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Author: Subject: GOP blocks Hagel appointment, puts CIA nomination on hold

Universal Peach





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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 10:48 AM
GOP senators’ obstruction of a straight vote on the defense-secretary nominee and Rand Paul’s placement of the CIA director nomination on hold amount to a cowardly and cynical political strategy that could compromise national security, says John Avlon.

Since the election, Republican talking points have reflected the fact that they need to reach out beyond their base: to be positive rather than negative; appear more reasonable, less obstructionist.
Hagel

Senate Armed Services Committee members John McCain (left) and Lindsey Graham confer at the start of the committee’s hearing on the appointments of military leaders Thursday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

But how you act speaks more loudly than what you say, and Senate Republicans have doubled down on obstructionism with their shameful filibuster of secretary-of-defense nominee Chuck Hagel. Add to this fresh insult the hold Sen. Rand Paul put on Obama’s nominee to be CIA director, John Brennan, and it looks like Republicans are backing a cynical political strategy that could compromise national security while proliferating hyperpartisanship even further in the future.

Let’s put this in perspective—Republicans decided to filibuster a Republican secretary-of-defense nominee, someone Mitch McConnell once called one of the most respected foreign-policy voices in the Senate, someone John McCain said would make an excellent secretary of state.

The Senate, of course, is entrusted with the ability to advise and consent—but filibustering a cabinet nominee is virtually unprecedented, because it violates the time-honored principle that presidents should be able to pick their cabinet. In the process, Republicans are creating a dangerous precedent that could impact presidents of both parties for decades to come. If this is the new normal for national-security appointees, I’m sure the next Supreme Court nomination will be a model of reason and civility.

Keep in mind the GOP doesn’t have the votes to kill these nominations. Because Democrats control 55 seats in the Senate—after winning uphill races in states ranging from North Dakota to Montana to Indiana—Republicans can’t hope to win an up or down vote. And so they pulled a cowardly parliamentary move to obstruct a straight vote, imposing a filibuster that breaks with all precedent, simultaneously reminding Americans why we desperately need filibuster reform.

Reality check: In recent history, there have been only two other instances of cabinet officials needing to meet a 60-vote threshold for cabinet confirmation: Reagan’s second-term Commerce Secretary C. William Verity and George W. Bush’s Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. Paleoconservative Jesse Helms objected to Verity because the nominee favored increased trade with the Soviet Union. Democrat Bill Nelson put a hold on Kempthorne in a protest against Bush administration oil and gas drilling policies off the Florida coast. Ultimately, in both cases, cloture passed with 85 votes, and the cabinet nominees were easily confirmed. Likewise, the Hagel nomination is still likely to eventually pass once the efforts to intimidate have been exhausted.

The Hagel attacks have been particularly ugly, because they involve Republicans trying to tear down the reputation of a fellow Republican and former senator. Hagel—an enlisted combat vet, two-time Purple Heart winner, and veterans-affairs director under Reagan—is bitterly resented by neoconservatives for opposing the 2007 surge and the Iraq War, in a break with President Bush. But on a deeper level, his sin might be described as collaboration—agreeing to cross party lines to work for this Democratic president—and in this he must be made an example.

Special-interest-funded opposition research and conservative super PACs have been deployed for months to derail the nomination, trying to create the impression that Hagel is anti-Israel and weak on Iran, despite voluminous testimony to the contrary. This effort led to the words “Israel” and “Iran” being used more than 100 times each during his hostile confirmation hearing, but “Afghanistan” barely at all, as this now infamous word cloud shows. It is a sign of the times: as with Obama Derangement Syndrome and Bush Derangement Syndrome before it, there is the dogged impulse to create a monstrous caricature out of a basically honorable person who wants to serve his country. The gap between partisan narrative and reality grows.

The desperation of Hagel’s critics has given rise to ugly moments, as when Oklahoma’s Sen. Jim Inhofe asked whether Hagel has ties to the Iran foreign ministry and freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, huffing up conspiracy theories, asked if money “deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea.”

This hate-fueled game of Kabuki continues, and the Pentagon is denied a new leader with a NATO summit just days away.

Sen. Bill Nelson rightly rebuked him, saying: “Senator Cruz has gone over the line … He basically has impugned the patriotism of the nominee.” Even a onetime friend of Hagel’s turned harsh critic, John McCain said: “No one on this committee should at any time impugn his character or his integrity.”

The Hill weighed in, saying Cruz “acted like Joe McCarthy in short pants with his insults of war hero Hagel.” And the Houston Press also reached for the McCarthy metaphor, saying, “Cruz has spent the last week channeling the ghost of McCarthy, blasting baseless accusations at Chuck Hagel ... The freshman senator seems intent on wringing some sort of Islamist bent from Hagel, parsing verbs and phrases and looking, exegetically, at every single interview and financial source the former senator has ever crossed.”

