Note to Senator Hagel: Don’t Quit the Senate!

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hagel.jpg
Senator Chuck Hagel is on the verge of an announcement that he will reportedly make some time during the next two weeks — perhaps sooner rather than later — in which he will indicate whether he will run for President of the United States and whether he will run again to keep his seat as Senator from Nebraska.
I would like to see him run for President, but sources close to him indicate that that is increasingly unlikely. In my view, his views on how to better manage America’s deteriorating national security portfolio are vital for the country — and whomever runs with the policy template articulated by Chuck Hagel is likely to be the next President of the United States, whether Republican or Democrat.
But if Hagel elects not to run for President, it’s even more important that he remain an active national security and US foreign policy voice in the US Senate. But there too, Hagel is considering calling it a day and ending his tenure.
I think that this would be an enormous loss for the country at exactly the time when Americans need to hear from Members of Congress who will speak candidly and honestly with citizens about what really needs to be done to not only extract ourselves from a worsening situation in the Middle East — but who also has a vision of what we need to do to get America and its foreign policy on a constructive track.
I want Chuck Hagel to run for President. But if he doesn’t, America (and Nebraska) need him to run for the Senate again in 2008. This is really serious — because his voice inside the Republican Party is one of the most important in getting America back on a track of principled American engagement in global affairs that is both ethically inspired and focused clearly on American national interests.
I don’t often encourage readers to get on the phone or send letters, though I did in the John Bolton battle.
But Hagel stepping down would be a colossal loss for those who are trying to organize a recovery strategy to deal with America’s precipitous decline in global military and polical affairs.
Call him or write to him. . .really, please.
Tell him “Don’t Quit the Senate.”
If you feel inclined, tell him to run for President. I used to think Hagel and McCain had a “look” on national security policy that overlapped too much — but not any more. They are in completely different spaces, and Hagel’s vision is one that sensible Americans concerned with our crappy foreign policy condition — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents — could support.
Here is the contact information and page for sending Senator Hagel your comment that he ought not quit the Senate:
Senator Chuck Hagel
U.S. Senate
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-4224
Fax: (202) 224-5213
Here is a page to send him a note directly over the Internet. I just sent mine:
http://hagel.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
Many thanks for taking time to do this.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

67 comments on “Note to Senator Hagel: Don’t Quit the Senate!

  1. jesse sharp says:

    as a concerned resident of the state of nebraska chuck hagel has turned out to be an utter disappointment to say the least,every time i see him on some national show he reminds me how ashamed i am of actually voting for him.i can not possibly see how he could run for president and actually win for various reasons,which brings the next question about his reelection bid as ussenator.this is the part that i like best if he tries to run again as senator of nebraska hagel will be in serious trouble the rest of the country seems to like hagel however it will not be up to them people forget that it will be up to nebraskans not the rest of the country and with an approval rating in nebraska of about 52% hagel will be in huge trouble,maybe he should contact tom daschle former senator of south dakota how to spend all of his free time .good luck and good riddance hagel should have kept your mouth shut.

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  2. LAT says:

    I’d rather vote for Hagel than Edwards. Edwards changes his positions so often that it’s hard to tell where he stands.
    At least with Hagel, one gets the sense that he honestly feels his vote was wrong and he’s not doing it for political expedience.

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  3. Homer says:

    Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) has a bill “to prohibit an escalation in United States military forces in Iraq without prior authorization by Congress” (S. 308). This is co-sponsored by Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy.
    What bill does Hagel have?
    Why is he not co-sponsoring that bill?
    Why is he not sponsoring his own bill?
    In what legislative manner has Hagel actually concretized his oh-so-important vision of what needs to be done in the ME.
    If he’s doing nothing as oceans of blood and treasure are being spilled, I say don’t let the door hit em on the ass on the way over to K Str.

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  4. rich says:

    A voting record so rock-solid he won’t lose any religious conservatives.
    An emerging attention to Constitutional Conservatism.
    Hmmm. Not a bad “right”-“left” strategy…

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  5. David says:

    Let me revise one thing I said, which was entirely too rant radio-ish. I should have said that because Hagel is a conservative Republican, I don’t think he (or any conservative Republican) is suitable. Only because I think he has been driven by either a certain intellectual honesty or else he is aghast at what Bush’s foreign policy has produced, or both, do I think he is the best of the Republican lot and an extremely valuable voice in the Senate. But Smith from Oregon meets the same criteria, and perhaps better than Hagel. The biggest disappointments are the two senators from Maine. I really expected more courage from Olympia Snowe, but then I also expected more Democrats to both understand and embrace what Bob Graham, as chair of the Senate intelligence committee, was saying and how he was voting.
    I would like to see Hagel in the race to force the debate, but unless he carries his understanding of the debacle in Iraq and Bush’s foreign policy disasters in general over to a much better understanding of our domestic policy needs, we as a nation are not going to go where we need to go. The presidency is too powerful for a (hopefully) enlightened congress to get us there without the president’s insightful leadership, especially because of the narrowness of Democratic control of the senate.
    Regarding balance, the Democratic Party actually embraces most of the range of political thinking, so debate and checks-and-balances do exist within the Democratic Party, and unlike what has been the case with the essentially monolithic right wing national Republican Party, we would not lose the broad spectrum of political perspectives if the Democrats controlled both the presidency and the congress.
    I would expect a Democratic president to include people like Chuck Hagel in her or his administration, and not just as window dressing.

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  6. bob h says:

    Ditto Chris Dodd if 2008 doesn’t work out for him. Stay in the Senate beyond 2010.

