Non-Senator Rick Santorum Will Try to Stop Chuck Hagel

The Atlantic
Non-Senator Rick Santorum Will Try to Stop Chuck Hagel
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Non-Senator Rick Santorum Will Try to Stop Chuck Hagel

Former presidential candidate and former Senator Rick Santorum is launching an all-out drive to deny his former colleague Chuck Hagel a new job as Secretary of Defense, despite not having any actual power to do so. Santorum, who has not been a sitting member of Congress for six years now, is opposed to the Hagel nomination and will lead a lobbying effort to try and get his appointment rejected. Patriot Voices, a registered lobbying group that has supported Santorum in the past, will be running online ads promoting the idea of voting against Hagel.

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If he were still a Senator—which he was at the same time as Hagel for 10 years, before losing his seat by 18 points—Santorum would have more power to single-handedly hold up the nomination. As it is, he's merely a private citizen who can write the occasional op-ed and maybe call on some rich friends to make some donations. Santorum took some credit for defeating the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last month, though it isn't clear how much influence he actually had over the Senators who turned their back on Bob Dole to vote against the treaty. Stopping a presidential appointment is another matter, though, especially since he won't even get to ask Hagel questions at a confirmation hearing. But the moral of the story is that primary defeat, or no primary defeat, Santorum is bound and determined to remain a part of the conservative political conversation for the foreseeable future.

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