Yep, this is getting ugly. And unnecessary. Reasonable people can disagree on policy, but it just so happens that the majority of Americans agree with Hagel (and Obama) that the Iraq War was a costly mistake in retrospect, driven by bad intelligence and ideology rather than national interest. But this fight isn’t rooted in a debate over reasonable policy differences as much as an investment in the politics of personal destruction—the demand that demonizations be disqualifiers in themselves.

And so we see lies and distortions—senators convincing themselves that a man McCain once said would be qualified to serve as secretary of state is suddenly a threat to national security, as they try to run out the clock and pray that well-paid opposition researchers dig up more dirt on Hagel so they can be proven right.

The Brennan hold is comparatively small ball, because it is rooted in the idiosyncrasies of Rand Paul, who is demanding more information on drone policy—an issue of growing concern. But there is overlap with the fight over Hagel, with senators arguing that the cloture vote is not a filibuster, because they just want more information on the attack in Benghazi, Libya.

This bitter confirmation fight is sadly ironic, because picking a member of the opposite party to serve in a cabinet is usually an olive branch, a sign of outreach. But no longer. And the abuse of the filibuster to try to block—or at least delay—the confirmation of a secretary of defense again raises questions about filibuster reform. Because if a senator had to hold the floor and risk his bladder—like Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington—while keeping at least 41 of his colleagues on the floor over Presidents’ Day weekend, my guess is that this block never would have occurred.

Instead this hate-fueled game of Kabuki continues, and the Pentagon is denied a new leader with a NATO summit just days away. This can’t be the headline Republicans want as they try to rebrand: “GOP Plays Politics With National Security.

 
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True Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 10:55 AM
I don't get it.

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 11:13 AM
I think the neocons are simply throwing a temper tantrum and are sill bent their choice for President didn't ensure at least four years of them dominating the conversation at the DOD. Hagel is not one of them and they fear his appointment means less sway within certain circles in Washington.
 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 11:25 AM
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 11:30 AM
Part of their fear is that Hagel, for years, has been outspoken about the need to cut the defense budget substantially. And we all know who doesn't want that.....
 

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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 11:39 AM
quote:
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.


Has probably more to do with sour grapes, non support of McCain for president 4 years ago, continual obstruction by the party of "No", and a party that is playing more & more to a smaller & smaller base.

Several excuses given by the GOP. Hagel had zero to do with Benghazi, yet this is one of the reasons given for his nomination being held hostage.

In the end, I predict that he will win approval after yet another negative showing by the GOP - this from a group of political hacks that never seem to learn from their ongoing missteps.

Sorry that Hagel nor other members of Obama's Cabinet meet your standards.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 11:42 AM
quote:
“To be honest with you, Neil, it goes back to there’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and said he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people — people don’t forget that. You can disagree but if you’re disagreeable, then people don’t forget that.” – Senator John McCain


Yeah. Country First.

 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 11:46 AM
quote:
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.


I think is was a poor performance from both sides. The Hawks on the panel asked far more questions about his opinion about Iraq from 2007 and his past Israeli lobby comments than issues facing the Pentagon moving forward. Hardly any questions about Afghanistan, or the controversial Drone program, etc....Like many of these hearings it was more about theater than substance. Just my humble opinion.

 

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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 11:50 AM
quote:
quote:
“To be honest with you, Neil, it goes back to there’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and said he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people — people don’t forget that. You can disagree but if you’re disagreeable, then people don’t forget that.” – Senator John McCain


Yeah. Country First.


I had seen that. Yep...grudge time now and country relegated to back burner. Pay back is hell - the "we'll show you who is in control" mentality. To think that McCain and Hagel were once pals. Bet they won't be doing shots at the next Christmas party together.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 11:50 AM
quote:
quote:
“To be honest with you, Neil, it goes back to there’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and said he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people — people don’t forget that. You can disagree but if you’re disagreeable, then people don’t forget that.” – Senator John McCain


Yeah. Country First.
I saw that on the news this morning and almost fell out of my chair. He's just admitted it's a political grudge...

 

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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 12:27 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
“To be honest with you, Neil, it goes back to there’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and said he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people — people don’t forget that. You can disagree but if you’re disagreeable, then people don’t forget that.” – Senator John McCain


Yeah. Country First.
I saw that on the news this morning and almost fell out of my chair. He's just admitted it's a political grudge...


As I said, they're like children throwing a temper tantrum because they can't get their way.

 

True Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 12:53 PM
quote:
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.

Rich, I agree his performance at the hearings was not the best but this started well before the confirmation hearings began. This is another misguided strategy by the GOP. I don't understand what they think they are gaining by going down this path.

