as the next Secretary of the Treasury. Why isn’t clear other than that the Hagel stunt doesn’t seem to be panning out.

Indeed: today’s Republican party seems to be fixated on power plays and showing it can control events and check-mate Obama, and less fixated on policy specifics.

You hear more “nays” when Republicans in Congress speak on one day than in a whole season’s worth of visits to the Del Mar Racetrack.

What is particularly interesting in cases such as this is to tune into Fox News and see them aggressively pushing a series of assumptions in their questions, and then see this big push evaporate when it becomes clear that’s no longer a big priority on the part of GOPers. As Marshall notes here, American politics is often predictable and unless there’s some big knock out punch, Hagel will likely get a new job. It’ll be interesting to see how the White House’s indication that it may pull all troops out of Afghanistan in 2014 will play in the Hagel nomination battle.

Footnote: the two most predictable politicians now in America are Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain, who sometimes show signs that they are not totally enmeshed in partisan hackery, but those signs are becoming fewer and farther between. McCain’s supporters from 2000 remain in a state of grief of the disappearance of that era’s McCain. R.I.P. political maverick. But a reliable partisan quote machine equipped for endless appearances on Sunday news programs rose from the seemingly post-partisan ashes.

4 Comments

  1. The Senate has rejected candidates based on ideology from the beginning starting with Washington’s candidate Rutledge. But since Bork, even though moderate Republicans voted against him, the process has gotten steadily worse.

    Partisanship rather than judgement on competence or expectations of actions in office seem to be the deciding factor. I can remember Sen. Graham stating his belief that a President should have the cabinet and supreme court members he wishes unless there is an important reason to reject them. Either he now thinks there is an important reason or he’s worried about his reelection next year. Surprising? Nope.

  2. Bring back Gates.
    I was an enlisted man, that don’t make me fit to be Sec. of Defense. Good management skills are always helpful and is a controversial maverick really the best choice?
    Love to see some other candidates floated, and no they don’t have to be war mongers.

  3. duck– I thought Hagel was only controversial with the right wing of his own party because he had the guts to question the way the Iraq War was going.

    Most of the “controversy” over anti-Semitic and anti-gay comments has been manufactured by the same people who got us mired in two unwinnable wars.
    Hagel and Obama are of like-minds when it comes to the use of military power, which will make him more effective than Gates at carrying out the administration’s foreign policy goals.

  4. BB, he should be interviewed on things he has said and done, as is usually the case, but more iimpotantly about his qualifications to manage one of the biggest operations in the world. I don’t care about a few careless remarks, what I care about is his abilities and will he support the president and not go rogue.
    I even like the idea that he is not afraid of the “Jewish” lobby, if they are defensive and aggressive at times, but the president usually leads on these types of relationships.
    In other words, there may be others beside the “right wing of his party” that should be doing a careful evaluation of Hagel.

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