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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The GOP’s Hagel circus folds up its bigtop

Steve Benen reports that the Senate ended debate on Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as Secretary of Defense, thus ending the GOP filibuster and all-but ensuring a confirmation that will likely come later today. Looking back at the dust, smoke, and debris, he notes that it’s a little hard to explain what it was all about:

While we wait for Hagel’s now-inevitable confirmation, I’m still not altogether sure what Republicans were thinking when they launched his doomed crusade against Hagel in the first place. Indeed, other than allowing everyone to laugh at Republican media over the “Friends of Hamas” fiasco last week, what was the point of forcing delays?

What did GOP officials hope to accomplish? There were a few fundraising letters, McCain got to appear on a few more Sunday shows, but the strategy never seemed to come together for the right in any kind of coherent way. They saw President Obama nominate a Republican to his cabinet; it drove them batty; they launched a weak smear campaign; and the whole effort collapsed without much effort. Last week, several Republicans, on the verge of defeat, pleaded with the White House to pull Hagel’s nomination anyway, just because.

If there was a point to the GOP’s anti-Hagel campaign, it hid well.

As near as I can tell, the main point was to get Lindsey Graham reelected. By getting all bent out of shape over crazy-assed conspiracy theories and Benghazi posturing, Lindsey was able to prove to the ‘bagger base that he’s just as stupid and gullible as they are. Apparently, that’s what it takes to win a GOP primary in South Carolina these days — you have to be (or at least pretend to be) sufficiently insane and/or moronic. Like a monkey whooping in a monkey cage, Lindsey managed to get all the other monkeys whooping and excited too.

That’s pretty much what I got out of the whole mess — and it’s still not a very good explanation. But the Republican Party is a party gone mad , so looking for rational reasons to explain their fits and tantrums is probably a fool’s errand.

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