TAC: Hagel Temporarily Blocked, Paul Permanently DamagedSubmitted by RandWatcher on Fri, 02/15/2013 - 00:23
...The most disappointing vote was Rand Paul’s decision to vote no. It was bad enough that Sen. Paul chose to side with the people who loathe the foreign policy of restraint he was describing last week, but what made it even worse is that a yes vote from Paul would have concluded this drawn-out farce of a confirmation process and allowed the Senate to vote on the nomination itself. Four other Republicans voted for cloture, and none of them had just given a speech outlining an argument for a “more restrained foreign policy.” If any Republican in the Senate should have rejected the extraordinary filibuster of a Cabinet nominee, it ought to have been Paul.
Sen. Paul could have been the deciding vote to clear the way for Hagel’s confirmation, but instead he opted to vote the other way, and the justification he gave may have been the worst of all. If Paul had some irreconcilable disagreement with Hagel on principle or policy, it would have at least made sense to vote as he did. Instead, Paul endorsed one of the worst, least credible anti-Hagel arguments of all, which is essentially the Ted Cruz argument that Hagel needs to “prove” that he is not in league with foreign governments or sympathetic with terrorists. If he ended up voting yes on the nomination, Paul could repair some of the damage with antiwar conservatives and libertarians, and he could make good on his claim to being a realist, but most of the damage will likely be permanent.