The title of the story in yesterday’s Washington Times reads, “Chuck Hagel makes history as first to be blocked from Defense.” Well, not so fast.
The Washington Post archives report:
U.S. Senate confirmation of a president’s Cabinet nomination of a former U.S. senator is usually pro forma. But the treatment of George Bush’s pick for secretary of defense, ex-Texas senator John Tower, was anything but standard.
After five grueling weeks of testimony, debate, and rumor-mongering, Tower’s nomination was defeated in March 1989 by a mostly party-line vote. Accusations of extensive womanizing and heavy drinking filled the airwaves and newspapers, supplementing more traditional charges of conflict-of-interest in Tower’s previous work for defense contractors.
Many media organizations unquestionably let their standards slip, with unproven allegations receiving equal weight with legitimate commentary. By the time of the final Senate vote, Tower felt compelled to make a humiliating public pledge on national television to abstain from drinking if confirmed, on pain of resignation if he broke his promise. (the italics are mine)
There is definitely a double standard here. The charges against Tower were a mixture of proven and unproven. The filibuster of Senator Hagel is the result of his refusal to release financial records and transcripts of his speeches, combined with a desire of the Senate to find out the truth about Benghazi.
The article at the Washington Times reports:
GOP senators said they are delaying the confirmation in order to have more time to study Mr. Hagel’s record and to obtain more information on the White House’s handling of the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a matter on which they accuse the administration of stonewalling or providing wrong information. Republicans expect they will green-light him later this month after the chamber returns from a weeklong vacation.
It is generally thought that Senator Hagel will be confirmed. Considering some of his speeches, some of his financial backers, and some of his comments on various aspects of the war on terrorism, that is unfortunate.
We do need to remember, however, that Senator Hagel is not the first Presidential appointee to have a bumpy road to confirmation or not to be confirmed. The press needs a history lesson.
For more information on some of the antics of the media regarding the Senator Hagel nomination, see this Washington Free Beacon article posted today.