Chris Cillizza made the case yesterday that Chuck Hagel's meeting with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) amounted to a "make-or-break moment for the Nebraska Republican's chances at leading the Pentagon in President Obama's second term." Cillizza added, "[M]ake no mistake: Chuck Schumer is the decider on the fate of Chuck Hagel's nomination."
Politico added, "As Chuck Schumer goes, so goes Chuck Hagel."
Reasonable people can argue about how much of this was Kabuki theater and how much was sincere, but either way, it would appear Hagel's nomination is in very good shape as of this afternoon.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is seen as a key to Chuck Hagel's becoming Defense secretary, is throwing his support behind the former Nebraska Republican senator -- despite past controversial statements on Israel, Iran, and the "Jewish lobby."
"Based on several key assurances provided by Senator Hagel, I am currently prepared to vote for his confirmation," Schumer said in a statement. "I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him." [...]
With Schumer's support, Hagel is seen as a likely shoo-in to win confirmation.
And what about Hagel's views on social issues, which Rachel explored in detail last week? There's news on that front, too.
In fact, Hagel alleviated concerns raised by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), enough to earn her support.
The former Nebraska GOP senator ... told Boxer he "fully" supports the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law that prohibited the service of openly gay individuals in the military.
After being queried by Boxer -- a staunch advocate of abortion rights -- Hagel said in the letter he would ensure female service members are given the same reproductive rights as civilians.
Boxer, who had withheld her support, said Monday night she now backs the nominee after her extensive phone conversations and his detailed letter.
Barring a Republican filibuster -- in fact, even if there is a Republican filibuster -- it appears Hagel's odds of confirmation are excellent.