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Hagel Keeps Door Open For Indie Run

We've spilled a fair amount of ink (or whatever the online equivalent for ink is) on trying to divine Sen. Chuck Hagel's (R-Neb.) next move.

Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska
Sen. Chuck Hagel says he's waiting until later this year to decide what his next step in politics will be. (AP Photo)

Over the weekend, Hagel gave us another clue -- telling Bloomberg that an independent run for president "is possible," adding: "I don't ever foreclose any options."

That statement comes just days after Hagel dined in Washington with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- a Republican who is also oft-mentioned as a possible independent candidate for president next year.

Should we be drawing some sort of conclusion about Hagel's plans? Not yet, said Hagel spokesman Mike Buttry. Hagel doesn't plan to make a decision until "later this year" on whether to run for president, reelection to the Senate or retire from politics entirely.

In reality, however, that decision is largely being made for him.

Let's look at his options:

* A Presidential Run as a Republican: Hagel has likely waited too long to become a major factor in the Republican race if he sought the party's nomination. Unlike former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), Hagel is not a nationally known name and has demonstrated little capacity to raise the kind of money he would need to be competitive in the primaries. While Hagel's high-profile opposition to the president's Iraq policy would surely garner him a good amount of national press attention, it would also likely doom him among Republican caucus and primary voters who tend to still be supportive of the war and President Bush. There's a reason why the three Republican frontrunners -- Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- have all expressed support for the Iraq surge and emphasized the need to stay in the country to fend off chaos.

* A Presidential Run as an Independent: This seems the better bet for Hagel if he wants to run for president in 2008. A vehicle exists in Unity '08 that could help him qualify for the ballot nationwide if he was able to secure the bipartisan movement's nomination. Also, Hagel's positioning on Iraq has made him Democrats' favorite Republican and won him a strong following among independents. Hagel's overall record places him as among the most conservative candidates in the field, but that may be easy for many voters to overlook because Iraq is likely to be the dominant issue of the 2008 campaign. While The Fix has been skeptical about Unity '08 -- simply because the power of the two entrenched parties in American politics is hard to overestimate -- a Hagel-Bloomberg or Bloomberg-Hagel ticket could well be compelling to a number of Americans. An independent candidacy would also allow Hagel to stick with his plan to wait until later this year to make an announcement and likely keep the fundraising burden relatively light as he wouldn't have to compete for his party's nomination in next year.

* A Senate Reelection Race: Hagel's path to reelection in the Senate has grown considerably more complicated of late as state Attorney General Jon Bruning appears to be edging ever closer to a primary challenge. After initially pledging to run only if Hagel vacated the seat, Bruning changed his mind, citing Hagel's criticism of President Bush and the White House's handling of the war in Iraq. Bruning released a poll shortly after announcing the formation of his exploratory committee that showed him leading Hagel 47 percent to 38 percent. Senate Republicans -- most notably Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) -- are coming to Hagel's defense, and Hagel himself has said his ultimate decision will have nothing to do with the Bruning challenge. Even so, the prospect of a contested (and costly) primary election can't be something that Hagel relishes.

* Retirement: When Hagel upset Ben Nelson (D) in 1996 to win a Senate seat, he railed against "career politicians." And in the intervening 11 years he has largely maintained those outsider credentials. Given that profile, it wouldn't be terribly surprising if Hagel decided to walk away from politics -- perhaps with an eye on another run for the White House in 2012 assuming a Democrat wins next November. Should Hagel retire, a competitive open-seat race is possible, with Democrats convinced that Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey would run if Hagel decided not to. The Republican field would likely be far more crowded, with former Gov. Mike Johanns (R) the preferred nominee.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 7, 2007; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

We need to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a runoff if a candidate does not get a majority of the vote. This would open things up for 3rd parties and make them viable options to the current dominant 2 parties that tend to put what is best for the party (re-election) first and what's best for the country second.

Posted by: Gil | May 9, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

"So shouldn't the press go out of its way to try to educate the public on the other parties out there"
Since when has it ever been the responsiblity or the appropriate role of the press to "educate"? In the ideal, shouldn't the function of the press to report without bias?

