The Fire This Time

The situation with the Hagel nomination is pretty murky at the moment. A filibuster is underway, and Harry Reid has (a) scheduled a cloture vote for tomorrow morning and (b) admitted he doesn’t have the 60 votes for cloture just yet. A lot of what happens seems to be in the hands of John McCain, who has flip-flopped on the appropriateness of a filibuster a couple of times in the last couple of days. The last indication was that he was “satisfied” with the Benghazi information the White House had supplied (his little friend Lindsey Graham’s little red wagon) but was still working on Ted Cruz’ demands for more info on Hagel’s speech income.

Meanwhile, anti-Hagel gabbers are throwing as much fresh chum into the water as they possibly can, including claims that Hagel has ties to apparently imaginary group called Friends of Hamas.

I don’t know how this will turn out, but I’m with Greg Sargent: if these bozos go where they seem to be headed, it is time for Harry Reid to revive the specter of actual filibuster reform, not the token measures taken in his agreement with Mitch McConnell. Some think Reid foreclosed the “constitutional option” for unilateral filibuster reform agreement until next year or perhaps 2015. But he needs to pick up the threat for real, shake it at Senate Republicans, and mean it.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.