Ali Gharib reports on the last-ditch delaying tactics of Hagel opponents:
Norman Ornstein, an expert on Congressional procedures with the American Enterprise Institute, called the requests “unprecedented.” “I think it’s a pretty ridiculous and outrageous thing to ask,” he said. “You could say that there’s been requests for detailed information [in the past], but this goes even beyond the intrusive questionnaires candidates fill out during the vetting process.” [bold mine-DL] Ornstein pointed the finger at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who’s questioning of Hagel during the confirmation hearing raised hackles. “That a Freshman senator would ask for that level of information says more about Ted Cruz than about anything else,” Ornstein said. “I’ve never heard of anything like that before,” he added. “But you could say that Ted Cruz in the Senate is unprecedented too.”
Cruz’s delaying tactics at this point tell me a few things. First, it’s a clear signal that anti-Hagel forces understand that they’ve failed to unify Senate Republicans against the nomination, and they know they’ve lost the confirmation battle. Now they’re mostly interested in making the last steps in the process as time-consuming and annoying as possible. It also reminds us that most of the anti-Hagel opposition has been acting and arguing in bad faith all along. Cruz et al. obviously aren’t interested in the information they’re requesting (much of which Hagel isn’t in a position to release legally even if he wanted to do so), and it wouldn’t really help them make a more informed decision on how to vote. They’ve known how they were going to vote from the beginning, and Cruz himself has never made any secret that he was going to oppose Hagel, so this extraordinary request for additional information is little more than a tantrum. Finally, Cruz’s role in the confirmation process shows that he values obnoxious combativeness over just about everything else. At some point, the committee chairman will put a stop to this circus, and these delaying tactics won’t amount to anything.