So…what was the point of that?
After blocking the 60-vote requirement to end debate on Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of State in the Senate two weeks ago, saying they needed more information and more time, Republicans have relented and with few exceptions (Rubio, Paul, Lee, Johnson, etc) voted for cloture and allowed for the final confirmation vote to proceed this afternoon (almost guaranteed to pass). The thing is, we got no new information. Hagel didn’t turn over his financial documents as requested, no speeches to foreign bodies were provided, nothing changed. Well, except the votes of half the minority party.
This has become an uncanny pattern in Congress going on three years. An issue comes up, or Democrats propose an idea, Republicans explode with outrage about how terrible, unconstitutional, or dead-on-arrival it is, stonewalling ensues, a few test votes fail, Republican poll numbers on the issue plummet, and they eventually accept most or all of what was proposed to begin with. This surrender takes the form of what they usually call an “imperfect deal” that they “had to accept” because doing nothing would be worse. “I didn’t like everything that was in it, but we got the best deal we could”, the ubiquitous cop-out goes.
This “strategy” has been repeated on nearly every major issue since the GOP won back the House in 2010:
spending “cuts” (that aren’t really cuts),
Hurricane Sandy pork,
and gun control and minimum wage will be next.
What good is a minority opposition party if they just roll over at the end of every debate after having only succeeded in turning the public against them? I suppose they’ve at least prevented anymore Obamacares or Dodd-Franks so far, but at what cost? I guess we’ll find out after the 2014 elections.
UPDATE: Hagel was confirmed as Secretary of Defense with a vote of 58-41. Almost all Republican voted against confirmation, including most who voted for cloture, except Rand Paul, who voted against cloture but for confirmation, confusing everyone in the process, perhaps even himself.