The Senate is embroiled in another dog fight this week. For the first time in American history, it appears we will have a filibuster of a Presidential nominee for Secretary of Defense.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the nomination of Chuck Hagel this Friday. Democrats are claiming to have enough votes to confirm Hagel, but Republicans are planning to block the vote with a filibuster. The filibuster is being led by Republican Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma and is supported by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina along with other Republican senators.
Republicans have raised serious national security concerns about Hagel, including questions about his financial support from radical foreign groups plus comments Hagel made regarding Israel, Iran, Iraq, and nuclear weapons. However, according to Evangelist Pat Robertson, no one in the Senate has raised any of the most important questions yet. He claims they are all missing the biggest problems with the Hagel nomination.
On Wednesday’s broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson said:
“The thing that they are not talking about though is that this is the guy who has to approve multi-million dollar defense contracts, such as the design of an F-35 fighter, the design of an aircraft carrier, the deployment of huge flotillas of ships into various oceans. I mean it is an incredibly complex job, and he does not have the experience for it! All they talk about is what speech did he make about Israel. Well, big deal! How can he run this monstrous agency and do it efficiently? Nobody, and I mean nobody up there is talking about the most important qualifications. How can he, with no experience, run one of the biggest corporations in the world? The answer is they don’t know, and he probably can’t do it. You don’t learn on the job in a troubled world like we have.”
Those comments were a continuation of similar questions Robertson raised on Tuesday’s broadcast of The 700 Club, when he said:
“…but nevertheless, Hagel is not qualified. Not only by his views, but we are going into an extraordinarily dangerous period in our world. We have two rogue states that are almost in the possession of nuclear devices. We have hot spots in Afghanistan and Syria and Latin America. There are problems all over the world. What is this man going to do? He does not have the training or the experience to run a major organization. I just ask you what major corporation in America would vote a CEO in with no business experience? Who would do it? Well, you say, ‘Nobody would do it. It would be crazy.’ Well, we are getting ready to do it in the United States of America and it is crazy.”
With 52 years of experience running the Christian Broadcasting Network, which is a worldwide television network, plus a large university, and a host of worldwide outreach ministries, Robertson understands the importance of the role of the top executive for any organization. His questions seem fundamental and obvious to anyone who has executive experience. Amazingly though, it is not so obvious to anyone in the United States Senate where so far no one has raised any of these concerns. So here they are considering a man for one of the most powerful positions in the world and yet no one has inquired about the most important question of all, is this man qualified for the job?
It appears our political leaders are all thinking like politicians. What a shocker! The only concerns they have raised so far are political concerns, the very same issues they themselves deal with everyday. They have focused entirely on Hagel’s positions on political issues, and about his financial support. This is the world our senators live in, but the position Hagel has been nominated for requires much more than political skills. It requires very high levels of executive and military experience. If the Senate would assess Hagel’s nomination on the basis of his qualifications they would have to reject him because he does not have the level of experience necessary to run our national defense.
Anyone can take positions on political issues and might even take positions the Senate would agree with, but that does not mean they are qualified to be the Secretary of Defense.
As frightening as it is to think President Obama would nominate someone as unqualified as Hagel, it is even more frightening to think no one in the Senate is even asking the right questions. We have come to expect that level of incompetence from President Obama because he was also unqualified for his job. However, we depend on our system of checks and balances to offset the weaknesses of one branch with the strengths of another. So it is disturbing to see the Senate failing us here.
Robertson predicted Hagel would eventually get confirmed by the Senate, saying:
“I think he is going to get confirmed but it makes you sick at your stomach. The Democrats did not hesitate to knock down some of the appointments that George Bush made. You might say, “Well the president has the privilege of putting in the people he wants.” That is true but at the same time there is the advice and consent of the Senate. We are acting like that does not apply if the Republicans have some voice.”
Still reeling over the lack of cooperation they received from the Obama administration regarding the leadership failures in the Benghazi incident, Republicans are now even more frustrated because their requests for more financial information from Hagel were blocked earlier this week in the Senate Armed Services Committee by the chairman of the committee, Carl Levin. The committee narrowly approved the nomination by a 14-11 vote, which was strictly along party lines and sent the nomination to a vote by the full Senate. So now Hagel is one step closer to becoming the next Secretary of Defense.
The Democrats must get five Republicans to break ranks and join the 55 Democrats voting to confirm Hagel. Otherwise, Hagel’s nomination could be blocked. However, if the filibuster is broken then Democrats only need 51 votes to secure the confirmation.
We still have one day left to influence this very close vote so there is still time to let your voice be heard. Contact your Senator and tell them to vote NO this Friday. Our leaders always need our prayers but especially this week we should pray that they would do the right thing here, which would be to stop Hagel from getting nominated.
Nobody likes gridlock in Washington DC, but sometimes it beats the alternative.
Author: James Bailey
James Bailey is an author, business owner, husband and father of two children. His vision is to broadcast the good news of Jesus Christ through blog sites and other media outlets.
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