The New York Times, in an Editorial published on February 11, 2013, wrote the following:
Mr. (Lindsey) Graham is being even more petulant. With his eye clearly on his Republican primary next year, he said on Sunday that he would block the nomination of Mr. Hagel (and of John Brennan to run the C.I.A.) until he finds out whether Mr. Obama called the Libyan government last September during the takeover of the American consulate in Benghazi. This is a continuation of his party’s fantasy of a direct connection between the president and the deaths of four Americans. Most Republicans gave up on this nonsense after Mr. Obama’s re-election, when it was no longer useful to them, but Mr. Graham is proving to be the ultimate dead-ender.
This kind of posturing is exactly why holds and filibusters against nominees have to end. Any senator is free to cast a vote for or against a nominee but should not be able to prevent others from doing so.
“Editorial: For Two Senators, Petty Politics Comes First,” New York Times, February 11, 2013.
The New York Times is admittedly expressing an opinion. However, at a time in which the country desperately needs to move in the direction of a bi-partisan foreign policy, the Times serves this interest poorly in characterizing Senator Graham’s stated desire to ascertain the degree of President Obama’s involvement in decision-making the night of the Benghazi attacks as “petulant” and purely political in nature (“with his eyes on the Republican primary next year”). The Republican attempt to get to the bottom of President Obama’s involvement in the Benghazi affair is dismissed as “fantasy” and “nonsense”.
Finally, The Times closes with an ad hominem attack, calling Graham “the ultimate dead-ender”.
One may disagree witih Senator Graham, who has consistently been one of the few members of the Senate determined to get to the bottom of the Benghazi affair and the President’s involvement in the decisions that were made on the evening of September 11, 2012, without impugning the Senator’s patriotism or his motives.
This language is just the kind of “bulldozer” rhetoric we have been hearing from the Obama narrative management team. It is unfortunate enough to hear it from that quarter, but even more distressing to hear The Times express its opinion in such harshly partisan tones, calling a distinguished (and moderate) Republican Senator a “dead-ender”.
Moreover, these nominations to key foreign policy posts deserve to be carefully examined, particularly in view of President Obama’s large failures and lack of any signifiant foreign policy successes during his first term. Given the President’s manifest lack of interest in foreign policy–aside from drone strikes–the Hagel and Brennan nominations and potential confirmations may have a huge impact on the future foreign policy of the United States.
There should be room for a robust and healthy debate, and a deliberate process for approval of these nominees. With Democrats falling down rather spectacularly in the conduct of oversight over the foreign policy of the Obama administration, these nominations represent some of the few opportunities the Republicans have to be heard. Whether you agree or disagree with them, they should be heard.
The prospects for developing a bi-partisan foreign policy in the United States will be zero so long as the Democrats, and The Times, engage in this low form of debate. For the Times, it is simply shameful that their editorial page has stooped to this level.
The Trenchant Observer