Chuck Hagel is now Secretary of Defense thanks to a 58-41 vote in the Senate. Troubling indeed. But even more troubling was Rand Paul's yes vote. Why did this heretofore ally of Tea Party conservatives vote to confirm?
Paul spokeswoman Moira Bagley told Yahoo News. "As he has said before, the president should be entitled to some leeway on his political appointments. That is why Sen. Paul voted in favor of Sen. John Kerry, with whom he largely disagrees on foreign policy, to serve as secretary of state, and that is why he voted for final passage of the nomination of Sen. Hagel this evening, with whom he also disagrees on a number of issues."
So . . . if Obama had nominated Michael Moore for the job, Senator Paul would have voiced his opposition to the nomination, supported a filibuster, but then voted to confirm when the nomination managed to ooze onto the floor of the Senate because "the President should be entitled to 'leeway'"?
First of all, I haven't noticed this President giving the Republicans any leeway when it comes to Sequester, the budget, immigration reform or any other legislative issue. Leeway, it seems to me, ought to be a two way street. Secondly, I don't believe that leeway in appointments ought to include the unfit, the unqualified, or the dangerous and there is ample evidence that Chuck Hagel falls into all three categories.
This scenario has become all too familiar, different plays with the same plot. The President demands, the Republicans protest and then (after a self described heroic battle) cave while making excuses for their capitulation.
But lately we've had hope that some new faces in the Senate, Paul's included, would be willing to stand and fight for immutable conservative values and principles (They are immutable, aren't they?). After yesterday's Senate vote, that hope dims!