As Sen. John Cornyn (R) of Texas theorized later: "The White House and the majority leader were determined to have this vote in order to try to get a story in the newspaper, one that misrepresents the nature of the objection on [the Republican] side."
Indeed, Senator Reid immediately charged those Republicans blocking Hagel's nomination with jeopardizing the nation's security in order to please their base. "Watching Republicans with otherwise distinguished records on national security place their desire to please the tea party ahead of doing the right thing for our troops is one of the saddest spectacles I have witnessed in my 27 years in the Senate," Reid said on the floor Thursday night.
But if Democrats do succeed in, as Senator Cornyn put it, "misrepresent[ing] the nature of the objection," that will also be because Republicans haven't put forward anything close to a unified, coherent argument as to why they're blocking Hagel's nomination.
For some, like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, it isn't about Hagel at all, but an attempt to get more information from the White House on the terror attack in Benghazi. For others, like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, it's about demanding more financial disclosure from Hagel.