This afternoon John DiStaso of the New Hampshire Union Leader tweeted that Senator Kelly Ayotte will oppose the nomination of Chuck Hagel for the position of Defense Secretary. An op-ed explaining her decision will be published tomorrow ahead of the committee vote. She’s not the only Senator opposed to Hagel. Oddly, quite a few Democrats aren’t too keen on Obama’s token RINO, but they’ll go along with it because they just do as they’re told.
After the President nominated Mr. Hagel, Chuck Schumer—who calls himself the Senate’s “guardian of Israel”—raised what he called “genuine concerns.” Within days and before the hearing, Mr. Schumer emerged from a meeting with Mr. Hagel to declare himself unconcerned and a yes vote.
After the hearing, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill offered this excuse: “Chuck Hagel is much more comfortable asking questions than answering them. That’s one bad habit you get into when you’ve been in the Senate—you can dish it out but sometimes it’s a little more difficult to take it.” Now, there’s an endorsement for someone taking a job to command generals.
The last-ditch rationalization is that a President deserves the advisers he picks. “Well, this is President Obama’s choice,” said Maryland’s Ben Cardin. “It’s not who I would prefer to see as secretary of defense.” That isn’t what Senators Joe Biden or John Kerry said when they filibustered John Bolton’s nomination to be Ambassador to the U.N. in 2005.
Republicans are so far signaling that they won’t filibuster Mr. Hagel, which speaks well of their confirmation consistency even with a Democrat in the White House. But Senators of either party still owe voters their independent judgment on an up or down vote. Advice and consent isn’t supposed to mean partisan deference to the White House, especially when a nominee looks as unprepared as Mr. Hagel does.
It’s clear that Mr. Obama chose Mr. Hagel not because he wants a strong and knowledgeable adviser but because he wants a cipher who will take orders from the White House.
Read the whole thing. In short, it’s just business as usual in Washington, DC.