Posted by: PJD | May 8, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The person who said that Perot helped Clinton and Nader helped Bush got it right. Like it or not, the two party system is here to stay.

The Democratic party could suffer a self-inflicted gunshot wound here by nominating B.O. or Billary. Niether one could carry a light-blue or light-red state - and there are lots of those. B.O. is getting a free ride from the MSM because the repubs want to trick the dems into thinking he can win. He cannot. Billary cannot win because Americans are physically ill from a generation of Bush-Clinton politics and refuse to see it perpetuated.

That being said, the repub odds of winning the white house are only as good as the democratic candidate is bad. Any white guy would do at that point though. Actor, mormon, zealous old war-fart guy, even a new yowker could win. Republicans follow very well. They don't demand any explanations or want to hear any complicated plans. Just lower taxes and kill people - they can just lie about the rest. Smear and Fear to support the strategy of Lying and Dying - that's what Karl Rove always says!

Posted by: Heerman | May 8, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

GOP Needs Goldwater-Like Candidate Activist Says

Conservatives need to find a Barry Goldwater-type candidate to help the Republican Party position itself for a longer-term rebuilding with more an eye to winning presidential elections in 2012 or 2016, according to a longtime conservative activist.

http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com/2007/05/gop-needs-goldwater-like-candidate.html

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

MikeB said: "Obama is one of "them"! Edwards, Hagel, and a few others are not. I will not be voting for some inbred twit, a member of the political chattering class, who will so readily sell this country down the river. Obama and Clinon are neocons, free traders, and no friend of people interested in salvaging thw wreckage of the Bush-Cheney years."

Imbred? Didn't you mean half-breed? MikeB you rasict.

Posted by: MikeBisaRacist | May 8, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for it...Though I might prefer to see Bloomberg at the top of that ticket.

We're long overdue for a true fiscally conservative, socially liberal party.

I think it represents a wide swath of the American public and it constantly goes underrepresented because of the constant pandering by the major parties to the extremist fringes.

Posted by: MBW | May 8, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

It's not too late for Hagel to enter the Republican presidential primary - and he would have a good chance of winning. Every other major Republican candidate supports the war in Iraq (sorry Ron Paul). 40% of Republican voters oppose the war, and that number will only rise. Hagel is reliably orthodox on other conservative issues (guns, gays, abortion, taxes). There's a huge opportunity for an America-first, foreign-policy realist Republican with true legitimacy on defense issues (Hagel was a decorated Vietnam vet).

Posted by: hman | May 8, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't agree that a White House bid by Hagel as an Independent would split the GOP party, I think it would peel off Dem voters too who are against the war but leaning more conservative than liberal.

Since Hagel is anti-war, most in the GOP wouldn't vote for him, especiallly if someone like a Reaganesque Fred Thompson was at the top of the ticket.

A Hagel/Bloomberg ticket's net effect might be to take a few from each party... the anti-Hillary Dems and the anti-war Repubs.... a washout.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | May 8, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

JayPe - for me it is! But I doubt it'd get anywhere near the coverage France's did. But kicking out the Howard government after 11 years in power will give a lot of Australians (including myself) a great deal of satisfaction.

Posted by: Aussie view | May 8, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

'Asked whom they would most likely support for the Republican nomination, 25 percent of people who identified themselves as Republicans or leaning Republican cited the former mayor of New York and 23 percent cited the senator from Arizona.'

no overwhelming support for either...

Posted by: drindl | May 8, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Aussie view, isn't the Australian election the biggest in the world for 2007?

Posted by: JayPe | May 8, 2007 4:35 AM | Report abuse

CC - what happened to the promised blog on France's presidential election? Or does no one care about possibly the biggest election in the world in 2007?