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  7. K Ols says:

    Hagel is my senator so I write him often and have called his office a few times. Believe me, he is a real conservative and talks tough, but always votes with his party on everything.
    I do like how he has spoken out against the war and believe he would be good with foreign policy. However, on domestic issues he is always your true blue Bush backing Republican. He may talk a good game, but he doesn’t walk it.
    I like him in the Senate, but would not vote for him for president ever because he takes the hardline on the middle class and favors the wealthy whenever he votes. He is no friend of the middle class by a long shot.
    I prefer centrist candidates who are neither too far left or too far right.
    I would like to see him serve in the executive branch as Secretary of State in either a Republican (not Bush’s) or Democratic administration.
    I think it would be unwise for him to run for president in 2008 because I have doubts that a Republican would win considering the state of the country & the war right now. He’d be better off waiting for the next go round in 2012 if he wants to run for president.
    Are you kidding? Hagel would never switch parties because he is a true Republican and favors what I consider disasterous economic & domestic policy.
    I do admire him for speaking out on issues, particularly on Iraq, but his actions/votes almost always belie his words.
    Sometimes he does sound like the voice of reason, but compared to Bush, Cheney, and people like John Kyl and Jeff Sessions anyone sounds like the voice of reason.
    K O

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  8. David says:

    It is precisely because Chuck Hagel is a conservative Republican that he is unsuited to lead us as president. No conservative Republican is. In fact, no one from the Republican Party should be rewarded with the presidency in ’08. But we really do need Hagel’s voice in the Senate or as a foreign policy member of a Democratic administration. The important contest is the one for the Democratic nomination. Personally, I think Al Gore is strongest on the issues, and best qualified to serve as the next President of the United States. My second choice, because of his open admission that he was wrong to give Bush warmaking authority regarding Iraq, and because he is a solid choice on domestic issues, is John Edwards. But frankly, I’ll take any Democrat besides Joe Lieberman. Hell, I might even take a yellow dog, so long as he was surrounded by the best and brightest Democratic minds. Last yellow dog I remember, a lab, was a hell of a lot wiser and more mentally engaged than the current occupant of the White House.
    If it did have to be a Republican because we have finally reached the point where issues-strong Democrats need not run for president, then Chuck Hagel is the best choice.

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  9. Homer says:

    Carroll: I see Hagel as a counter weight/voice to the delusional neos and the crazies.
    Well, Hagel better start acting real fast…….otherwise get ready to send our sons, daughters, grandsons, grand daughters, great grandsons, great grand daughters, ….
    U.S. plans envision broad attack on Iran: analyst
    Fri Jan 19, 2007 7:49pm ET
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. contingency planning for military action against Iran’s nuclear program goes beyond limited strikes and would effectively unleash a war against the country, a former U.S. intelligence analyst said on Friday.
    “I’ve seen some of the planning … You’re not talking about a surgical strike,” said Wayne White, who was a top Middle East analyst for the State Department’s bureau of intelligence and research until March 2005.
    “You’re talking about a war against Iran” that likely would destabilize the Middle East for years, White told the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington think tank.
    “We’re not talking about just surgical strikes against an array of targets inside Iran. We’re talking about clearing a path to the targets” by taking out much of the Iranian Air Force, Kilo submarines, anti-ship missiles that could target commerce or U.S. warships in the Gulf, and maybe even Iran’s ballistic missile capability, White said.

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  10. bryanwilkins says:

    Carroll–and others. Hagel realizes that the Republican party is up for grabs. He might be available to run for president, but because he has been a doctrinaire Nebraska Republican, following the party line for six years, until now, he realizes that if he is going to make a GO of it, he has to put distance between himeself and BUSH’s policies. He realizes that to appeal to the seventy percent of the American populace who feel that Bush(America)is off course, and be an ATTRACTIVE Republican to independent voters in 2008 who will decide who has the best walk down the runway it is time to get out of Dodge City. Basically, Hagel is a simple man with a good story and realizes that the brass ring can be grabbed. Staying in the Senate will NOT achieve that end.

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  11. kate says:

    Quote Alexander Downer
    “I think it is preposterous that I should be attacked for explaining … that in the last week or so somebody visiting him spoke to him and he seemed to be in good health,” Downer told reporters in New York.
    Well you should be attacked for lying and doing it so blatently.
    Now you are trying to turn your total stuff up back on us for attacking you.
    The truth of this is that this assesment was made by the public affairs officer at the US embassy in Camberra (presumably Scott Weinhold) in a three minute meeting where Hicks refused to speak.
    Mr Downer If this is an acceptable way to assess someones mental health then we all have the right to attack you.
    Posted by: Kate at January 20, 2007 12

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  12. Homer says:

    Carroll: I see Hagel as a counter weight/voice to the delusional neos and the crazies.
    If I may, please state by what exact means has Hagel ***acted*** as a counter weight?
    Do you have a piece of Hagelian legislation in mind ?
    As far as I can see, Hagel has talked a lot BUT he has enabled Bush at each step of the way: Not once has Hagel ever stood up for American, Americans, or the US Constitution by confronting Bush legislatively.
    I have to judge him but what he has done and not how he sounds.
    Back in June 2005, Hagel said “Things aren’t getting better; they’re getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. The reality is we’re losing in Iraq.”
    Ok great.
    But what has has Hagel done about that?
    I do not remember him ever taking up a Murthanian stance.
    Hagel is testing the wind to see if K Str. may be a better option.
    Until he acts in a legislative manner, I say he’s a bum!!

