With Republicans sympathetic to Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel preparing to cave, Hagel’s confirmation to head the Pentagon seems all but assured. According to Reuters on Thursday afternoon, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has now stated that he will support Hagel’s nomination, just a week after joining the Republican effort to block Hagel’s nomination until he disclosed information about speeches and finances. Hagel has not turned over such information. The White House continues to stonewall all requests. But Shelby is caving anyway. “He’s probably as good as we’re going to get,” said Shelby.
Joining Shelby, reportedly, is Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), who said on KFAB radio in Omaha, “I will be voting no on the floor,” but reportedly added that she would vote for cloture, which would bring Hagel to a vote.
This cave has been signaled since the beginning of the week, when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joined the Sunday shows to explain, “I’m confident that Sen. Hagel will probably have the votes necessarily to be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.” Democrats had long ago scheduled a vote on Hagel for February 26, the day after Congress returns from its current recess.
The core of Republican opposition to Hagel remains, but it’s simply not large enough to stop a vote on Hagel. Democrats are in lockstep in favor of the nominee, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) suddenly seeing the light this week after watching Hagel supposedly “almost” get tears in his eyes after hearing about how nasty the term “Jewish lobby” is. It now appears that with the help of a few spineless Republicans, the most anti-Israel, isolationist, weak on national security Secretary of Defense nominee in recent history will head up our military