Posted by: Aussie view | May 8, 2007 2:34 AM | Report abuse

JamesCH, Now I'm going to give an example of how wrong you are about "free trade". Today the U.S. Senate killed legislaion that would have allowed people to bring in perscription drugs from other countries. Now, this is a small thing, perhaps, but 85% - EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT - of the American people want to be able to do this and the Senate turned them down. Some "representative democracy". A collecion of politcians that would do that might just inflict an ill thought out war on us or an invasion of a small Middle Eastern country.

And, please don't repeat the lame excuse that the drugs might be insafe. Giant corporation, like WalMart, import hundred of millions of doses of generic drugs with absolutely no government vetting. Likewise, the very pharmaceutical comapnies that this legislation benefits outsourced the manufacturing of those drugs to places like Bangledesh and India and China. Countries like Sweden and Denmark and Canada have much more stingent regulations about drugs than we will ever have. This dirty little scheme was nothing more than a way of ensuring that the pharmaceutical corporations enjoy obscene profits, four times or more, than they receive anywhere else on the face of the earth.

Now, I could go on and on. I could point to aircraft parts, rifles, video and software (your $400 copy of Vista costs $1.50 in China), but you get the idea. Free trade is a very sick joke, inflicited on the people of this country by a bunch of corporate crooks and the political cronies that serve them.

Posted by: MikeB | May 8, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

JamesCH - Actually, you are wrong on two points. First off, Obama is a free trader, a nutcase about it in fact. He is so much of a free trader that he has become the chief recipient of neocon donors. THAT, my friend, is where his money is coming from right now. And, finally, either we initiate some form of very radical protectionism or we cease to exist. I cannot believe the number of people who have fallen for the corporate line that "some" form of free trade is necessary. That's just silly and, NOBODY else has the sort of open, recless trading we have. Every other country protects certains and technology as necessary to their national interests. not us...unless you count Raytheon and like defense contractors that (don't) produce anti_RPG systems and the like that are already availableon the international market. Maybe we have a terminology problem here - what I mean by free trade, you don't. But I don't think so. We simply cannot afford to use cheap guest workers as replacement for our native engineering and science jobs. We cannot export our essential defense technology, especially to places like India. And we cannot continue to ship basic knowledge of our whole infrastructure to places like India and China. These are foreign countries, countries that are or have been enemy states. Someday, India will sell off those medical and financial and other records being kept there. They will use information about our electrical grid, our nuclear power plants, our damns, highways, rail system, all of it, to do us grave harm. Likewise, permitting comoanies like Microsoft and Dell and Apple to expor basic computer technologies to these countries is flat out insane. Ditto, in spades, for the missile guidance system solf China by some outfit in California, the cruise missile guidance system sold by Boeing to China, the night vision goggles and technology sold by ITT to China, and on and on. "Free Trade" is an illusion, a con game being played by corporations interested short term gains and to hell with the future of this country. Obama is one of "them"! Edwards, Hagel, and a few others are not. I will not be voting for some inbred twit, a member of the political chattering class, who will so readily sell this country down the river. Obama and Clinon are neocons, free traders, and no friend of people interested in salvaging thw wreckage of the Bush-Cheney years.

Posted by: MikeB | May 7, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

All this speculation about Hagel is silly. It makes no difference if he runs or not. The final result will be the same--he ain't gonna be elected President. Although he certainly has not done anything at all to indicate he might be running.

Posted by: larry | May 7, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

MikeB,

Congratulations on knowing absolutely nothing about Sen. Obama's view on free trade. Rather than accepting things for what they are, he has voted against CAFTA, and makes it very clear that the U.S. has made significant mistakes while trying to integrate themselves into the global economy.

Radical protectionism won't save U.S. jobs any more than unrestricted free trade does. What is needed is a system with some protectionism, coupled with education and job training, with a healthy dose of innovation that keeps the U.S. out in front on new technologies that equal new jobs.

And for those who still blather on about how the Senator from Illinois has no ideas to put forward, read The Audacity of Hope. Tons of policy proposals. Enjoy.

Posted by: JamesCH | May 7, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Bloomberg is ideal for Unity08 ticket, he's mentioned before he's happy to sink $500m of his own money to promote his candidacy. Should be enough to compete with the big two parties.

