Rich Galen

CNN's Dana Bash filed a piece saying:

"One senator who is undecided but was not at the Armed Services Committee hearing says it is 'all the talk - I mean all the talk.' Fellow senators are 'shocked' by how ill prepared Hagel seemed for basic questions about controversial comments he has made, this senator said.

It is possible that Hagel was lulled into a false sense of comfort testifying before many of his old Senate buddies on the heels of the love-in that greeted Kerry a week earlier.

It is no secret that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) doesn't like Hagel, and I would be very surprised if, in his rehearsals for yesterday's appearance, the staffer playing Sen. McCain didn't bombard Hagel in the same rude tone the real McCain used yesterday.

But that wasn't enough. Hagel didn't have very good answers to what appear to be reversals in position on issue after issue.

At one point he said he supports the Administration's concept of "containment" when it comes to Iran getting nuclear weapons.

That is most assuredly not the Administration's position on Iran's nukes. The position is denying Iran nuclear weapons, not containing them once Iran has them.

According to numerous sources a staffer passed Hagel a note after which, having read it, Hagel said:

"I misspoke and said I supported the president's position on containment. If I said that, I meant to say we don't have a position on containment."

But, as the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), pointed out,

"We do have a position on containment, and that is we do not favor containment. I just wanted to clarify the clarify."

The current Senate split is 55 Ds and 45 Rs so Hagel will probably be approved on a straight up-or-down vote.

Sara Murray and Julian E. Barnes wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

An outright filibuster of a cabinet nominee would be unprecedented. Senate records reflect no instance of a filibuster being used to block a cabinet nominee, although nine have been defeated outright, without filibusters, and another 12 were withdrawn, sometimes in the face of a filibuster threat.

With all that, I hope President Obama withdraws the Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense. If yesterday was any test, he is simply not up to the job.

Also a Mullfoto showing a lot of unused bicycles in downtown DC.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at