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Chuck Hagel’s path to the Pentagon seemed more uncertain Thursday than it has at any time since the president named the former Republican senator to be his Defense secretary.
For a while it looked like Hagel was on a shaky but likely path of confirmation by his former Senate colleagues. Yes, he’d been slammed for everything from his comments about the “Jewish lobby” and his refusal, while in the Senate, to get behind a statement supporting tough sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.
But after confirmation hearings in which he seemed diffident—if not listless—he appeared likely to get through with the sheer muscle of Democratic votes and endorsements by the foreign policy establishment. The committee reported him out on a party-line vote.
But Republicans are still threatening a filibuster, and Harry Reid says he doesn’t have the votes to overcome this once rare and now all too common parliamentary tactic. Hagel may still squeak by, and if it was an up-or-down vote he would likely be in. But it’s the age of the promiscuous filibuster—and anything can happen.
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