Furthermore, if people are fed up with the Repub & Dem candidates after several months of vetting, they may well go for something new. That would be fantastic for democracy, as a two party system is hardly ideal...

Posted by: JayPe | May 7, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!

Posted by: kingofzouk | May 7, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

No, really, I'm not running. I wish you would go away.

Posted by: Tim Kalemkarian | May 7, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | May 7, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin - Remove Iraq from the table, or even move it off center stage if the predicted recession hits, and you will see people voting four "issues". Moderates and working class people will vote jobs - about half of all voters will punish anyone granting anything remotely resembling amnesty for illegals, want outsourcing ended, an end to guest worker visa's, and something to create and protect jobs. Feminists will vote "choice" - about 1/3 of voters. Right wing lunatics will vote "anti-choice" - about 1/4 of voters. And about 1/3 of the voters will vote Second Amendment, gun rights. The candidates know this and are picking issues accordingly.

Obama is in Michigan today with the usual dog and pony show about helping the auto makers. He is proposing tax cuts and some protectionist laws to help them just exist. Everyone is slobbering all over themselves. Left out, pointedly, is notthing to insure that the work is done in the U.S. by American workers. Obama and the other free trade crowd (free traitors as they ought to be known) apparently still think that helping business is helping workers. It's time to disabuse them of this silly notion and the fact that we now understand that Wall Street and Main Street have nothing in common.

Posted by: MikeB | May 7, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Hi Dan W. -

I think we are in complete agreement IF the Iraq war is off the table.

If the Iraq war is still the driver, then moderates and independents, who are largely opposed to the war sold as "stay the course", will vote Dem, unless they have a more fiscally conservative, exit-the-war choice. That was the point of my first post. Since then there have been many good posts and the conversation has turned.

My thought was a that moderate third party helps the Dems a little bit, absent Iraq, because it gives fiscally conservative social moderates a safe haven to leave the religious Reps, as you suggested. But given Iraq, all the frustration with GWB falls in favor of the Dems, ABSENT a more conservative, but realistic-about-Iraq, third party.

I think I better stop digging...

Posted by: Mark in Austin | May 7, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

For all those commenters above who seem to be big fans of both Chuck Hagel and the concept of an independent quote Unity 08 unquote presidential ticket: Check out the actual political history of both Sen. Hagel and NYC Mayor Bloomberg. What both have in common is that both are totally egocentric individuals who knew how to play the game of politics and win. That*s it, folks. Neither one have even an iota of integrity, conscience, intellectual curiosity, and fidelity to principle over personal or political gain. The idea that Bloomberg would ever leap from his very comfortable position as an independent NYC Republican is a huge laugh. In fact, Bloomberg's administration in NYC is chock full of right wing and so-called moderate Republicans, appointed to the tens of thousands of political appointed positions that mayors in NYC have as patronage. His entire political base in NYC is the GOP -- not some independent party created for his candidacy or ideas. And Bloomberg, following in the footsteps of his role model Guiliani, is not at all anti-Iraq war -- and has endorsed over and over again the Bush GWOT. According to Bloomberg, Arab and Moslem terrorism is the number 1 issue facing the US today. Does that sound like an independent? And, turning to Hagel, as the leading anti-climate change action spokesperson in the Senate GOP, he went to Kyoto as a Senate observor, and trashed the Clinton Admin. acceptance of the Kyoto Protocol, the 1st real global effort of the industrialized world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Almost single handedly, he convinced the GOP in the late 1990's to oppose US ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, convincing the Clinton White House to leave binding int'l agreements on climate change to the next admin. Hegel also was a major supporter of Bushs Iraq war until very recently, and still believes that the USG must undertake UNILATERAL preventative military action around the world if any President decides he wants to do that. Despite being a Senator, Hegel is a firm believer in the superiority of the USG executive branch over the legislative and judicial branch's in matters that the President deems to be quote national security unquote. And, unlike moderate GOP Senators Spector and Warner, he has NOT been a dissenter to any of the Bush admin*s aggressive and illegal actions undermining civil liberties within the US. His social policy and fiscal policy record and positions are rigid, doctrinaire right wing ideology, and based on social and economic laissez faire. The only issue on which he goes outside of the extreme right wing playbook is foreign trade. He is a firm believer in EXPANDING foreign trade by reducing existing barriers to international trade of goods and services, regardless of whether there is universal agreements on labor and environmental protections in all of the countries impacted by those reductions in trade barriers. In short, neither Hagel or Bloomberg have one milicron of independent political or economic thought between them. The only thing that they have in common is that both are personal mavericks in the NATIONAL GOP, and have the attn of people like Chris Cillizza.

