The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

February 16, 2013

Worst week in Washington: Chuck Hagel

In the words of rock-philosopher Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part.

Chuck Hagel, a former Nebraska senator and President Barack Obama's pick to be the next defense secretary, is caught in a political purgatory thanks to Senate Republicans' decision to require 60 votes to move his nomination through the world's greatest deliberative body.

A vote Thursday to do just that failed — as everyone knew it would — with only four Republicans voting "yes," leaving Hagel tantalizingly close to and yet so far away from leading the Defense Department.

The Senate is out of session next week,which means Hagel has to wait at least until Feb. 25 for another chance at confirmation. While many of the Republicans who voted against ending debate on his nomination Thursday insisted that they would reverse course in 10 days' time, Hagel is now left to twist in the wind while the groups that have rallied opposition to him work overtime to unearth some disqualifying tidbit from his past.

Worst of all, Hagel really can't do much to defend himself — leaving it to his brother, Tom, to tell the media: "He's not going to walk away from this. . . . He's just going to fight harder."

Chuck Hagel, for having to sit silently while the Senate stalled, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

This week we are going to start awarding a Worst Week honorable mention, when appropriate. The inaugural winner? Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), whose sip slip — he paused to gulp some water during his GOP response to Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, awkwardly seeking to maintain eye contact with viewers while reaching off camera — distracted from the substance of his speech and gave late-night comedians fodder for days.

Congrats on being second worst.

1
Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video