The Washington Post reports today that Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is mulling plans to form a presidential exploratory committee.
Even though his stock among the GOP base is pretty low, he is thinking of running for the GOP nomination, running for a third Senate term, or taking a “more creative path.”
His profile has risen steadily because of his sharp views on the “surge” in troops to Iraq proposed by President Bush and supported by the purported GOP frontrunner for the White House, John McCain.
While I support a less forceful resolution put forth by the likes of John Warner, I have to say that a Hagel run is appealing. Like McCain, he has been somewhat of a maverick in the GOP and in many ways, a Hagel run might be a repeat of McCain ala 2000.
I have been, with some reservations as of late, a McCain supporter. I like his maverick status. However, the McCain we see today isn’t the McCain of 2000. He got walloped by the Bushies and like a dog that got bopped on the nose, I think he is trying to be careful with the party poohbahs. But the thing is, in being so careful, he loses some of the mystique he had that attracted independents to his cause. I think McCain really wants to change the direction of the party from where it has been going during the Bush years (that is, to hell in a handbasket), but I think he too scarred from 2000 to actually do what needs to be done.
Which is why Hagel is so appealing. Hagel is loyal to Republican principles, but not necessarily to Republican leaders. He has the marverick spirit that made McCain so interesting seven years ago. Maybe a Hagel run could shake up the Republican establishment and ween the party away from Bushism towards something more viable.
I will keep an eye on Hagel. He might be what the GOP and the entire nation, needs.