Individual senators hold an enormous amount of power in Washington, which is exactly the way they like it. But when that power is abused, as two Republicans are now doing in trying to derail the nomination of a defense secretary, it has to be curtailed.
The two senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, say they will place “holds” on President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon. A hold is a kind of minifilibuster, preventing unanimous consent to take up a bill or nomination, and preventing an up-or-down vote. Using this power for showboating, as Mr. Graham and Mr. Inhofe are doing, shows how easy it has become for senators to put petty personal demands ahead of the country’s needs.