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.