GOP Makes Unprecedented Move and Filibusters Chuck Hagel's Confirmation
In an unprecedented move Thursday, the Senate filibustered the confirmation vote on Chuck Hagel appointment to Secretary of Defense. The confirmation was put to a cloture and failed, falling just one vote short of breaking the filibuster. According to the GOP though, the move is not a filibuster. This narrative follows the completely delusional trajectory that is rapidly becoming the state of the Republican party.
As Dylan Matthews puts it in his article on the Washington Post's Wonkblog, if it walks like a filibuster and talks like a filibuster, it probably is a filibuster.
"It’s not a filibuster. I don’t want to use that word,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) told Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin. Immediately after the vote, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) agreed, taking to the Senate floor to declare, “This is not a filibuster.” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) issued a statement clarifying that while he “believe[s] a president’s cabinet members deserve an up-or-down vote,” he also thinks “the majority leader’s motion to cut off debate only two days after an important nomination is reported to the Senate floor is premature.” It is rather hard to come up with a plausible definition of “filibuster” that excludes what Senate Republicans did Thursday... even if the Hagel filibuster does not count as a “typical” filibuster — and it’s too early to tell if Republicans really do intend to drag this out indefinitely, so it may be a typical one yet — it’s still absolutely a filibuster.
The GOP is quickly turning cabinet confirmation into a circus. First, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) claimed that Hagel received money from North Korea and Saudi Arabia, now his own party --that's right Hagel is a Republican-- is preventing him from becoming Secretary of Defense days before a NATO summit. Lookin' good GOP, lookin' good.
In an article on The Daily Beast, John Avlon explains the ridiculousness of this latest move:
Let’s put this in perspective—Republicans decided to filibuster a Republican secretary-of-defense nominee, someone Mitch McConnell once called one of the most respected foreign-policy voices in the Senate, someone John McCain said would make an excellent secretary of state... the GOP doesn’t have the votes to kill these nominations. Because Democrats control 55 seats in the Senate—after winning uphill races in states ranging from North Dakota to Montana to Indiana—Republicans can’t hope to win an up or down vote. And so they pulled a cowardly parliamentary move to obstruct a straight vote, imposing a filibuster that breaks with all precedent, simultaneously reminding Americans why we desperately need filibuster reform.
The Hagel attacks have been particularly ugly, because they involve Republicans trying to tear down the reputation of a fellow Republican and former senator. Hagel—an enlisted combat vet, two-time Purple Heart winner, and veterans-affairs director under Reagan—is bitterly resented by neoconservatives for opposing the 2007 surge and the Iraq War, in a break with President Bush. But on a deeper level, his sin might be described as collaboration—agreeing to cross party lines to work for this Democratic president—and in this he must be made an example.It is a sign of the times: as with Obama Derangement Syndrome and Bush Derangement Syndrome before it, there is the dogged impulse to create a monstrous caricature out of a basically honorable person who wants to serve his country. The gap between partisan narrative and reality grows.
The Republican party is out of touch. It's desperation has it pulling down a remarkable American that has served his country well. After losing in November, there was a call for reform. Marco Rubio appeared as the "Savior" of the party, thirsty for a better America and more relevant GOP. But just months later, that plan already appears to be in the trash. Between votes by Cruz and a band of other Republicans against the Violence Against Women Act and turning the nomination of Hagel from a peace offering into an attack, it is clear that the GOP is not willing to change the way many of its constituents want it to. Instead it will continue broadcasting lies and moving further to the right until it loses its last finger-hold and drowns in the Tea Party.