Sunday, November 26, 2006

Are Republicans Smart Enough to Nominate Hagel?

I hope Republicans nominate John McCain because it won't be difficult to show voters that John McCain is no longer John McCain and hasn't been since the spring of 2004 when Karl Rove or somebody in the White House apparently got to him with promises to give him help for the 2008 presidential race. It doesn't help McCain that he has almost blindly rubber stamped the president's policies; even on the rare occassion when he seems to show some backbone, he immediately folds like Arlen Specter or any number of other Republicans. And McCain's pandering to the right will make him look odd when he tries to pass himself off as a 'media centrist,' an illusion Americans, and particularly independents, aren't buying anymore if all it means is that McCain's more polite and telegenic than other conservatives. His voting record, by the way, shows he is by far one of the most conservatives members of the Senate. McCain's conservatism is rapidly falling behind the times.

The man to watch, however, is Chuck Hagel. If Hagel runs for president and manages to win the Republican nomination, he might be difficult to beat. For one thing, the independents who swung for the Democrats in 2006 might swing back to the Republicans if Hagel heads the ticket. Here's Senator Hagel's own words in The Washington Post on Iraq:
There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq. These terms do not reflect the reality of what is going to happen there. The future of Iraq was always going to be determined by the Iraqis -- not the Americans.

Iraq is not a prize to be won or lost. It is part of the ongoing global struggle against instability, brutality, intolerance, extremism and terrorism. There will be no military victory or military solution for Iraq. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger made this point last weekend.

The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation -- regardless of our noble purpose.

That's about as close as any major Republican has come lately to telling it like it is. Hagel is doing what McCain once had the reputation of doing before discovering the Republican 'base.' If Hagel runs, there are going to be many comparisons between what Hagel says and what McCain says and for voters around the country McCain will be the loser. And yet, I suspect McCain will win the nomination. The Republican Party shows few signs of having learned the lessons of the last six years. But if Hagel runs, he may begin the process of rebuilding the Republican Party around sounder principles; that will be a good thing, even if this liberal Democrat is not likely to agree with some of those principles.


Blogger Charlie said...

Senator Hagel has the candor and the civility to make an excellent President. There are those out there trying to draft him to run in 2008:

9:00 PM  

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