As things closed up in DC yesterday, it's apparent that the President's choice for Secretary of Defense....Chuck Hagel....is in trouble and might not pass the Senate confirmation process. The Republicans are pushing up a filibuster, and the media (from all sides) kinda hinted that the numbers are not exactly clear. There might be just enough to pass him, but it'll be just enough.
The issues? It comes down to three or four issues.
Chuck Hagel probably has has a distinguished career....mostly as a Republican-lite kind of guy from Nebraska. It appears that a number of Republicans have noted that he hasn't exactly stood toe-to-toe with the rest of the party. His general response has been that he represents the voters in his state, end of the story.
Then, there's the speeches where Chuck Hagel has noted his standing....mostly against Israel, which tends to get noticed after a while.
Then, you have the odd moment where in 2008....he offered up his endorsement to then candidate Senator Obama....instead of Senator McCain. McCain hasn't forgotten that moment. I was kinda surprised that numerous media outlets acted like this was not a big deal, and couldn't understand why McCain was grilling so intensely.
Finally, you come to the confirmation hearings....where Hagel looked like he really didn't want to be there. His answers....his attitude....all appear like he's taking the job but he doesn't have real desires for it. I sat through thirty minutes of confirmation and at one point....just flipped it to the History Channel. I don't think he really feels that great about taking the job.
My humble guess is that this ends up as the top discussed item for the Sunday political chat shows, and the White House gets pretty nervous over the possibility of this going down the tubes.
The next choice? The White House might try to interest General Powell....but I suspect he wants nothing out of the confirmation hearings. They might have to reach over and ask the current number two guy of the Pentagon to step into the ring, just to get out of this mess.