So to sum up what appears to be the trajectory of the Hagel confirmation:

* After an endless session today where Senators have had the chance to restate their positions several times, the Armed Services Committee will at some point before it breaks for the State of the Union Address clear Hagel’s nomination for floor action, probably on a party-line vote.

* Ranking Republican Member James Inhofe will place a “hold” on the nomination, which Harry Reid says he will disregard.

* There will then probably have to be a cloture vote to bring the nomination to the floor, which will succeed by at least a couple of votes, unless Inhofe and his friends throw in the towel first.

* The procedural wrangling will probably throw the final vote into next week, giving Republican Senators plenty of more opportunities to display their undying love for Israel and/or their conviction the administration is hiding something of transcendent importance about Benghazi (not that there could be something unimportant on this subject!).

So in other words, you can probably tune out the whole thing without missing much other than Lindsey Graham’s transparent calculations on exactly how much pandering to conservative activists he must do to avoid a 2014 primary.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.