After weeks of delay and political grandstanding, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel was finally confirmed as Secretary of Defense by a 58-41 vote in the Senate late Tuesday afternoon. The up or down vote predictably played out along party lines, with only four GOP Senators casting an "aye" vote for Hagel. One of those Republicans was Thad Cochran, R-Miss., who released a statement in praise of his former Senate colleague and put out a tweet that read:" Let's now work with Sen #Hagel, a courageous leader of good character and integrity, to ensure US national security."
With Hagel now confirmed, it begs the question - was the Republicans' anti-Hagel crusade worth it? Aaron Blake in The Washington Post makes an argument for both sides. The general takeaway is that the American public really wasn't very interested in this inside-the-Beltway drama.
Speaking of more pressing inside-the-Beltway drama, the clock continues to tick on the enormous automatic spending cuts slated to take effect at the start of the month. One might think that would spur the big players from each party to be furiously trying to hammer out a deal before sequestration ravages the country's fragile psyche. But this is today's Washington so does it come as any surprise that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner haven't spoken since Thursday?
The Violence Against Women Act appears to be on the path to passage sometime this week, with House Republicans resigned to the fact that their version of the bill is a losing one.
Move over NRA...you have company. New York City Mayor and anti-gun crusader Michael Bloomberg flexed his political and substantial financial muscles helping local Chicago official Robin Kelly, a fellow gun control advocate, win the Democratic primary to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL). Bloomberg spent more than two million dollars attacking NRA-backed candidate Debbie Halvorson, helping Kelly throttle her and over a dozen others for a chance to take the seat in Congress.
Finally, the Supreme Court, in a narrow 5-4 decision Tuesday, rejected a challenge to a 2008 law that expanded the federal government's ability to eavesdrop on international calls and emails.