Republicans have more or less shut down various agencies simply by refusing
to approve a nominee to head the agency. Case in point: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was hog tied because it couldn't issue regulations for months as the Elizabeth Warren nomination was frozen.
So what happens if the Republicans refuse to approve Hagel for Defense?
Dems should make sure to fight tooth and nail for a filibuster-proof Senate in 2014 if for no other reason that to end the legislative and advisory "constipation" that the Republicans have inflicted upon us since 2009. The Senate is supposed to be a more *deliberative* body than the House, which is fine, but it's not supposed to be reduced to total inaction by one party or the other.
Memo to GOP: Refusing to help solve problems isn't leadership, obstructionism isn't governance, and wanting your President to fail isn't patriotism.