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  13. marky says:

    I doubt the country has time to let Hagel’s unease mature through the stages of extreme anxiety, palpable fear, imminent palpitations and so on, until he finally ACTS, before the Bush administration does something else new and outrageous.
    Do you really think that with less than 2 years left in office Bush doesn’t feel a sense of urgency over whether he can finish dismantling the constitution and home and bring everlasting, nuclear-glass paved peace to the Middle East before his time is up?
    Please. This admnistration has always been ahead of even its most strident critics in the audacity of its actions.
    I don’t know what’s coming, but rather than applauding Hagel for his complaints about the bumpy ride, we need someone to get us off the train.
    Go Edwards!

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  14. Carroll says:

    Just to be exact about Hagel….I think Hagel running for president would be good whether he wins or not. I think he would force the other candidates to address what needs to be addressed in our foreign policy…in other words, Hagel is clear about his views, the others would have to be as clear about their position or try to spin, in which case most people would notice…and we are all tired of spin. If an issue isn’t forced by a candidate in debates I don’t trust our bollywoood press pundits to force it out into the open for the public.

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  15. Carroll says:

    Posted by Homer at January 19, 2007 04:29 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    I see Hagel as a counter weight/voice to the delusional neos and the crazies. So his past record is not perfect, so what, 90% of them aren’t and I just haven’t heard or seen anyone better on our problems in the ME than Hagel and Chaffee and a very few others.
    So right now I am looking for those who will reverse the foreign policy of the US and keep us from doing or suffering any more damage that we already have.
    Forget Iraq, Iraq is lost, new realities to deal with…mainly how to live with a change in power structures and attitudes in the ME….
    And I don’t buy into the Iranian nuke threat to the US, it’s bullshit. Iran is not a threat to the US proper and as far as our ME interest go we can choose to get along with Iran in some fashion or continue digging our own hole. I think like some others that the old days of Uncle Sam as the boss are over for the foreseeable future and we need to unruffle the feathers of some current allies and make some new allies to get our mojo back.

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  16. TuiMel says:

    Sorry, Steve. I like Hagel as far as Republicans go. And, I would not mind if he remained in the Senate, given that the alternative could be another James Inhofe or George Allen or Bill Frist or John Cornyn or Jeff Sessions or you get the picture. That Hagel looks good compared to these guys is damning him with feint praise, IMO. I would vote for Hagel over McCain or Giulliani. But then, I’d vote for McCain over Brownback. This isn’t an all-Republican field.
    Although I agree with Hagel’s position NOW vis a vis Iraq, I don’t particularly admire him for taking that position. It proves he thinks more than GWB or Joe Lieberman. So what? I hope Hagel continues to speak out forcefully about the BushCo blunders in Iraq. We need that. But, I’m not so sure about the rest of his portfolio. So, I’ll not be encouraging Senator Hagel to run for president anytime soon.

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  17. Homer says:

    Carroll: it just shows how complicated things are going to be from here on for the US.
    C’mon, tens of thousands of limbs and lives lost PLUS $500 billion and you want to keep these guys in power?
    If things have become so complicated by the in/actions of Hagel et al, why continue to put them in positions of power?
    If Hagel is so well-suited and prescient, why is the US so screwed in the ME?
    The US lost badly in Iraq. The pro-Iranian Shiite fundamentalist state in Iraq is not what Bush, Cheney, Hagel, et al planned for. Iran is the victor.
    Hagel et al have done NOTHING: He et al should resign in disgrace.
    The New Middle East
    Richard N. Haass
    From Foreign Affairs, November/December 2006
    Summary: The age of U.S. dominance in the Middle East has ended and a new era in the modern history of the region has begun.
    “Iraq Is Not Winnable”
    SPIEGEL INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD HAASS
    The old Middle East — an era which I believe has only recently ended — was one in which the United States enjoyed tremendous dominance and freedom of maneuver. [snip] It’s one of history’s ironies that the first war in Iraq, a war of necessity, marked the beginning of the American era in the Middle East and the second Iraq war, a war of choice, has precipitated its end.
    IRAN’S GROWING POWER IN THE MIDDLE EAST
    The Spider’s Web
    By Georg Mascolo and Bernhard Zand
    More people than ever are dying in Iraq while the United States looks on powerlessly. In the wake of its invasion of Lebanon, Israel is riven with self-doubt, while Europe tries to establish peace. But there is one country that is benefiting from every crisis in the region: Iran.
    The Iranian nightmare
    By Michael Schwartz
    Now, over two years after Baghdad fell and the American occupation of Iraq began, Kagan’s prediction appears to have been fulfilled – in reverse. The chief beneficiary of the occupation and the chaos it produced has not been the Bush administration, but Iran, the most populous and powerful member of the “axis of evil” and the chief American competitor for dominance in the oil-rich region. As diplomatic historian Gabriel Kolko commented, “By destroying a united Iraq under [Saddam] Hussein … the US removed the main barrier to Iran’s eventual triumph.”
    Iran looks like the winner of the Iraq war
    The Islamic Republic’s clout in the region, confirmed by the Iraq Study Group, could cost the United States.
    By Alissa J. Rubin, Times Staff Writer
    December 10, 2006
    Far from spreading democracy through the region, the Iraq war has strengthened a theocracy in which unelected religious figures make many of the crucial decisions.
    “So far, Iran won the Iraq war,” said George Perkovich, the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “They gained the most by far.”

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  18. Carroll says:

    Here is an example of why I think we need Hagel and those like him to stay in leadership positions. Bush & Co have wrought a lot of new attitudes in the rest of the world and it’s going to take some heavy duty thinking to navigate our way around the results. This by Abdullah may be sincere or a dipolmatic ploy but it just shows how complicated things are going to be from here on for the US.
    January 19, 2007
    Ha’aretz: Jordan’s King Abdullah II to develop nuclear power:
    Abdullah: “But, the rules have changed on the nuclear subject throughout the whole region. Where I think Jordan was saying, ‘we’d like to have a nuclear-free zone in the area,’ after this summer, everybody’s going for nuclear programs.
    “The Egyptians are looking for a nuclear program. The GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] are looking at one, and we are actually looking at nuclear power for peaceful and energy purposes. We’ve been discussing it with the West.
    “I personally believe that any country that has a nuclear program should conform to international regulations and should have international regulatory bodies that check to make sure that any nuclear program moves in the right direction.”
    Posted by Laura

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  19. paul says:

    Not-so-reassuring Downer assurance
    I AM sure all Australians will be reassured by Alexander Downer’s statement that David Hicks “is showing no signs of mental distress” ( The Age, 18/1). This is based on the unimpeachable source of a person not identified, who saw him for an unspecified period in conditions not disclosed. This person’s qualifications are not revealed.
    Mr Hicks has experienced months of questioning using methods, which if employed on Australian soil, probably would have led to the prosecution of his interrogators. He has been in effective solitary confinement for five years, waiting to learn what charges he is to face.
    The American military prosecutor makes accusations and claims to the media about Mr Hicks, but is unable to formulate a coherent charge against him. Mr Hicks lives in a constant state of expectation of release, interspersed with bitter disappointment. When seen by visitors, he is chained to the floor.
    Why should he be mentally distressed? How can anyone not be reassured by our Foreign Minister’s statement?
    Paul E. Mullen, forensic psychiatrist, Fitzroy

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  20. Mike says:

    I wrote Sen.Hagel soon after the 2004 elections expressing my wishes that he considers a run at the Presidency. His reply, at that time,was a wait and see answer.
    He has positioned himself as the “anti-war” GOP,which makes me think that he is looking for a VP slot on the Party ticket.A counter balance of sorts to bring the GOP 2008 ticket into the center.
    I like his ideas and I am glad that he at least makes the case to break from his party’s hardliners…
    I would vote for Hagel in a minute…his attention to detail and common sense is head and shoulders above most politicans in D.C. In either Party!
    Mike Beaver

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  21. memekiller says:

    No Republicans in 2008. Then, we can talk about pushing moderates to bring back bipartisanship. When you’re playing Roshambo, we shouldn’t be surprised when the other guy wants to play nice now that it’s our turn, but if they keep the White House, or don’t suffer politically for escallating the war and enabling the President, they’ll keep playing the game, so long as they’re the only ones doing all the kicking.
    Every game of Roshambo ends when BOTH sides take their turn. They won’t lose their taste for cynical partisanship until they pay for it.

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  22. Homer says:

    David Noziglia: What is Hagel’s relationship with the rest of the Republican party?
    Perhaps a survey of Hagel’s voting record would allow you to make some reasonable assumptions.
    If you look at that, you will see that Hagel has been highly supportive of Bush and the GOP agenda.
    Hagel is no Murtha, i.e. the man who changed the topic.
    Hagel was for Bolton at the UN, a huge and significant topic Steve Clemons seems to have forgotten.
    Right now, a burgeoning Shiite fundamentalist republic is now thriving in Iraq, a republic which is pro-Hizbollah, pro-Hamas, pro-Iranian, etc.
    Hagel wants to leave right when a HUGE internecine battle is about to take place btw Sunnis and Shias.
    I hope Hagel does not let the door hit him in the ass on his way out.

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  23. David Noziglia says:

    What I have are questions.
    What is Hagel’s relationship with the rest of the Republican party? Has his stance on Iraq made him a pariah? Have his stances on social policy let him be accepted?
    What would the result be of Hagel leaving either politics or the party? Would there be any chance of “traditional” or “moderate” Republicans leaving, and abandoning their enabler role, so that we can at last get a handle on just how popular the wing-nuts really are? Would, in fact, the Republican party survive were it reduced to a combination of fundamentalists on social issues and devotees of national security reduced to killing people?
    Would anyone talk about this, given that they would then be attacked by Faux News and the rest of the wing-nut cabal?
    Am I making an sense at all?

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  24. Frank says:

    Steves hears the sizzle, but does not taste the meat.
    A one inch deep and five miles wide attribute is not reflective of depth of character. His unabashed support for Bolton, and the observed whispering in Luger’s ear after Voinovitch spoke up against Bolton(I’am guessing he advised Lugar not to take a committee vote at that point in the hearings), was my subjective assay of the guy. Very subjectively, I thought that whisper was a critical moment in the confirmation hearings. (Review the tapes for your impressions.)
    Speaking up about the obvious insanity in planning to excalate the military forces in Iraq, is a big deal for a former goosestepping republican. No big deal for thoughtful observers of what is going on in Iraq. Publicly asking for Bush’s impeachment because of such an insane act would have been more reflective of this critical time. I would with gusto, support Steve in his exhortations were this fantasy realized.

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  25. TruthSeeker says:

    Please forgive me; I still haven’t had my cup of coffee yet. I meant “Americans” in my post above…
    “Hagel is right on the war, but wrong on a whole host of other issues that are important to many Ameracans, especially progressives”.

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  26. TruthSeeker says:

    Steve,
    I’m also impressed by the stance Hagel is taking on the war, but I think you should consider putting the breaks on when it comes to talk of him running for President. In my opinion, Iraq is the most important issue of the day, but there are other issues that we must consider. Hagel is right on the war, but wrong on a whole host of other issues that are important to many Ameracans, especially progressives. Please take a moment to read the comment below written by a poster on the Huffingtonpost in response to Robert Scheer’s post entitled, “Chuck Hagel for President”. I agree he should remain in the Senate, but I do not think he should run for President, even though he would probably beat the cheating Giulliani and the two-faced McCain in the GOP primary.
    Chuck Hagel for President! –By Robert Scheer
    No way …
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition
    Rated 0% by NARAL
    • Voted NO on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada.
    • Voted YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)
    • Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
    • Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)
    • Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
    • Voted NO on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998)
    • Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)
    • Supports anti-flag desecration amendment.
    • Voted NO on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore.
    • Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy.
    • Voted NO on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)
    • Voted YES on Bush Administration Energy Policy.
    • Voted NO on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations.
    • Voted NO on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity.
    By: Nano on January 17, 2007 at 12:40pm

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  27. Pissed Off American says:

    Accountability. There is none. The media, and insiders like Steve, keep gift wrapping the same kind of knights in shining armor for us, while the corruption and evil keeps marching forward. A body of politicians that care for America’s future should now be clamoring for the removal of this adminstration from the reins of power. The list of crimes and malfeasance is not found wanting for a multitude of reasons for impeachment. Yet instead we see the same kind of insincere posturing and ineffective Congressional wrangling that brought us here in the first place. And the dying goes on, the lies go uninvestigated, the criminal constitutional abuses go unindicted and unpunished, and the incompetent and corrupt framers of past failed policy are still determining future policy. The politicians that have consistently shown a willingness to defend our constitution, our rights, and our basic tenets, such as Conyers or Kucinich, are ignored and trivialized. Our politicians are now market commodities, sold to us by slick packaging and and canned sales pitches. Hagel is posturing politically; its how its done. But in terms of real opposition to this President’s disastrous leadership and criminal actions, Hagel has done little, and is doing little, to rein these bastards in.

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  28. Marcia says:

    If times were normal.
    Times are not normal. The Republican Party has decimated the American middle class, hi-jacked the entire economy in favor of a ruling minority, leaving the population headed toward a new Victorian era. Their pandering to an extreme right wing religious fanatic group to sustain their power is slashing the social freedoms obtained by highly paid battles.
    The have used this support to advance their political agenda of eleminating civil liberties.
    As the “Great Decider” repeats so often. “This is unacceptable.”
    If foreign policy were the only criteria, even on that, Hagel’s positions on critical issues followed the party line. The outcome of this disasterous invasion and occupation of Iraq even if not followed by an attack on Iran, will likely be imposed on whoever is the next president.
    So far he spoke out, but all he has DONE is vote on a NON-BINDING resolution.
    I do not think the country can afford to put another Republican President in the White House. We have already paid a high price since Reagan.
    If Hagel managed to win the presidency and carry in on his coatails another Republican Congress it would probably mean a consolidation of all the policies passed into law by the Rubber Stamp Congress.
    I could not vote for him.

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  29. bob h says:

    The Republicans may soon recognize that with McCain sinking among independents, and with a collection of second-tier candidates like Hunter, Romney, Brownback, et. al., they may be saying goodbye to the Presidency unless they have someone like Hagel.

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  30. sean says:

    I thought we fought the Nazis so that the basic freedoms guaranteed by liberal-democracy would be preserved. We believed that living without these safeguards would be a life of terror. We fought Communism on this basis too: to preserve our basic freedoms.
    Well what’s going on with David Hicks then? Prime Minister Howard pays lip-service to the principle that David Hicks is being treated unfairly, but he’s not really doing anything about it. Foreign Minister Downer is audacious enough to demonstrate his lack of respect for these liberal-democratic principles, and is content to have Hicks convicted on restrospective laws without the rights to face his accusers and to be convicted on hearsay evidence.
    It’s sickening. If anything is unAustralian, this is. Howard, Downer and Ruddock are shaming us as a nation. Hicks is certainly no hero, but what Bush and his people are doing is essentially fiddling with the legal system to achieve the outcome they desire: in Australia this basically constitutes the crime of “perverting the course of Justice”.
    Posted by: sean fremder at January 19, 2007 3:27 PM

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  31. Carroll says:

    Posted by dwg at January 18, 2007 11:38 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    Hey, great letter. if everyone felt your way…”I’m going to say something that I believe is actually against MY interest but in the interest of the United States”…..we might have a “unified” country in which everyone was treated fairly and didn’t have to worry so much about their interest.

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  32. Carroll says:

    To Steve….welcome…and thanks for the alert, I would not have known of this if not for TWN. I got my two brothers to call this afternoon and sent emails of your post to all my other friends, hopefully they called also.

