By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Constitution gives the President the power to appoint his own cabinet; but those appointments must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. President Barack H. Obama appointed former Senator Chuck Hagel (R) from Nebraska to be his next Secretary of Defense.
Despite his being a Republican, Republicans were not pleased with the appointment. Hagel had opposed the Iraq war, has been critical of Israel, and even has spoken to pro-Arab rallies about his dissatisfaction with Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people and the American special relationship with Israel.
The American people gave the Democratic party a larger majority in the November 2012 election; but the Democrats still needed some Republican votes to override a Republican filibuster.
On Tuesday, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (R) voted for President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. Shelby was one of only four Republicans to vote in favor of the appointee.
Alabama’s other Senator, Jeff Sessions (R) joined 40 other Republican Senators who voted no, all of them Republicans. The four Republican Senators voting in favor of Hagel were: Thad Cochran from Mississippi, Mike Johanns from Nebraska, Rand Paul from Kentucky and Shelby.
Conservative activists were disappointed by Shelby’s vote.
The conservative group, Alabama Legislative Watchdogs wrote on Facebook, “SHAME – SHAME!! The time to stand for Conservative values was during the cloture vote. Why should we fight the Progressives and Libs when we have Republicans that continually cut our legs out from under us?!”
Some political pundits speculate that Shelby may have been seeking to curry favor with the new Defense Secretary and the Obama administration since Friday’s sequestration cuts are likely to heavily impact Alabama’s defense industries and military facilities.
Senator Richard Shelby was elected to the U.S. Senate after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate.