Republicans have offered up a litany of excuses for filibustering former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Defense Secretary, and none of them make a lot of sense. But the award of biggest fail belongs to John McCain. John McCain filibustered Hagel yesterday over Hagel’s criticism of Bush, but in 2008 McCain’s harsh unleashing on Bush left no stone unturned.
Republicans are supposed to be rebranding their party, but instead, they’re busy making history by filibustering a defense secretary nominee. This is the first time the filibuster has been used against a defense secretary nominee (note: Republicans are pretending it wasn’t a filibuster). Perhaps Republicans aren’t concerned about national security after all.
Of the many reasons given for obstructing the Republican nominee, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) offered the most insane. After McCain threatened to block Hagel unless the Obama administration answered his questions about Benghazi (McCain was too busy giving interviews on camera complaining about the lack of information on Benghazi to actually attend one of the briefings on Benghazi), and the Obama administration complied, McCain moved the goal post again. Now he’s holding a grudge over Hagel’s criticism of Bush. Apparently McCain thinks that aligning the party with George W Bush will be helpful.
Yesterday McCain cried to Fox News that Hagel has said mean things about George W Bush and people don’t forget that:
To be honest with you Neil, it goes back to there is a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly. At one point said he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover. Said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War which is nonsense. And was very anti his own party and people. People don’t forget that.
If “people” (aka: Republicans) are as petty as McCain said they are, then that would mean that the Republican Party put their grudges about Bush ahead of national security.
This probably isn’t the best argument McCain could have made for the GOP poutrage vote.
Furthermore, this is the same McCain who told the Washington Times in October of 2008 that he rejected many of Bush’s failed policies, and that he would not be four more years of W. McCain listed Bush’s many failures:
“Spending, the conduct of the war in Iraq for years, growth in the size of government, larger than any time since the Great Society, laying a $10 trillion debt on future generations of America, owing $500 billion to China, obviously, failure to both enforce and modernize the [financial] regulatory agencies that were designed for the 1930s and certainly not for the 21st century, failure to address the issue of climate change seriously,” Mr. McCain said in an interview with The Washington Times aboard his campaign plane en route from New Hampshire to Ohio.
“Those are just some of them,” he said with a laugh, chomping into a peanut butter sandwich as a few campaign aides in his midair office joined in the laughter.
Those are harsh words. McCain spared Bush nothing, raking him over the coals on his out of control spending, his financial regulatory agency failures, his $10 trillion debt, and of course, “(T)he conduct of the war in Iraq for years”, accused the man who now claims that criticizing the surge is a reason Hagel should not be nominated. Americans await McCain voting against himself, should he be nominated for anything, because people don’t forget.
41 Republicans voted against Hagel’s nomination to head the Pentagon, but he did get 4 votes from Republicans, giving him close the number he needs to overcome a Republican filibuster (essentially 59, he needs 60).
McCain admitted that Hagel is likely to be confirmed after recess, which sounded exactly like it reads: After Republicans get over their preschool recess pout, they will concede that — SIGH — having someone running the Pentagon is probably a decent idea. However, they will have achieved their goal of undermining Hagel and Obama in the eyes of the world, since Hagel will miss a defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels next week. Republicans must be pleased to force America’s defense secretary out of the NATO conference. This is coming from the party that made security at Benghazi an issue. They’d better hope nothing happens unitl they come back from recess. USA! USA! USA!
We can only hope that the rest of the world understands that Republicans are a minority insurgent party that doesn’t represent most Americans, and thus their lack of support is indicative of nothing other than their hurt feelings that they lost yet another national election. Hagel, after all, represents a stark rebuke of the modern day Republican Party. Hagel called out the Iraq debacle at the time, and although he supported McCain’s 2000 run, by 2008 he had drifted to the center (also known as away from crazy).
McCain’s latest excuse is just another reactionary hit, aimed at the messenger instead of the problem. Hagel’s criticisms were valid, and the neo cons will never forgive him for being right. The Republican Senators’ temper tantrum over Hagel should be recalled the next time a Republican tries to suggest that the problem in DC is that Obama won’t work with them.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.