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  33. susan says:

    Hagel is mostly a paper tiger: This from the Lincoln Journal-Star:
    “Despite sharp differences with President Bush on Iraq and foreign policy, Sen. Chuck Hagel was the leading supporter of the president’s agenda in the Senate in 2006….
    Hagel supported Bush’s position 95.5 percent of the time, even more often than Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who finished fourth at 92.8 percent.
    With Hagel on the verge of a decision whether to pursue the presidency or seek a third Senate term next year, his strong legislative support for Bush prompted words of praise from GOP State Chairman Mark Quandahl.
    “Once again, Senator Hagel has demonstrated to Americans and Nebraskans alike that he is truly committed to President Bush and his policies,” Quandahl said.
    “While Senator Hagel’s bold leadership has inspired serious and thoughtful policy discussions all across our country, this rating underscores his devout allegiance to the common-sense, conservative principles of the Republican Party and our commander-in-chief.”
    Quandahl pretty much said what needed to be said, except he fails to recognize that Bush’s agenda does not have the support of the American people or the voters of Nebraska.
    The most recent SurveyUSA tracking poll from November gave Bush only a 46% approval rating in Nebraska – pathetically, still his sixth highest in the nation. Hagel’s “devout allegiance” to principles and a record like that hardly speak in his favor even if it might better his lowly standing with the Republican base.”
    While I admire Hagel’s honestly about the futility of the war, he will never get my vote.

    Reply

  34. Navin R. Johnson says:

    Steve Clemons: Hagel is someone that Americans — all Americans in my view — should want to keep active and vocal in the current national security debate.
    You must mean the `current national security farce’.
    With respect Mr Clemons, let’s be serious: The current national security debate is not at all concerned with the ***hard fact** that a once `secular’ Iraq has been **inadvertently** transformed into a fundamentalist Shiite republic which has extremely close and long standing ties to Iran, a so-called `axis of evil’.
    This is a HUGE problem, one which Sen Chuck Hagel is doing and saying nothing about.
    Why is that?
    Is nobody concerned that Shiite fundamentalists are now holding the reins of power in Iraq?
    Is nobody concerned that Shiite fundamentalists are now holding the reins of power in Iraq in direct response to the horrific attacks of 9/11?
    Losing To Iran
    http://www.docstrangelove.com/2007/01/16/losing-to-iran/

    Reply

  35. Navin R. Johnson says:

    Up till now, Hagel has been basically goosesteeping behind Bush with just a peep of dissent here and there.
    Hagel’s ***actually done nothing*** as so obviously evidenced by the growing mountain of dead and maimed bodies and the $500 billion wasted on a burgeoning Shiite fundamentalist republic in Iraq.
    Hagel’s **inaction** in re to Iraq makes Bush’s reading of `My Pet Goat’ look like a Blitzkrieg.
    Also, Hagel is a nutjob…..
    Hagel voted to `construct 700 miles of double-layered fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of 2008′ (Bill: H R 6061).
    Hagel voted `to leave it up to Pres Bush to define what interrogation techniques outside those barred by the Geneva Conventions [are] still permissible, and he for Bush’s military commissions which `were not authorized under federal law and skirted the rules set out by the Geneva Conventions, a treaty the United States has committed to follow’ (Bill: S 3930).
    Hagel voted against `permitting federal funds to be used to support medical research into therapies derived from embryonic stem cells’ (Bill: H R 810)
    Hagel voted to criminalize the ‘desecration of the American flag’ (S J RES 12).

    Reply

  36. dwg says:

    Dear Senator Hagel:
    I’m a Democrat and an active one. But I saw you recently on Face the Nation and really admired your position on Iraq and your willingness to confront the Whitehouse’s reckless, dangerous and disasterous foreign policies
    I’m going to say something that I believe is actually against MY interest but in the interest of the United States.
    Run for president. Given the choice between voting for you and voting for Hillary Clinton, I would vote for you.
    I think that as the Republican nominee you would be the best candidate your party could put forth. You seem an honorable, forthright and sensible man. I like that.
    Maybe you would consider changing parties and THEN running? (That was worth a shot).
    Whatever your inclinations about running for the Republican nomination, if that direction should not be the right path for you, please please please stay in the Senate.
    We need you in public office today more than ever.
    Best Regards and Good Luck,

    Reply

  37. rich says:

    I called Hagel’s Nebraska office after work (EDT) to say how proud I was of his forthright language when Condi was in front of the Committee the other day.
    And that, having found his voice, now is not the time to stop using it.
    Staffers seemed to have a little happier bounce in their voice, relative to when I’d called back in 2003 inquiring after our Constitution. Odd.

    Reply

  38. Lesson of Lincoln Chaffee says:

    Leave the Republican radicals before it’s too late.

    Reply

  39. steambomb says:

    When Hagel teams with Paul in the congress to impeach Bush and Cheney for their incompetence then I will believe he is the real deal. Otherwise I watched him go along to get along for 6 years.

    Reply

  40. lina says:

    I too have been disappointed with Hagel’s unwavering support for the Bush administration over the last six years. But I think he’s recently crossed over to the “enough is enough” category. Good for him. I have a lot of respect for his foreign policy smarts.
    Yesterday I heard him talk about Congress being a co-equal branch of government. I’d like to see him back that up with action. He’s off to a good start. I’d like to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee go down the list of the 79 suggestions of the Baker group and see what they can enact without Bush’s participation. For example, why not go ahead and have a conference of all the regional powers. Call it a field hearing if you must. Invite the heads of state. Maybe they’ll come. Do an end run around Bush and show the world the U.S. Congress is now driving this train.
    Do it Chuck!