Posted by: LesG | May 7, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

A "Powell-anyone" ticket could indeed "wreak havoc", but I don't think wild horses could drag Colin Powell back into government now. I can't say I blame him, either.

Posted by: TJM | May 7, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The only viable solution is a popular runoff vote. This way people could vote for their 'real' candidates and then at least still be able to select the lesser of two evils in the runoff phase.

Posted by: roo | May 7, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

spartan, I misread your question. It is a good one.

Posted by: bsimon | May 7, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

spartan asks
"now what would a unity 08 platform be? a combination of both dem and rep?"

As I understand it, the goal of Unity 08 is to promote bipartisanship by having one candidate from each party on the ticket.

Who would be good? That's a hard question to answer. I'd be tempted to vote for McCain-Feingold. But I doubt McCain would go that route. Powell-Feingold? I think Powell-anyone would wreak havoc on the major-party candidates.

Posted by: bsimon | May 7, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

When it all comes down, Chuck Hagel can at least sit back and know he was right all along.

Posted by: jojo | May 7, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

great comments all. a complete change from the other thread.

now what would a unity 08 platform be? a combination of both dem and rep?

or better yet, who would be a good ideal to run on the unity 08 ticket?

Posted by: spartan | May 7, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Actually Mark, a true Unity (good Moderate Dem/Good Moderate Rep) would attract a lot of moderate Reps (Who will feel that the Rep party no longer cares about anything but religion) and many Independents. The Democratic candidate and Unity's Dem member will ultimately decide how well the ticket does. If the Unity Party does well enough, the Dem candidate will be elected when selected by the House of Representatives.

Posted by: Dan W | May 7, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The various 3rd party movements have an incredibly high hill to climb. Here in MN we've elected a 3rd party governor, largely due to his own outsized personality - not the party itself. Since then, nobody from that party has achieved success at the polls. This despite most voters sharing their positions on the issues. In short, most voters are unwilling to cast a vote for someone they think has no chance of winning, which is a self-perpetuating line of thinking. The two major parties' job is now primarily one of demonizing the major opposition such that they scare potential 3rd party voters into casting ballots based on fear, rather than the candidate that best matches their positions.

Posted by: bsimon | May 7, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Andy R. said "...Hagel-Bloomberg would do one thing and that is guarantee a Democratic victory by splitting the GOP vote"...which is exactly contra to my guess.

I am an independent voter: a fiscal conservative and social moderate, a libertarian who believes in a strong military and in open, efficient governance. I was attracted to Perot but repelled by Nader. I suspect a Unity ticket would be aimed at me, not at the far left [anti-military big social program boosters] or the far right [supporters of corporate tax breaks and gay bashing]. I suspect a Unity ticket would sound like Perot '92 and would attract more moderates who were Republican trending than Democratic trending.

Andy R, what is your reasoning?

I do assume we all agree that a Unity ticket could do nothing but affect which major party wins...

Posted by: Mark in Austin | May 7, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Dan, the electoral college is part of the Constitution, and thus hard to get rid of. And any state that introduces proportional sharing of electoral votes is screwing itself out of political power.

There's a compromise plan that's gaining popularity, and has been signed into law in Maryland. States enact a law saying that they'll give all of their electoral votes to the winner of the popular election. But the law only goes into effect once enough states have agreed to do this. So once states with more than half the electoral votes have passed such a law, we effectively have a popular-vote election, without needing a Constitutional amendment.

