The Many Chuck Hagel Vote Positions of John McCain

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 15 2013 9:22 AM

The Many Chuck Hagel Vote Positions of John McCain

161707116
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) talks with reporters before heading into the Senate chamber to vote against cloture on the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to be the next Secretary of Defense on February 14, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats are bristling over what Sen. John McCain told Fox News yesterday, most of which he also thought important enough to say on the floor of the Senate.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

To be honest with you, Neil [Cavuto], it goes back to there's a lot of ill will towards Sen. Hagel because when he was a Republican [sic], he attacked President Bush mercilessly and say 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, people don't forget that.

My "sic" is there because Hagel is still a Republican, but the whole graf is kind of a "sic." McCain, who has an outsized role in the media, was all over the damn place during the Hagel drama.

Advertisement

On January 31, Washingtonians trained their cold eyes on McCain as the guy who could make or break the nomination in hearings. McCain battered Hagel over his opposition to the surge—"Were you wrong? Yes or no? Yes or no?"—but that was pretty orthogonal to the issues that actually damaged Hagel.

On February 4, McCain defiantly told Politico that he would oppose a filibuster on Hagel. This kicked off a wave of well-informed speculation that Hagel basically had the votes to get through.

On February 6, McCain added his name to a letter, circulated by Sen. Ted Cruz, asking for the Armed Services Committee to hold off on a Hagel vote until the nominee delivered more speeches and financial records from 2008 onward.

Then, on February 10, McCain told Fox News that "we've never filibustered a Cabinet nominee and I don't think we should start here." Which made it sound like his vote would move Hagel through.

And then, this week, McCain started saying that he, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte needed more answers on Benghazi—a detailed account of the president's actions that night—before they could back Hagel. Which is where he ended up, right before going on TV and suggesting that Republicans didn't like Hagel and voted accordingly. Washington expected McCain's vote to be pivotal, but the Hagel fight was the moment that Sen. Ted Cruz took over as the leader of the intellectual opposition.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Natasha Lyonne Is Coming to the Live Culture Gabfest. Are You?

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
Behold
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Honcho Says Celebs Who Keep Nude Photos in the Cloud Are “Stupid”
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 9:19 AM Alibaba’s Founder on Why His Company Is Killing It in China
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 2 2014 10:42 AM The Hanging Coffins of Sagada
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 10:36 AM How Bad Will Adam Sandler’s Netflix Movies Be?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 2 2014 9:49 AM In Medicine We Trust Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?