 

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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 01:01 PM
quote:
quote:
“To be honest with you, Neil, it goes back to there’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and said he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people — people don’t forget that. You can disagree but if you’re disagreeable, then people don’t forget that.” – Senator John McCain


Yeah. Country First.


This part is telling: "when he was a Republican"

Ummm, Hagel IS a Republican.

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 01:07 PM
Quite frankly, this plays masterfully into Obama's chess game.

He can loudly declare that he has made moves to reach across the aisle by nominating a Republican for the job, and he can say that the Party of No is just so determined to say No that they said No once again.

And who can argue with him?

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 01:37 PM
It may seem superficial, but Chuck doesn't look so good. He looks really disheveled for whatever reason.
 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 01:38 PM
quote:
Quite frankly, this plays masterfully into Obama's chess game.

He can loudly declare that he has made moves to reach across the aisle by nominating a Republican for the job, and he can say that the Party of No is just so determined to say No that they said No once again.

And who can argue with him?


Quite loudly given this use of the filibuster has never occurred with a Secretary of Defense nomination.

 

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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 02:35 PM
quote:
quote:
Quite frankly, this plays masterfully into Obama's chess game.

He can loudly declare that he has made moves to reach across the aisle by nominating a Republican for the job, and he can say that the Party of No is just so determined to say No that they said No once again.

And who can argue with him?


Quite loudly given this use of the filibuster has never occurred with a Secretary of Defense nomination.


Remember Mitch McConnell's stated goal when Obama was elected first time. That didn't work out too well for Mitch. They failed at making Obama a one term president. They don't like Obama...period. This action is a continuation of the GOP's actions from the last 4 years. The GOP is on cruise control with its mantra - "If we don't get our way, we're going take our ball and leave." I've said it before but, the voters will punish the GOP for its actions & obstruction. They just don't get it.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 02:38 PM
quote:
quote:
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.

Rich, I agree his performance at the hearings was not the best but this started well before the confirmation hearings began. This is another misguided strategy by the GOP. I don't understand what they think they are gaining by going down this path.

I think it's also sad that they can't seem to get straight answers to basic questions from this WH about Benghazi. That's one of the factors holding this up.

Four Americans dead, and we can't find out what the President did or didn't do that night in connection with the attack (seems like nothing at this point). Can't find out why they decieved the public for a week plus with the story about it being reaction to that idiotic video. And can't find out who crafted the whole video story.

The press could care less because it's Obama. So what's left for the opposition party to do? They're using one of the few tools they have. I'd like to know the answers to those and other questions. The families of the dead deserve complete answers, and not more political coverup, don't they? So does the public, though sadly, few seem to care.

 

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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 03:02 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.

Rich, I agree his performance at the hearings was not the best but this started well before the confirmation hearings began. This is another misguided strategy by the GOP. I don't understand what they think they are gaining by going down this path.

I think it's also sad that they can't seem to get straight answers to basic questions from this WH about Benghazi. That's one of the factors holding this up.

Four Americans dead, and we can't find out what the President did or didn't do that night in connection with the attack (seems like nothing at this point). Can't find out why they decieved the public for a week plus with the story about it being reaction to that idiotic video. And can't find out who crafted the whole video story.

The press could care less because it's Obama. So what's left for the opposition party to do? They're using one of the few tools they have. I'd like to know the answers to those and other questions. The families of the dead deserve complete answers, and not more political coverup, don't they? So does the public, though sadly, few seem to care.


Yeah, well, alot of people asked questions about thousands of Americans dying in Iraq and got called traitors for even bringing it up. So it goes, I suppose.

 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 03:05 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.

Rich, I agree his performance at the hearings was not the best but this started well before the confirmation hearings began. This is another misguided strategy by the GOP. I don't understand what they think they are gaining by going down this path.

I think it's also sad that they can't seem to get straight answers to basic questions from this WH about Benghazi. That's one of the factors holding this up.

Four Americans dead, and we can't find out what the President did or didn't do that night in connection with the attack (seems like nothing at this point). Can't find out why they decieved the public for a week plus with the story about it being reaction to that idiotic video. And can't find out who crafted the whole video story.

The press could care less because it's Obama. So what's left for the opposition party to do? They're using one of the few tools they have. I'd like to know the answers to those and other questions. The families of the dead deserve complete answers, and not more political coverup, don't they? So does the public, though sadly, few seem to care.


Yeah, well, alot of people asked questions about thousands of Americans dying in Iraq and got called traitors for even bringing it up. So it goes, I suppose.


One of those people, ironically, being the present nominee for Secretary of Defense.

 

True Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 03:07 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.

