An Independent bid?

January 25, 2007


UPDATE: Jan 28th– see below

C-Span interviewed Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) this past weekend on Newsmakers and Hagel did not hide from the idea that he could run as an Independent.

What does it do if he enters as an “I”? Will there be a Perot-effect?

Sticking by his anti-war stance, he made some strong statements today against the Bush Iraq plan at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

We better be damn sure we know what we’re doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder.

It seems that Hagel has been planning this for an extended period of time positioning himself for an Independent bid for the White House.


Excellent piece today in Newsweek on Hagel and the possibility of him running in ’08. He clearly dismisses the idea of running as an independent:

Hagel’s speech at the Foreign Relations Committee last week earned him new fans on the left, some of whom are hoping he’ll run for the White House as an independent—a notion he dismisses as ludicrous. He chafes when it’s suggested he could run as an “antiwar candidate,” and thinks he’s earned the right to define himself. “I’ve always said you’d better listen to the guys who’ve had the experience of having to actually carry the rifle,” he says, “and see the tragedy of war … Down in the mud, having to face the fact his buddy’s brains are next to him because his head’s been shot off.” Hagel speaks these words with sadness. He walks the halls of the Senate with a gray melancholy that makes some who know him wonder if he has the fight in him for a long-shot presidential run. But Hagel is an old soldier who has fought without question before. The wound on his face was born in a flash of fire.

One other quote, which I think embodies why a lot of us on the progressive side of the aisle would like to see Hagel run:

That intensity was on display last Wednesday as he sat and stewed at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The panel was considering a resolution condemning President Bush’s proposal to send 21,000 additional troops to Iraq; Hagel, a cosponsor of the resolution, would be the only Republican on the committee to vote for its passage. As he listened to his colleagues make their cases for and against the president’s plan, Hagel told NEWSWEEK he noticed something missing: an acknowledgment that the Senate was talking about committing real troops, the men and women whose “fighting and dying” make a war. He had no prepared text but the words came easily as he took his turn at the mike. Calling Iraq the country’s most divisive issue since Vietnam, he dared his fellow committee members to take a stand. “I think all 100 senators ought to be on the line on this,” he said. “If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes.” For a moment, his colleagues were silent and stunned. Later that afternoon, Joe Biden, the committee’s Democratic chairman, complimented him on his performance. “I’ve rarely seen such a powerful connection between the heart and the mind,” Biden said. “That was deep in you.”


A progressive campaign from the right? Nope, just Republican values (again)

January 13, 2007

What if this guy is in the race?
Chuck Hagel
Many people, some on this blog, probably believe that Chuck Hagel (R-NE) could not get out of the primary. But I’m not so sure.

But lets change the scenario a little. What if the McCain Doctrine shows increased casualties to such a degree that his electability is vertually zero (see The war within Sen. McCain for a discussion from McCain on how his push for the escalation could end his presidential candidacy)? What if as primary season goes on, as suggested by anoodle here and discussed in his stolen playbook, Giuliani suffers significantly from his moderate views on social issues? What if Romney cannot make people understand the Mormon religion? What if Brownback is seen in the same light as HRC by the left as unelectable?

If I’m Chuck Hagel, I’m considering a strong run for President. This Newsweek article suggests that the one reason why Hagel will not get out of the primary is because of the nature of the Republican party in rewarding the guy whose turn it is next. But as the article suggests, with the available candidates and an unpopular war, the Republican party might revert back to its core issues.

This presents a problem for the Dems, in my mind. Hagel is with the Democratic plan of scaled re-deployment and negotiating with Syria and Iran on a diplomatic level. He has supported tax cuts. He has succeeded with small business in Nebraska. He is socially conservative. Where this Republican was effectively ostracized two years ago, he could be the prodigal son come home to keep Republicans in the White House. Or, he could be a distant fourth behind the big three.