I am still working on the State of the Union special-bonus annotated edition, which will take a few more hours. But in the meantime I had to mention a late twist in the ongoing Chuck Hagel saga that is too important to ignore.
As has been evident for some time, Hagel has majority support in the Senate for his confirmation as secretary of defense. As has become increasingly evident these past few days, much of the opposition to Hagel has become a parody of itself. Former Republican Senator and foreign-policy grandee Richard Lugar, himself the victim of a Tea Party challenge, said yesterday that the attack on Hagel was "unfortunate and unfair." Meanwhile the publisher of the Omaha World Herald answered allegations that Hagel (who represented Nebraska) was anti-Semitic with an article headlined, "Impressive Omaha Jewish Support for Chuck Hagel," and Aryeh Azriel, the rabbi at Temple Israel in Omaha, said that accusations that Hagel was anti-Israel were "extremely stupid."
The new development is reported by Josh Rogin on Foreign Policy's The Cable blog, which says that several Republicans intend to filibuster Hagel's nomination -- but are looking for some way to weasel around the word "filibuster." They don't like that word (a) because they have tried to normalize the idea that a 60-vote super-majority threshold, which is the margin required to break a filibuster, should be seen as the routine requirement for Senate action of any sort; (b) because several prominent Republicans, including John McCain, have already said that they don't want to filibuster Hagel; and (c) because in the long history of Cabinet-level nominations, outright filibusters are either unknown or exceedingly rare. You can get all the details on their extreme rarity from the Congressional Research Service.