Senate Republicans were able to successfully filibuster Chuck Hagel's Secretary of Defense nomination, albeit by a one vote margin, raising the stakes in what has become a blockbuster Capitol Hill fight over President Obama's unpopular choice to replace Leon Panetta.
The cloture vote, which would have ended debate and brought the nomination to a up or down vote on the floor, went down by a single vote: as every Democrat in the chamber voted yes; all but four Republicans voted no and Senator Orrin Hatch voted "present", leaving either side without a clear super majority either for or against.
Meaning... We will have to redo this entire vote within the next couple of weeks, and see whether Hagel's nomination can attract one more Republican defection, such as Hatch, or whether it will remain one single vote shy of essentially confirmation, although this is purely procedural.
As an opponent of Hagel's nomination, I am pleased by the filibuster, as it sends a clear message to the President that our representatives are not going to rubber stamp his second term's cabinet or policies. It should also warn him that maybe he should select a bipartisan figure to lead our defense apparatus, for I imagine he doesn't want his administration's second term repeating Bush's ineffectiveness at appointments.
Hopefully, we can kill Hagel's nomination next time and have a real candidate for Defense Secretary submitted to the Senate, but I guess only time will tell.
What say you?
P.S. - The four Republicans voting for Hagel were Collins, Cochran, Johanns and Murkowski.
P.P.S - The vote reads 58-40 because Majority Leader Reid had to vote against the nomination in order to bring it back up for a vote at a later time.