I’m as big a defender of the filibuster as there is, but what exactly is the point of this Hagel exercise? For those of you not glued to your seats watching the heart-stopping action unfold on C-SPAN, the Republicans have the votes to sustain a filibuster on Chuck “I’m Not Going to Be a Very Good SecDef” Hagel, and they are so sustaining it. For now. But Republicans like Bob Corker and John McCain are already telegraphing that they’ll let Hagel get through on a 50-vote threshold — in ten days. The vote, they say, is being “rushed.”
Okay, so what are you going to learn about Hagel in the next ten days? Is there some bombshell you’ve got ready but you need a little more time to cross the t’s and dot the i’s? Are you using this holdup as leverage to get something else you want? Do you think peeling ten days off the calendar is going to prevent Harry Reid from bringing some odious measure to the floor? Is Lindsey Graham suddenly going to get those elusive “answers” on Benghazi? If the answer to all of these questions is “no,” just what the hell is the point of waiting to confirm Hagel?
Don’t get me wrong. I think Hagel is an awful candidate who reflects his would-be boss’s low regard for the Pentagon. I think Hagel’s ceiling — his ceiling, people — is ineffectual bumbler disliked by Pentagon lifers. And I don’t think he has a floor. But, if you’re going to let this guy get confirmed, whose soul do you think you’re saving by waiting till next Monday to do it?