    Reply

  41. marky says:

    Steve,
    I agree that Hagel’s a good guy, but he gets too many kudos for tough talk followed by .. nothing. What is the right strategy to get him to back up his words by supporting some tougher measures? I don’t know.
    Slightly OT, what is the thought about the possibility of impeaching Gonzalez?
    He’s in serious trouble should the SJC decide to compare his past statements about warrantless surveillance with the facts, and his statement in today’s about the right of habeas corpus not extending to all citizens was offensive in the extreme.
    He seems like the low-hanging rotten fruit in the Bush cabinet. A successful impeachment of him–or forcing him to resign—would devastate the White House.

    Reply

  42. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear Carroll — Many thanks for rallying folks. Your comments here today motivated a great number of folks to call, according to emails I have received.
    I know some folks disagree — respect that — but respectfully disagree. Hagel is someone that Americans — all Americans in my view — should want to keep active and vocal in the current national security debate.
    best regards,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  43. memekiller says:

    I’m sorry. Republicans have lost their right to the WH in 2008. If this party can get the Presidency after the most incompetent, conservative and corrupt administrations in history, we all need to just give up and install a Parliament.

    Reply

  44. Mike Gredell says:

    Thanks, Steve, for the heads-up; I sent him a letter. I’m a Dem but losing Hagel would be a shame. Even if I don’t agree with him on everything, he’s still an asset to good, thoughtful governance. Why others expect down-the-line ideological compliance, I don’t know.
    By the way, the comments don’t fit in the pop-up, and can’t be maximized.

    Reply

  45. gq says:

    I think foreign policy covers more than just just Iraq and the middle east. It also covers debt relief, poverty reduction, combating AIDS, etc. Hagel hasn’t shown a commitment to any of these nor has he shown competence in terms of domestic policy.
    I’m not a one issue voter so I cannot support Hagel as president. If I were, maybe. But labor rights, racial discrimination policies that are fair and just, women’s rights, poverty, education, …, are just too important for me to vote solely on rhetoric on the middle east. Having personal experience with discrimination, poverty and a poor education system there is no way, on good conscious I could think of supporting Hagel as Senator or President. But I would love to see him get the GOP nod. We are almost diametrically opposed, but he seems reasonable enough to take all sides of the matter into consideration if he had to represent the entire nation.
    No calls or letters for me. There are enough Dems with responsible vision for foreign policy who aren’t domestic “tyrrants”. Sorry, Steve. I cannot make the call.

    Reply

  46. MP says:

    Easy quotes: “”Ahmadinejad was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that ‘this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time’ just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished.”
    Kind of like the Pope quoting that old Church Father, I guess.
    Somehow, the more Ahmadinejad gets mistranslated, the more it sounds the way it did the first time. Unless you’re saying that he’s quoting this ancient statement in order to DISAGREE with it.
    Or, he wasn’t talking about the Zionnist state at all…just the Shah’s. He’s happy for the Z’s to stay put.

    Reply

  47. Easy E says:

    Cheney and his warmongering neocons must be having an orgasm about this one:
    IRAN DISCOVERS NEW ONSHORE OIL FIELD (two-billion barrels)
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1167467763449&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
    Time to update those energy docs.

    Reply

  48. Marky says:

    I think Zathras put it best—Hagel’s not a fighter, and we need fighters. I applaud him for co-sponsoring the resolution against escalation, but the Senate needs to move quickly to enact legislation which will force the administration to follow the will of the people and withdraw.
    The non-binding resolution is par for the course tut-tutting from Hagel. It’s not enough.
    If he doesn’t have more to offer the country, I don’t care what he does.
    There’s hope for him yet, though.
    I’m curious about Brownback and his opposition to Bush’s plans. What about the rest of the caveman wing of the Senate GOP? Is Coburn still a full-throated supporter of Bush, or is spending more time writing fantasies about high school lesbians in school bathrooms?

    Reply

  49. David says:

    Chuck Hagel is a conservative Republican, to be sure, but he is also one of the wisest, most outspoken critics of the Iraq War and US foreign policy in general. While he is presidential timber, and I find him intellectually honest, I e-mailed his office to urge him to stay in the Senate unless he has the chance to serve as either Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State in a Democratic administration, much as Senator Cohen did as SecDef for Clinton.
    I understand the value of the non-binding resolution much better after watching Senators Biden, Hagel, and Levin yesterday on C-Span.
    Thanks for the suggestion and the link, Steve. The Washington Note continues to be an invaluable website.

    Reply

  50. Diane says:

    Losing Hagel would be a loss for both Democrats and Republicans. While I don’t agree with him on much, if anything, he is the “old school” Republican that can carry on realistic dialog and address issues, as opposed to the “new Republicans” that are so radical and vindictive and detached from reality. There needs to be opposition in all things and I for one would consider Hagel’s leaving a loss for the country as a whole. I hope the past few years have made him question the idea of loyalty to party over loyalty to the Constitution and the country.

    Reply

  51. Kim says:

    US sets terrorism trial rules
    By Washington correspondent Kim Landers
    The new rules for military courts in the US allow convicted terrorists to be imprisoned or put to death using hearsay evidence or coerced testimony.
    The Pentagon’s manual will apply to Guantanamo Bay detainees like Australian David Hicks.
    It also states a suspect’s defence lawyer cannot reveal classified evidence until the Government has had a chance to review it.
    The detainee may never get to see classified information. Instead he will be given an unclassified version of the case against him.
    A spokesman from the Office of Military Commissions says he expects prosecutions to begin “soon”, meaning Mr Hicks could face new charges within weeks.
    Print Email

    Reply

  52. Zathras says:

    Steve Clemons is not the first person to be convinced that views in accordance with his are the key to electoral success. Politics at the national level just doesn’t work that way.
    I agree with Sen. Hagel on a number of subjects, including many foreign policy issues, and think he’s a better Senator than the ones Nebraska usually sends to Washington. But to really make waves in a 2008 Republican Presidential race Hagel would have to be a fighter, and he isn’t.
    Winning the nomination is probably out of the question for him anyway, and the nomination itself may be of limited value this time around. The point is that Republicans in 2008 are going to feel embattled and insecure; they’ll want a leader who will fight his way to the nomination — preferably one who enjoys political combat for its own sake and has accepted cheerfully the reality that in order for him to win the other candidates have to lose. In other words, they will be looking for a candidate who can impose his personality on the race, and eventually on the party. If Hagel had it in him to do that he would have shown it before now.

