Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hagel Confirmed as Secretary of Defense

Tuesday the U.S. Senate voted to accept the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of State.  Four Republicans voted with all of the Democrats to make the vote tally 58 to 41.  This close vote has not been seen since John Ashcroft, also a former senator, was nominated to be Attorney General by former President George W. Bush. That vote in December 2000 was 58 to 42 with most Democrats voting against him.  

So, don't be fooled by Democrats complaining that the president is entitled to his choices and that a fellow senator should be treated better as one of their own.  The Senate has a job to do - that of advise and consent in the nomination process.  

Texas Senator John Cornyn released this statement upon voting no to Hagel's nomination:

“There is simply no way to sugarcoat it: Senator Hagel’s performance before the Senate Armed Services Committee was remarkably inept, and we should not be installing a Defense Secretary who is obviously not qualified for the job, and who holds dangerously misguided views on some of the most important issues facing national security policy for our country.”
Before the vote, observers knew that three Republicans had declared that they would be yes votes for Hagel.  The surprise was Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who voted no twice for cloture then voted yes for confirmation.  

There was no erosion in Democratic support for the president's choice and Hagel already had the backing of three Republicans -- Sens. Thad Cochran, Mike Johanns and Richard Shelby. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also switched to support Hagel in the final vote. 
 If I am not mistaken, Cochran, Johanns and Selby have all announced that they will not be running for re-election.  Senator Paul explained his vote HERE:

 Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said his support for a filibuster against Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel never meant that he would vote against Hagel's confirmation."I voted no because I wanted more information and I think that part of what the Senate does is try to get information about the nominees," Paul told reporters in the basement of the Capitol after Hagel's confirmation Tuesday. "I've said all along that I give the president some prerogative in choosing his political appointees."
"There are many things I disagree with Chuck Hagel on, there are many things I disagree with John Kerry on, there are very few things I agree with the president on, but the president gets to choose political appointees," Paul said.
Senator Paul said he didn't receive the additional information he requested from the nominee.

As a rule, I also think that a president deserves his choices, provided they are not convicted criminals or weakened by alcoholism and like that.  I am well aware that elections have consequences.  However, in the case of Chuck Hagel, I think I would have been a no vote were I a member of the senate today.  I have written about Hagel in previous blog posts HERE, HERE, HERE  and HERE.  I still think the man is wholly unprepared and not capable of rising to the level of leadership needed for the job.

The world is in chaos and it is not a time for a new Secretary of State who is incapable of articulating our national policy towards Iran, for instance.  He is to the left of President Obama on foreign policy and the reason he was nominated in the first place.  He is no friend to Israel.  

He is not the man for the job.  

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