CNN reports that Hagel’s confirmation is “all but certain”:
CNN has learned there are now at least five Republican senators who would oppose a filibuster of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, all but ensuring the embattled nominee will be confirmed in the coming days.
According to a CNN survey of senators, the five are Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mike Johanns of Nebraska -who both support Hagel taking over the top post at the Pentagon – and John McCain of Arizona, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma – who all oppose Hagel’s nomination but also disagree with blocking it by filibuster.
It’s welcome news that there isn’t enough support for a filibuster. A filibuster always seemed such an implausible option for Senate Republicans to take from the very beginning, but the remarkable thing about this process is that it was being discussed and entertained at all. Cabinet nominations have failed or been withdrawn before, but they’ve never been subjected to a filibuster. Barring the nomination of a criminal, there would be no good cause for one.
We won’t know what the final confirmation vote tally will be, but by my count there are at least 20 Republicans that will definitely vote against Hagel and there are only two definite Republican yeas. Even if all of the remaining Republicans voted to confirm, that would still mean that nearly half of the Senators from Hagel’s own party are voting the other way. It isn’t surprising when the president’s opposition votes in large numbers against a nominee from the president’s party, but in this case Republicans are going out of their way to repudiate one of their own mostly because he is not enough of a jingoist and saber-rattler. Hagel will almost certainly be confirmed, but along the way Senate Republicans are confirming everyone else’s worst fears about their foreign policy views.