Hagel was sworn in as the new Secretary of Defense today, one day after a bruising Senate confirmation battle ended yesterday with a 58-41 vote in favor of him. Prior to that vote, though, stood all sorts of obstacles.
He had his past words used against him in the lead up to his confirmation hearing, took heavy criticism from his former allies in the Republican party during his Senate hearing, and faced unusual opposition to his appointment. His confirmation was filibustered and held up from Feb.14 until yesterday, when the Senate voted 71-27 to end debate.
Although President Barack Obama and the Senate’s Democrats won the battle for Hagel, some think the GOP ultimately won the war. One Republican Senate aide had the following to say about the end result:
“In order to get Hagel barely across the finish line, the president had to burn up a tremendous amount of political capital to keep pro-Israel and vulnerable Democrats in line while Hagel was forced to disavow every position he’s ever held that endeared him to foreign policy leftists.Bottom line: a weakened White House gets a marginalized secretary of Defense who had to disavow all of his views and supporters in order to win confirmation. I’d call that a win for the opposition.”
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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