Rich, I agree his performance at the hearings was not the best but this started well before the confirmation hearings began. This is another misguided strategy by the GOP. I don't understand what they think they are gaining by going down this path.

I think it's also sad that they can't seem to get straight answers to basic questions from this WH about Benghazi. That's one of the factors holding this up.

Four Americans dead, and we can't find out what the President did or didn't do that night in connection with the attack (seems like nothing at this point). Can't find out why they decieved the public for a week plus with the story about it being reaction to that idiotic video. And can't find out who crafted the whole video story.

The press could care less because it's Obama. So what's left for the opposition party to do? They're using one of the few tools they have. I'd like to know the answers to those and other questions. The families of the dead deserve complete answers, and not more political coverup, don't they? So does the public, though sadly, few seem to care.

So in the final analysis the hold up has nothing to do with Hagel. He's just being used as leverage on an unrelated issue. Meanwhile the GOP continues to lose credibility. It's just stupid. There are other ways to get to the bottom of Benghazi. Appointing a special prosecutor makes more sense than obstructing a nomination. It would be easy to rally support for an investigation and if the Democrats stonewalled that (I don't think they would) there'd be a political price to pay.

 

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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 03:16 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.

Rich, I agree his performance at the hearings was not the best but this started well before the confirmation hearings began. This is another misguided strategy by the GOP. I don't understand what they think they are gaining by going down this path.

I think it's also sad that they can't seem to get straight answers to basic questions from this WH about Benghazi. That's one of the factors holding this up.

Four Americans dead, and we can't find out what the President did or didn't do that night in connection with the attack (seems like nothing at this point). Can't find out why they decieved the public for a week plus with the story about it being reaction to that idiotic video. And can't find out who crafted the whole video story.

The press could care less because it's Obama. So what's left for the opposition party to do? They're using one of the few tools they have. I'd like to know the answers to those and other questions. The families of the dead deserve complete answers, and not more political coverup, don't they? So does the public, though sadly, few seem to care.


Yeah, well, alot of people asked questions about thousands of Americans dying in Iraq and got called traitors for even bringing it up. So it goes, I suppose.


One of those people, ironically, being the present nominee for Secretary of Defense.


Yep.

Is now the time to bring up McCain's grilling of Hagel on McCain's all time favorite topic - The Surge In Iraq?

 

True Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 03:46 PM
quote:
quote:
Quite frankly, this plays masterfully into Obama's chess game.

He can loudly declare that he has made moves to reach across the aisle by nominating a Republican for the job, and he can say that the Party of No is just so determined to say No that they said No once again.

And who can argue with him?


Quite loudly given this use of the filibuster has never occurred with a Secretary of Defense nomination.



The Republican Party has abandoned all pretense of even being interested in governing. This action doesn't even rise to the level of being shameful.

 

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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 03:47 PM
quote:
It may seem superficial, but Chuck doesn't look so good. He looks really disheveled for whatever reason.


It's right up there with criticising Rubio the way he drinks water.

 

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  posted on 2/15/2013 at 04:04 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
I think that if someone watched his confirmation hearings, they'd come away with serious questions too. He seemed rather unprepared for questions that he should have known he was going to face. He stumbled and backtracked and made conflicting statements.

Even some of the Dems expressed concern.

Then again, all this makes him a perfect Obama appointee in a Cabinet and WH filled with mediocre players, none of which will shine brightly enough to challenge the master's ego.

Rich, I agree his performance at the hearings was not the best but this started well before the confirmation hearings began. This is another misguided strategy by the GOP. I don't understand what they think they are gaining by going down this path.

I think it's also sad that they can't seem to get straight answers to basic questions from this WH about Benghazi. That's one of the factors holding this up.

Four Americans dead, and we can't find out what the President did or didn't do that night in connection with the attack (seems like nothing at this point). Can't find out why they decieved the public for a week plus with the story about it being reaction to that idiotic video. And can't find out who crafted the whole video story.

The press could care less because it's Obama. So what's left for the opposition party to do? They're using one of the few tools they have. I'd like to know the answers to those and other questions. The families of the dead deserve complete answers, and not more political coverup, don't they? So does the public, though sadly, few seem to care.


Yeah, well, alot of people asked questions about thousands of Americans dying in Iraq and got called traitors for even bringing it up. So it goes, I suppose.

We were at war. Questionable as that certainly was, there was no mystery to what was going on. Nor was there a WH trying to obfuscate the reasons for the deaths. The justification for the war were certainly questionable, but the reason for people's deaths were not being fashioned into some sort of political agenda to rationalize our enemy's actions.

And let's not forget the difference in press response. If the media went after Obama like they did Bush over issues like this, much of R's actions probably wouldn't be needed.

 

____________________
Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 
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