    Reply

  53. Steve Clemons says:

    vachon — respect your views, but as you know, i’m not a one party guy. i want the Dems to shape up and improve and the republicans to reject the far right.
    losing hagel is bad for both sides of the aisle.
    best to you,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  54. vachon says:

    “Reasonableness” is the new black. Sigh.
    Um, no, Steve. There are plenty of terrific Democrats who can be as reasonable and do a better job than this “reasonable” Republican.

    Reply

  55. Easy E says:

    On a sidenote…..
    IRANIAN PRESIDENT MISTRANSLATED
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/jonathan_steele/2006/06/post_155.html.printer.friendly
    “Ahmadinejad was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that ‘this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time’ just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished.”
    The neocon warmongers (including AIPAC) continue to put out disinformation and distort what Ahmadinejad actually said. Would be nice to see Hagel and other progressives engage Iran in diplomatic talks.

    Reply

  56. Checking In says:

    HAGEL IS *NO* DEMOCRAT!!!
    Ughh… this man is so anti-choice, anti-privacy rights it makes my skin crawl. He has absolutely no understanding, about the rights of women to have sovereignty over their own bodies, or the compassion on what happens with women with unintended pregnancies… Iraq maybe he has understanding of sovereignty, but over a Womyn body and health choices — NO!
    03/17/2005 Unintended Pregnancy Amendment N
    10/21/2003 Prohibit Partial-Birth Abortion bill Y
    10/21/2003 Prohibit Partial-Birth Abortion bill Y
    06/21/2002 Military Abortion Amendment N
    06/20/2000 Military Abortions Amendment Y
    02/02/2000 Violent Protestors Amendment Y
    10/21/1999 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1999 Y
    http://votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=BC031069

    Reply

  57. Concerned American says:

    –> Edward Nashton:
    all the more dramatic would the message be if Hagel were to repudiate the radical insanity of our contemporary Republican party by joining the Democratic Party.

    Reply

  58. MP says:

    I just sent me note via the link.
    Thanks, Steve, for passing this on.

    Reply

  59. Carroll says:

    Just spoke to Hagel’s office. They are taking names, address and ph numbers of thoses of us outside his district who are calling in so I think they are trying to guage support across the country for Hagel.
    Mentioned that I had read the concern about his leaving the senate and not considering a presidential run on TWN, so maybe his staffers will tune in here if they don’t already.
    Call,call,call, ..we need those like Hagel to be in a position to keep speaking about what America’s foreign policy should be.

    Reply

  60. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks, Steve, for this information and the link. I just sent him a note. Clark and Hagel are the only two potential candidates I can think of supporting right now. If neither of them runs, I don’t know who will interest me. But at a minimum, we need Hagel to stay in the Senate.

    Reply

  61. Carroll says:

    I agree Hagel should run for President…and his leaving the senate would be bad.
    I am calling his office the moment I finsh this.

    Reply

  62. Edward Nashton says:

    Hagel would be an ideal President given the challenges that we face thanks to our neoconservative friends.
    With respect to “Concerned American” though, I disagree. Hagel has an 86% career rating from the American Conservative Union (last year it was 96%). He is far more a traditional Republican than a Democrat. Many of us forget what a Republican looks like thanks to jokers like the President and his fellow travelers.

    Reply

  63. steambomb says:

    I think he should be encouraged to switch parties and many other republicans should be encouraged to do the same. It is not a difficult case to make that the Republican party has been subverted to an insignificant entity in the political sphere. Their party has been split between the neocons, religous right and moderate conservatives. The fault lines are running deep. They can thank Tom Delay, Bill Frist and George F. W. Bush for this.

    Reply

  64. Ben T says:

    Obama/Hagel 08

    Reply

  65. charles blumenthal says:

    I’ll be glad to see Hagel go. He’s all talk and no action. After being special agent in charge of opposing a “surge” on his side of the aisle, we find his name on a nonbinding concurrent resolution. And that, my friends, has been his standard operating procedure for the past 6 months. Before that he was not so special agent not in charge of anything, especially not speaking out against this administration. Hagel was just another Bush administration mouthpiece like the rest of em.

    Reply

  66. Greg Priddy says:

    Agree — Sen. Hagel would be a big loss…
    If he does choose to bail out on electoral politics, I’d like to see him considered by the (hopefully Democratic) incoming administration in 2009 for Secratary of State or some other senior position. Richard Haass is another Republican I’d like to see them consider. Both of them are people I’d like to see contributing to the development of a new bipartisan consensus, wherever they are…

    Reply

  67. Concerned American says:

    Senator Hagel:
    Walks like a Democrat. Sounds like a Democrat. Act like a Democrat. All he needs to do is change his branding. The nation will be better off for it.

    Reply

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