I like this idea, but it still doesn't help minor candidates.

Posted by: Blarg | May 7, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Another change to all or nothing would be proportionate sharing of electoral votes. No longer would states be red or blue. Better yet, do away with the electorate entirely and go to straight popular vote.

Actually because of the rules governing elections, the "Swing for the fences" is required in order to bring attention to the local elections. You've heard of Nader, he hasn't been elected but he is getting his name out there. He needs to do more to get the lower levels elected.

A presidential run is also inportant beause currently only Dems and Reps are eligible for campaign matching. A third party needs to show significant iterest before it will be eligible for matching funds.

Posted by: Dan W | May 7, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I have seen polls showing 52% to 45% of GOP Iowans supporting withdrawal from Iraq in the next 6 months, though I'm unsure about the poll's accuracy, since I've seen polls with results to the contrary. I think an independent Hagel run would be a great litmus test for the country. It would tell us whether the War in Iraq is the sole factor harming the GOP or if the nation truly has taken a temporary move to the left. Personally, Hagel is too socially conservative for me and Mike Bloomberg's anti-smoking policies have turned me off. (I'm a smoker, I see anti-smoking commercials as successfull propaganda, I do not believe in the harmfulness of 2nd hand smoke (it could only be fatal if one was the siamese twin of a smoker for a lifetime, and the smoking twin blew the smoke into the face of the other twin every ciggarette, every pack, and every day for a lifetime) plus anti-smoking policies are unnecessary violations of civil liberties; the gov't has no right to make health decisions for us!!!!!!!) but I digress. I also think Hagel's personality would be unappealing to voters, an for an independent to be successful I believe personality matters more than if you're a parties nominee. Hagel would have been smart to at least have began raising funds for a GOP WH Primary campaign a year ago. I believe Hagel should curry favor with the GOP field in order to secure the #2 slot on the GOP ticket or a cabinet position. Hagel would likely provide a perfect ticket balance with Giuliani, and would be a good running mate for McCain or Romney as well. Plus, the GOP needs to try to get SOME anti-war voters. It looks as if in a Senate reelection campaign, Hagel may be getting flanked from both sides. AG Bruning or U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (and former Governor) Mike Johaans may challenge him on the right, and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey on the left. Hagel should forget the idea of a WH bid, and instead retire from the Senate and seek a spot as the GOP's VP nominee.

Posted by: J Perez | May 7, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

TARMIYAH, Iraq -- For U.S. troops, just walking a simple foot patrol through this small, trash-strewn city 30 miles north of Baghdad has become unthinkable.

If the Americans spend longer than 10 minutes in one place, a sniper will track them down and begin shooting.

"It is getting to the point where we really can't interact with the people," says Lt. Cody Wallace, executive officer of the unit that patrols the city. Even the local police chief who oversees the area that includes Tarmiyah refuses to set foot in the town.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

TARMIYAH, Iraq -- For U.S. troops, just walking a simple foot patrol through this small, trash-strewn city 30 miles north of Baghdad has become unthinkable.

If the Americans spend longer than 10 minutes in one place, a sniper will track them down and begin shooting.

"It is getting to the point where we really can't interact with the people," says Lt. Cody Wallace, executive officer of the unit that patrols the city. Even the local police chief who oversees the area that includes Tarmiyah refuses to set foot in the town.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Independant presidential candidacies are nothing but vanity crusades. If you're elected, Congress will simply ignore you. It is nothing more than self-aggrandizement. If he wants to run, I agree with Spartan, he needs to run with a slate. Or run for office in Nebraska under an independant party.

Posted by: Ippolit | May 7, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Andy R - I don't know. I'm a Democrat and the more I hear about Obama and Clinton the less I am inclined to vote for either of them on ANY ticket. Both are neocons, supported by huge corporations, and show every indication they will legalize the 20 million or so illegals here, will continue to permit outsourcing jobs, and will allow for even more "guest workers". Plus, both are gun control freaks. The Republican's seem dead set on nominating someone tied to Bush, which by now everyone with half a brain.

