When I first blogged about the Hagel nomination weeks ago, I flagged it as upcoming drama. Now, some of you might be wondering if this movie is ever going to end. I have been working on my next book, Potomac Lights, and this nomination is very distracting. I asked one my characters, Bob Carson, what he thought of the nomination, and as is typical of Bob, mincing no words, he said it was a terrible idea because you “can’t teach a cat to ride a bicycle.” I think he is trying to say that apart from politics and feelings about Israel, Hagel doesn’t seem to have the managerial experience or the temperament to run a huge and complicated agency focused on our safety, with millions of lives at stake.
Bob is a minor character, so you don’t have to take him seriously. But if you like to read about Washington politics with no particular political leaning, you might check out my novel Spin Doctor.
I digress. Here are some developments since my last post:
Fifteen Senators have written Obama, asking him to withdraw Hagel’s nomination. Since they are all Republican Senators, this is as likely to impact the White House as would the certain knowledge that it is snowing somewhere in Alaska.
Bob Woodward reported last Sunday that some Democratic Senators have called the White House to ask if they are going to withdraw Hagel. And the White House swears they won’t. Of course, that’s what they all say, right up until they withdraw it.
B’nai B’rith , a liberal leaning “global voice of the Jewish Community” published a statement voicing serious concerns about Hagel.
What we don’t know is whether any Democrat has called the White House and told them they are not getting their vote. Unless some Democrats break rank, he’s going to be confirmed.
A few days ago, Sen. Richard Shelby announced he would support the nomination, saying “ He’s probably as good as we’re going to get.” In other words, any choice by this administration is going to preside over the dismantling of Defense and gouging of the DOD Budget. Does it really matter whether it is done in an orderly way? Good question.
That’s bound to be the conclusion of a lot of Senators who might not be thrilled with the nomination. Reality is, there is only so much the minority can do. They have done a very good job of slowing it down and calling attention to it.
Now it is up to the Democrats. They will have to consider if they really want to win this one, whether they will be prepared to take responsibility, to pay the price of having a Hagel at the helm if we face a national defense crisis in the next four years.
They may have another cloture vote this week. It sounds like they may get enough votes to confirm.
And if he is confirmed, we will soon find out if a cat can ride a bicycle.