Political Animal


February 11, 2013 11:10 AM Graham’s Continuing Hissy Fit

By Ed Kilgore

The standard conservative line about Chuck Hagel’s confirmation process is that his hearings in the Senate Armed Services Committee were a disaster for the administration, revealing the nominee’s fecklessness and “extremist” views. But in a revealing indication of the GOP’s real priorities, it looks like the Big Partisan Confrontation over the nomination won’t be over Israel or Iran or Hagel’s competence under hostile questioning, but—yes, you’ve guessed it—Benghazi!

Here’s Politico’s Tim Mak on Lindsey Graham’s threats to pitch a very public hissy fit if SASC chairman Carl Levin schedules a confirmation vote for Hagel this week:

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, has made clear that he considers Benghazi and Hagel to be one issue — “no confirmation without information,” he said Sunday. Graham is demanding more details from the Obama administration about its response to the Benghazi attacks, without which, he says, he would block Hagel….

As a front for the interminable Benghazi witch hunt, some Republicans are claiming that the real problem is that Hagel isn’t fully disclosing funding sources for past paid speaking gigs—even though their own SASC staff are telling them Hagel’s met all reasonable disclosure requirements.

“There are two options: If Hagel doesn’t fully disclose all the things in the letter [in which Republicans made requests for more disclosure] … either you will see a party line vote or Republicans will stand up and leave the room in protest,” said a senior Republican Senate aide. “Does Levin really want that to happen on his watch as chairman? … It would really debilitate the committee.”

Horrors! A lack of bipartisanship! What’s a chairman to do?

Levin could start, of course, by making it exceptionally clear that his committee will no longer be an open venue for Behghazi Theater. It has zero to do with Hagel’s qualifications, and if the Nebraskan’s nomination is indeed doomed by his performance in the hearings and/or his record, then why do Graham and others keep Going There?

A Republican “walkout” during a Hagel vote, could, of course, represent just another kind of theater. The ranking Republican senator on the committee, John McCain, might go along with it to give his little friend from the Palmetto State another opportunity to posture for the right-wing activists back home who are mulling a primary challenge to him, without taking the more consequential action of an unprecedented filibuster of a Cabinet nominee.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • biggerbox on February 11, 2013 11:26 AM:

    Frankly, at this point I'm surprised they aren't demanding more information about Vince Foster. There's just as much "there there" and it's just as relevant.

  • Mudge on February 11, 2013 11:29 AM:

    Let's see..The Republicans hold the debt ceiling hostage in 2011 for unrelated issues. They hold the confirmation of the consumer board director hostage because their finance bosses do not like the law. Now Graham wants to hold Hagel hostage for his unrelated Benghazi obsession.

    Looks like a trend.

  • Gandalf on February 11, 2013 11:48 AM:

    At some point in time these asshats have to be called what they really are. And that's traitors. What good does it do to hold up appointments to positions that keep the country running? Either vote em up or down. This attempt to keep things in a constant state of turmoil shows an inherent insanity that disqualifies these people from holding public office. It's just fine to have differing viewpoints on how the country should operate but I think anarchy isn't an acceptable alternative.

  • c u n d gulag on February 11, 2013 11:53 AM:

    Poor, poor, Senator Limpseed Cornpone Grahamcrackers (R-Closet).

    He's trying so very, very hard to keep up his dirt-road cred with the looniest of their looney base, that it might start to threaten to lose him his DC Villager cred and appeal as a Republican "moderate."

    What does Senator Limpseed think "Benghazi" means in Libyan?
    Twin Towers?

    Oh, btw, Senator, I don't seem to recall your little man-titties being in this big of a hissy-fit uproar when, after nearly a year of Bush administration negligence, almost 3,000 people were killed by terrorists in 3 American states.

    Why is that, Senator?

  • howard on February 11, 2013 1:33 PM:

    i still wish i could construct any kind of plausible argument for this ongoing bengahzi fixation, but i can't: i just can't imagine what their counter-factual is supposed to be.

  • labman57 on February 11, 2013 1:41 PM:

    Unsatisfied with their unparalleled low standing in public polls and disdain by the American people, Congressional Republicans continually strive to promote policies, make public statements, and take actions which will further damage the party's reputation and popularity.

    How low can they go?

  • LAC on February 11, 2013 2:13 PM:

    Huckleberry McCloset knows that there is nothing he can do to avoid this primary challenge, short of banging a woman on the SC capitol building steps while yelling " I hate Obama!" , right?

  • BillFromPA on February 11, 2013 2:21 PM:

    This sad episode demonstrates that the repugs have completely lost their Faux Scandal mojo. Why, I remember the time when they could take the Clinton's LOSING money on a land deal, turn that into a scandal, then when that didn't pay off, follow a non-existant trail to the trailer park home of Paula Jonse, et al and whip up an impeachment out of that sauce. They just can't believe their own inability ot neuter Obama over the sort of foreign tragedy that happened numerous times under the last three repug adminisrations.

  • jjm on February 11, 2013 2:23 PM:

    I never heard this sub-normal idiot call for the investigation of what happened to get 3000 Americans killed on 9/11--did you?

    He's clutching at so many straws he's beginning to look like he belongs in the Wizard of Oz.

  • Raoul on February 11, 2013 2:54 PM:

    I would applaud a walk-out. They've already done any number of F.U.s to Senate decorum, so why not have their little pity parade and stumble out of the vote in a unified sign of utter disregard for advice and consent.

    The GOP no longer consents to being governed by the legitimate winners of an election. May as well make that abundantly clear. Traitors.

  • MuddyLee on February 11, 2013 5:00 PM:

    As a (relatively) sane constituent of Sen Graham, I would like to see the Senate Democrats tell him to shut up about Benghazi until he is prepared to apologize on behalf of the Republican party for (1) the Clinton impeachment and his idiotic daily performance on television, (2) the failure of the Bush administration to prevent the 9-11 attacks (with a complete discussion of the briefing that Bush received about the possibility of such attacks), and (3) the invasion of Iraq and the mismanagement of the reconstruction of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein (thousands of Americans dead and wounded - over a hundred thousand dead Iraqis - over a million displaced Iraqis - a trillion dollars or so spent on this fiasco).

  • Doug on February 11, 2013 5:27 PM:

    MuddyLee, if only!