Posted by: MikeB | May 7, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Is there still talk of Brownback running as a third-party candidate if the Republican nominee is too moderate on social issues? I wonder how that would affect things.

Posted by: dc voter | May 7, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Good call, Spartan. Independents need to form parties and focus on capturing state and local offices, in addition to just the presidency. That was part of what bothered me about Nader; he could have run for Congress or governor if he really wanted to change the system, but instead he kept making symbolic runs at the presidency.

But the real issue is the electoral system. The winner-take-all system effectively shuts out third-party candidates by encouraging strategic voting. There are many better systems out there, like instant-runoff voting or the Condorcet method. And these voting systems can be instituted at the state level, since the Constitution lets each state allocate electors however they want.

Of course, it's a vicious cycle. The two major parties hold almost all of the power, so they're the only ones who can change the system. But they stand to lose the most from change, so they won't implement it. So it would take a major grassroots effort to institute electoral reform.

Posted by: Blarg | May 7, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

What would be the effect of a "Unity 08" ticket?

I think that Perot '92 helped elect Clinton and Nader '00 helped elect GW Bush.

My guess is that a "Unity" ticket that was perceived as fiscally conservative, socially moderate, and for a pullout from Iraq would help Republicans more than Democrats - unless JD's prediction [that GW will start drawing down troops in '08 in time to help the Republicans] comes true and takes that issue off the table.

Iraq is a burning issue but a transient one; Biden and Fred Thompson have seriously looked beyond it - I cannot say that with any confidence about the others.

However, without Iraq "on the table", a "Unity" ticket led by Sen. Hagel, whom I respect, would probably give a minor advantage to the Democrats.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | May 7, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

rocric: Bloomberg was a Democrat who became a Republican, because it was easier to get their nomination for Mayor, than it would have been for him to do so on the Democratic side.

He could easily declare himself a Democrat again to meet Unity08's standard, and not have too many people complain.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 7, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Hagel-Bloomberg would do one thing and that is guarantee a Democratic victory by splitting the GOP vote. If he really wanted to run as an independent he should pick up the Governor of Tennessee as his running mate.
That being said the Democrats know that they have the GOP on the ropes and they aren't about to jump ship now.

I'll tell you one person who they definitly shouldn't pick is Liebermann.

Posted by: Andy R | May 7, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Hagel is a great crossover candidate--until you look at his voting record. Then you realize the only reason he appears to be a cross-over candidate is his position on Iraq. The balance of his record positions him well to the right of many crossover voters.

Chris must have got some potent stuff this weekend to suggest Hagel and Bloomberg--nothing like matching up two candidates without name recognition. Would struggle to carry the Bronx.

Hagel might even have a tough fight to get re-elected, because his stance opposed to the Shrub will make it tough for him at home.

So I pick Door #3--time to go home and work behind the scenes, perhaps with his brother. No matter whether he's holding a title, he can command an audience and help create an anti-war sentiment where there isn't much of one now.

Posted by: pacman | May 7, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

First time poster here. One of Unity 08's requisites for a third party ticket is that the presidential and vice presidential candidates be of different political parties. Last time I looked, both Hagel and Bloomberg were registered Republicans. That ticket won't fly by Unity08's standards.

Posted by: rocric | May 7, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

DanW-i forgot about them. a 3rd party has to start small. forget about swinging for the fences. but with the corprate media focusing on the 2 parties. its going to have take money to get attention. is there any billionare libertarians around that could take a interest?

drindl-yeah, your right, but maybe 2010 or 2012 someone could have a party in place by then. oh yeah did you see what zouk said about me and you? that guy getting a little paranoid.

Posted by: spartan | May 7, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Chris some other things to consider:

Lets not forget Hagel's pledge to serve only two terms in the Senate.

When Democrats get wind of what he thinks of them and their party their love might fade a little bit.

Just a few weeks ago he said an idie run was "ludicrous."

And as long as people in the MSM (including you) give this chump the time of day, his candidacy is perpetuated.

