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Former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to be Defense Secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 31, 2013. Hagel, 66, is a decorated Vietnam War veteran and a former two-te
Chuck Hagel, the most controversial man on earth. Or something.
Sen. Lindsey Graham might have lost John McCain in his ongoing re-election bid attention-getting stunt to block the nomination of Chuck Hagel, but he's got 14 others. These Republican senators have written to President Obama, demanding Hagel's nomination be withdrawn. From the letter:
It would be unprecedented for a Secretary of Defense to take office without the broad base of bipartisan support and confidence needed to serve effectively in this critical position. Over the last half-century, no Secretary of Defense has been confirmed and taken office with more than three Senators voting against him. Further, in the history of this position, none has ever been confirmed with more than 11 opposing votes. The occupant of this critical office should be someone whose candidacy is neither controversial nor divisive.
Never mind that it's a controversial and divisive nomination only because they have insisted on making it so. The litmus tests they've created for Hagel have ranged from bizarre to downright embarrassing to the GOP. Seriously, "Friends of Hamas"? In a series of tweets, McClatchy reporter Michael Doyle details the bullshit contained in this letter.

It's signed by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), David Vitter (R-LA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Coats (R-IN), Ron Johnson (R-WI.), Jim Risch (R-ID), John Barrasso (R-WY.), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Tim Scott (R-SC). Fourteen senators aligning themselves with Ted Cruz. Good to know, especially would-be 2014 contender Rubio, who should be known from now on as Crubio.

Notably, Alabama's Richard Shelby says he'll vote for Hagel when the Democrats bring the vote back to the floor on Tuesday. John McCain probably will as well, or at least he didn't sign on to this letter. Likewise weasel Orrin Hatch, the sole "present" vote in last week's filibuster, will probably have to vote this time and probably for Hagel.

This letter exemplifies "arbitrary and capricious," as does the continued GOP obstruction of the nomination. It also demonstrates better than anything could why real filibuster reform has to happen, sooner rather than later. It's time for Harry Reid to reconsider.

Please sign our petition urging Harry Reid to re-open the process of filibuster reform in the Senate.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 09:18 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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