Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel was just confirmed by the United States Senate. The vote was 58 to 41.
Hagel, a former Republican Senator from Nebraska and Vietnam War Veteran, was the first defense secretary nominee to be ever filibustered. This should be no surprised as Republicans over the last few years have had record numbers of filibusters.
John McCain expressed in no uncertain terms the real reason for the filibuster in an interview where he displayed uncanny frankness. Texas Senator Ted Cruz used McCarthy-like tactics in his continued effort to derail the nomination. Ultimately it was not successful.
Republicans said they believed that a shaky performance by Mr. Hagel at his confirmation hearing and his past statements on Israel and a variety of other issues had disqualified him.
John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Mr. Hagel’s worldview was “dangerously misguided,” and he warned that the nominee was ill prepared to handle such a major post. “I don’t think we want a secretary of defense that has to learn on the job,” he added.
But Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, accused Republicans of stalling the nomination earlier this month for political gain.
“What has their filibuster gained? Twelve days later, nothing has changed,” he said. “Senate Republicans have delayed for the better part of two weeks for one reason and one reason only: partisanship.”
It is evident that the filibuster did nothing but waste valuable time the Senate could have used for more productive purposes. Earlier today the Senate broke the filibuster Republicans had on Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel by a 71 to 27 margin. Sixteen Republicans voted to break the filibuster. The same sixteen could have done so two weeks ago.