Chuck Hagel: The “John McCain” of 2008?

Chuck Hagel: The “John McCain” of 2008?


It looks like the list of 2008 Presidential wannabees is getting longer.

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.

PS: You can find out more on a “draft Hagel” movement by going here and here.

Previous articleHama Complex
Next articleThe meaning of race
  • Rich Horton

    The only “Draft Hagel” movement many Republicans support would send him to the front lines in Iraq. You cannot do anything if half of your own party loathes you.

    Hagel is nothing more than the Republican’s Lieberman.

  • mw

    Republicans better hope that Chuck Hagel runs for president and gets some traction in the party. As you point out, it is going to be tough road. The Republican right is now so out of step with the majority of Americans over the War in Iraq, that I cannot see how Republicans can nominate an electable candidate. Fortunately this ragged right is becoming marginalized (although over-represented in the blogosphere)and is now a small minority of the Republican party and and even smaller minority of American opinion overall.

    Chuck is prominently featured in my most recent YouTube effort “It’s the war, stupid.” and recent blog post of the same name.

    Chuck Hagel is a rock solid conservative in the Goldwater tradition. He is more conservative than McCain, Giuliani, Romney, and certainly more conservative than Bush. He has been on the right side of this war since 2002 and that makes him the only electable Republican in the field. It’ll be too bad if he can’t make it through the gauntlet of Republicans who have redefined being a Republican with a single litmus test of blind support of the President’s policies on Iraq. You don’t have to be a fiscal conservative to get their support. You don’t have to be a social conservative to get their support. You just have to put on your blinders and march lockstep on a flawed war strategy. If Republicans like these carry the day, it will be the end of the Republican Party as a relevant political force for a generation

  • number2

    How exactly is Hagel a “maverick”? His only non-Bush stance has been the war in Iraq, otherwise, he is a faithful follower of any Bush initiative. His voting record is proof positive.

  • Charlie

    As number2 points out, Hagel is clearly a Republican. He actually voted against some of the President’s policies that were unpopular with Republicans (the expensive drug benefit bill and No Chlid Left Behind) but on the whole fits right in with the Republican party. Members of the GOP should take a good look at Senator Hagel as an option for 2008.

  • Thinking_Republican

    Chuck Hagel is a rank opportunist who waited to see which way the wind was blowing; then, beat into that wind.

    John McCain may very well be wrong on the direction of the war. But he was consistent, going back YEARS. Hagel comes late to the party and starts touting his Vietnam experience as though he was the only one of the 300,000 that was there.

    Somebody above said he’s “The Republican Lieberman”. No; he’s not. He’s the Republican Kerry.

  • Smith

    McCain and Hagel’s way to prove they are centrist is to always oppose Republicans. I can’t think of a time that McCain ever pounded the table for a Republican cause. But, how many front page stories do I see about him single-handedly saving the republic from Republicans. Same with Hagel. They both need attention, and the only way they can get it is by going against Republicans. Someone like McCain or Hagel could make a lot of noise now by standing WITH Republicans.

    Good luck with your McCain and Hagel wishes.

  • BenG

    It doesn’t surprise me to hear Sen. Hagel has made enemies wth the rank n file Right, although I can’t imagine why someone in the party can’t speak their mind without being chastised, but this is how it’s been with the group in power. You’re either with them or against them. Criticism will get your name on the top 10 ‘Axis of Evil’ list.
    Well folks, this is no way to treat your friends – or your enemies! But I guess we all have to learning the hard way with this group of ‘conservatives’.
    As for Sen. Hagel, I was impressed with the content of what he had to say, going back to the Meet the Press panel he was recently on, and I liked his character, not because he was anti-Bush plan, but cause he spoke firmly and coherently against cliches like; ‘for the sake of our grandchildren we cannot run from our responsobilities in Iraq’. I suggest reading the transcript if you missed it.

  • BenG

    Sorry, I lost the comment when I went looking for the link. After reading it again, I’m remembering something my wife said after hearing about how impressive Newt Gingrich was, also on Meet the Press; “Is he running for president?” she asked,” everyone sounds wonderful when they announce that!” Yea, I suppose they do.
    Here’s the link for anyone interested:

  • michael edelman

    In light of the recent support given to the president’s surge policy
    it appears that both McCain and Giuliani have fallen behind Hillary
    in national polling…and that is a pretty clear sign that a majority
    of voters want a change in US policy in Iraq..not a continuation
    of the present policy, not a surge, not an escalation, and not
    a president who has defied his generals, his former chief
    of national security, the baker report, and the congress..If
    the Republican Party nominates a pro-war, hawk they will
    not win…so chuck hagel may be the only alternative if
    the republicans want to hold the executive branch. Remember
    those voters that will determine this next presidential election
    are not the base of either party but the moderates in both parties
    and most importantly the Independent or non-party affiated voters
    and they will not countinence a pro-escalation president going
    Michael Edelman is a Republican political commentator based
    in Westchester County New York