“Great American” Sean Hannity couldn’t have been more delighted to see the Department of Defense go without a new Secretary as the result of his beloved Republicans blocking a vote on the confirmation of Chuck Hagel. “It’s the first time a filibuster of a cabinet nominee has been used,” he crowed. “Needless to say this marks a major win for the GOP and a pretty embarrassing defeat for the president.”
Well, it’s good to know Hannity isn’t ashamed to admit his priorities. He explained that this “victory” was secured so that the Senate can get “answers from Hagel and the White House about what, exactly, President Obama was doing the night of the Benghazi terror attack.”
Does he think we'll find out Obama was with Monica Lewinsky that night? That they’ll find a memo or a phone call revealing that he was smooching with Michelle and told an aide “The heck with Libya. It’s date night?” Or maybe giggling on the phone with Rev. Wright about how fitting it is that America’s chickens were coming home to roost in Africa?
Whatever it might be, you might notice that nobody – not Hannity, not his partner-in-Watergating guest Jay Sekulow nor any of the Republicans in the clip that airs – calls Hagel unqualified. Their criticism amounts to not liking Hagel’s views. They complain he wants to open a consulate in Tehran and they don’t think he did a good job in his confirmation hearings. Plus, there are those “Jewish lobby” comments which Hagel has since apologized for. To my knowledge, by the way, Hannity has not apologized for his own associations with anti-Semites.
Yet despite Hannity’s new-found sensitivity to Jewish feelings, I don’t see any groundswell of Jewish opposition to Hagel. In fact, Sekulow, noting that the delay on the confirmation vote was to look at some old Hagel speeches, said, “A week is a lifetime.” Meaning, Republicans are on a fishing expedition.
But surprise! During George W. Bush's presidency, Hannity sang a very different tune when Democrats were skeptical of Condoleezza Rice’s nomination in the wake of her role in the Iraq War. Eric Boehlert, over at Media Matters wrote:
Unlike Hagel (a critic of the Iraq War), Rice was easily confirmed by the Senate committee overseeing her selection, and was then given a full vote in the senate, which approved her 85-13.
...Back during the winter of 2005, Sean Hannity was furious Democrats refused to vote on the Rice confirmation in time for Bush’s second Inauguration Day. This was viewed as the ultimate partisan insult. (By contrast, Obama was inaugurated more than three weeks ago, Hagel’s confirmation vote still hasn’t taken place, and Republicans seek to delay it further.)
On January 19, 2005, when an agitated Hannity asked Newt Gingrich about the Democrats' handling of the secretary of state nomination, the Fox News contributor denounced it as "petty and mean spirited and obstructionist."
Invade a country under false pretenses? No reason to hold a nomination for a minute! But a military veteran pushing for diplomacy with Iran instead of another war? Those are fightin’ words for Armchair General Hannity!
Which then leads to the question of why they were obstructing the nomination in the first place. Was it really so they could see a piece of paper on which the Obama Admin said that Hillary Clinton spoke to the Libyan President during the attack and that Obama called him the next day? Was it really because they had genuine issues with the nominee? Or was it so they could throw another tantrum and stomp their feet rather than doing their jobs?
Hannity’s careful editing of Hagel’s appearance last month wasn’t enough to remove the clear signs that the GOP senators were on personal vendettas against either Hagel or Obama, or both. Nothing substantive has been raised in their objections – it’s all been petty snipping, particularly the shameful display made by McCain. (Of course, the last time we saw McCain’s temper flare up, he barked at Hannity on air…)