Let’s agree: Chuck Hagel fell short in his confirmation hearing for secretary of defense. It also is true the former Nebraska senator has the qualifications for the position. Even his fellow Republican, John McCain, said as much, albeit long before they disagreed on the “surge” in Iraq.
Yet Hagel sits now in advise-and-consent limbo, Republican senators choosing to filibuster his nomination, arguing they would like a week or so to see whether they can discover something that would wreck his nomination.
Make no mistake, a new threshold in the mounting gridlock has been crossed. No Cabinet nomination has been blocked in this way. Want to bet it won’t be last? Democrats now have an invitation to do the same to the next Republican president.