Would someone like to explain this to me either philosophically or politically?
Rand voted against cloture. 13 Republicans, including uber-hawks McCain and Graham, voted for cloture, ending the debate and moving along the question of Hagel’s confirmation. Rand was not one of them. He voted to continue the debate, essentially continuing to hold up the Hagel confirmation. Then he turned around and voted for confirmation. He was one of only 4 Republicans to vote for confirmation.
I think Rand’s initial vote in support of the filibuster was wrongheaded, but I agree with Daniel McCarthy in the second link above that to vote for cloture the second time after voting against it the first time would have been politically silly. It wouldn’t win back the non-interventionists and would hurt him with the hawks he’s courting. But the same goes with voting for Hagel’s confirmation. Once he had cast his die with the anti-Hagel crowd, what did he think was to be gained by voting for the nomination? The hawks will have their ammo against him, but does he really think that the non-intervantionists will be impressed? Or that moderates will give him credit for being thoughtful? McCarthy seems to be suggesting that in the first link, but I doubt his reaction will be the common one.
C Bowen suggested in the post below that Rand got to have his cake and eat it too, but I don’t see it that way. It seems to me that he just managed to piss off everybody to no good effect. Either come out in support of Hagel and vote that way all along. You tick off the hawks but make the non-interventionists happy. Or come out against Hagel and vote that way all along. You tick of the non-interventionists but make the hawks happy. As is, he has made no one happy, and I doubt he gets much credit for being “thoughtful.”
This feels to me like he planned to vote for Hagel’s confirmation all along but the cloture issue came up and he handled that separately. I would really like to know what he was thinking.