Two Repubs running under Unity 08 is not really Unity is it? or bipartisan?

How can a guy with no base, no money, no staff, no consituency, and no message (remember he says he's not "anti-war") be taken so seriously?

Posted by: Whatever | May 7, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Veteran's Complaint
Miss Use Of Veterans Administration.
When a 100% disabled Veteran complains that public elected officials are using the Veterans administration for retribution and no one cares, what should be done? I have violated no laws or threaten any one. What I have done is set my medical problems aside to volunteer my time to help a Madbury NH family. United States citizens so desperate because the Madbury NH selectmen are using their political powers for revenge against local residents that the selectmen do not like. This Madbury family called me because of something that I said in a letter to the editor. I had never met this family before. Judge Peter Fauver knowingly with intent to harm allowed 29 constitutional crimes against the welfare of the United States. Judge James O'Neill approved these crimes to protect a brother judge. The NH supreme court ignored these crimes to protect their legal empire. The federal courts stated that judges have immunity from Constitutional crimes to protect their monopoly on power. When I will not stop my volunteer help to this family, NH declares me a terrorist and takes my freedom, stops my VA medical, fines me, uses the state police to scare my wife and kids and much more. This does not work so congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter uses here position on the Arm-Services committee to have VA Dr. Biswas sign a commitment order. A U.S. Congress woman files false police reports and the Lee and Dover NH police refuse to allow me to file a complaint.
I have complained to everyone from the President of the United States to the local officials. The Newspapers censor the truth. I ran for state and local elected office and my platform is blocked from the public. NH Governor Lynch charges me money to speak with him. Lynch takes my money and stiff's me. Am I crazy? This reads like a bad joke. The fact is that I can day after day write these facts and no one can stop me. The truth is a powerful weapon. I have done everything humanly possible to protect the dignity of our Constitution. The State of NH has tortured me as a means to silence a citizens free speech. I may be putting my efforts out for this one Madbury family but I do it for every United States citizen. If the NH and Federal government can use injuries that I received doing my tour in the Marine Corps to stop me, we as a nation are in deep trouble. The facts have been stated in court documents and much more. No one cares.
I was injured three times while serving. Twice in combat support missions during the Vietnam Conflict. I came back with no memory of the United States. I have a traumatic brain injury. I thought we had checks and balances built into our system of government to stop a dominate government. There is absolutely no reason every newspaper in the United Stats should not be compelled to print this letter. If the United States can allow our government to do this to me we are no better than I-a-toll-a. If the United States allows this to continue I beg you to allow the NH state police or the VA to kill me. Peter Macdonald Sgt USMC Semper Fi 465 Packersfalls rd Lee NH 03824 603-659-621

Posted by: Macdonald | May 7, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Spartan: The Liberterian party is doing just that. It just takes many election cycles because it doesn't start at the congressional level, it actually starts at the local and state legislative level.

Posted by: Dan W | May 7, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't think there's time now, spartan. But I wish he'd run too. I don't agree with him on most issues, but at least he has a brain and spine, two qualities missing from the rest of the R candidates.

Posted by: drindl | May 7, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

you know what, hagel should run. more ideals the better.

but here's a ideal for all 3rd party canidates, how about trying to get a slate of independent canidates elected? its funny how people like perot,nader, and possibly hagel could run for president and not try to get some sort of political base in congress. say if hagel wins and doesnt have a independant party in either the house or senate. he might side with one party but he wont be very effective during his term in office. my advice is start a 3rd party, start recruting for house and senate races,get a platform together. throw a convention. even if you lose, at least you might be able to steal away a few house or senate seats, hopefully enough to start on for the next election.

Posted by: spartan | May 7, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

'While The Fix has been skeptical about Unity '08 -- simply because the power of the two entrenched parties in American politics is hard to overestimate ' - So shouldn't the press go out of its way to try to educate the public on the other parties out there? And isn't the press complicent in the inability of the other parties to get a fair shake?

Posted by: Dan W | May 7, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

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