As we noted yesterday, Republicans are officially slow-walking Chuck Hagel’s confirmation — they filibustered him yesterday but have publicly pledged to end that filibuster in about 10 days, after the Senate returns from recess.
In all likelihood, that means he’ll be confirmed the Tuesday or Wednesday after next. But every day of delay is a day during which some genuine issue might arise and derail his nomination. I don’t think that’s going to happen — if the oppo scavengers haven’t found a bombshell at this point, they’re probably not going to — but it’s something to watch for.
More likely the delay will touch off another race to the bottom among the usual suspects in conservative media who have spent the last several weeks trying to best each other with thinly sourced Hagel scoops that inevitably fizzle. Last week they brought us Hagel’s ties to the seemingly non-existent front group “Friends of Hamas” (sister organization of the equally cleverly named “Friends of Al Qaeda”?).
I really hope they keep themselves busy cooking up equally damning exclusives next week with Congress out of session.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.