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The Case Against Chuck Hagel

After making the case for a presidential bid by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) on Wednesday, we promised you the case against on Thursday. But events intervened, as The Fix was traveling and wasn't able to find a reliable connection to the Internet.

Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska
The list of obstacles to a Hagel '08 campaign for the GOP nomination is very long. (Bloomberg Photo)

So, today we provide the promised case against a Hagel candidacy:

Mavericks Never Win

Primaries -- especially presidential primaries -- are about appealing to base voters. For Republicans, that means emphasizing a strong national defense, cutting taxes and saying all the right things about hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage. Hagel is far from the perfect fit for this sort of voter.

On the war in Iraq, he has been highly critical of President Bush -- more often finding agreement with the Democrats on the issue than with his own party. Regardless of where the nation as a whole is in regards to the war, the base of the Republican Party remains largely supportive of Bush's effort and views any call for a withdrawal as a recipe for a loss.

Hagel would almost certainly appeal to the segment of Republican voters that wants a change of course in Iraq and is ready to elect someone who represents a wide divergence from the current president. But it seems unlikely that Hagel would find a big enough niche as the anti-Bush candidate to make a real impact in the GOP primaries.

Need evidence of the difficulty as running as the anti-establishment candidate? Go back to 2000 when Sen. John McCain ran a campaign centered on his willingness to buck the party establishment. McCain's overall Senate record was quite conservative, but he chose to emphasize the fact that he was willing to speak truth to power -- regardless of who held power at the time.

Many voters (especially independents, Democrats and moderate-minded Republicans) flocked to that message, but McCain was not able to overcome the resistance of the conservative wing of his party. That bloc of voters played a crucial role in stunting McCain's momentum in the South Carolina primary. Hagel faces a similar scenario, even if he can gain real traction in the early primary states.

The other major problem he has is that McCain, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are already well on their way to raising tens of millions of dollars and building the state and national networks necessary to sustain a presidential bid. Hagel, in contrast, has done little to convince party insiders he is serious about a run for national office. He has hired no staff of note in early states and has not concentrated on raising money either through his Senate campaign committee ($141,000 on hand at the end of 2006) or PAC ($39,000). He appears visibly uncertain about whether he should run for president, reelection to the Senate or not all in 2008.

Donors don't like uncertainty in a candidate, so it's not hard to understand why Hagel has yet to generate any significant buzz in the financial world of the Republican Party. That lack of intensity is made worse by the fact that Nebraska is not anything close to a lucrative financial center where he could extract the seed money ($5 to $10 million) he would need to get a presidential bid off the ground.

Hagel's lack of financial resources -- and his dim prospects for a huge boost in the near future -- means that he would likely be hamstrung during the primary season against better-financed rivals. Even if Hagel's message if truly compelling, many people in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire may never get to hear it.

As The Fix argued on Wednesday, Hagel's best bet is to try and make an impact in Iowa. He could pour his entire budget into the state in hopes of finishing in the top three and scoring a bounce into New Hampshire -- a state that has rewarded renegade Republicans before (e.g. McCain in 2000).

But Hagel faces stiff competition from other candidates who also need to make a big statement in Iowa: McCain, who skipped the state in 2000, knows he must do well there in 2008; Sen. Sam Brownback (Kans.) and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.) are also pointing to the state as their first and best chance to grasp the mantle of conservative alternative in the race.

Not a good playing field for the Nebraska senator.

The comments section is open for debate.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 2, 2007; 8:38 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

I believe Hagel is a real Republican like the ones I used to know when I was one. I don't know who these Republicans are today - perhaps they are neo-conservatives who say they are cutting back on taxes but then hick up the cost of war. No real Republican would do that. What happened to my isolationists?

By the way...

Instead of spending so much money on the Iraq war ($340 billion) and the US military ($420 billion), we should be spending at least some of this on global poverty in order to discourage more terrorism and wars. According to the Borgen Project, in reality only .16% of our federal budget is spent on poverty reduction, the least among wealthy nations. We should let our representatives know that we want change.

Posted by: Renee | February 7, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

After six years of Bush portraying himself as the "Decider" (who turned out to be the "Divider"), Hagel may be the best choice to mend political divides and put this country on solid footing again. Hagel is not afraid to challenge the Bush/Cheney model - either you're with us, or you're against us - when it comes to supporting the Iraq War, something he has done now for a few years. To have a viable chance, Hagel will need to declare his candidacy soon, not only to take advantage of the positive media coverage of his stand against the Bush administration on the war issue, but to begin the process of wooing support and lining up backers. After enduring six years of mainly weak presidential leadership, in relation to so many issues (Katrina response, tepid response to North Korean nuclear tests, among others), America needs the leadership qualities and career background of Chuck Hagel.

Posted by: MichaelP in OR | February 5, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Well, Rick Moranis is not too psyched on the "save our planet from global warming because the well-to-do spontaneously decide to model responsible home consumption" idea...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/05/opinion/05moranis.html

Still thought it was a nice idea.

Posted by: Golgi | February 5, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Steve Nichols | February 4, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

What about Heather Wilson of New Mexico? She only won by about 1,300 votes and only because her opponent went blank for a while during the debate. Heather creamed her in the debate and that few minutes tipped the balance. Wilson's district has been turning more liberal every year with Wilson's margins growing smaller every year.

I think Wilson is in major trouble.

Posted by: Southern Girl | February 4, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Is Chuck Hagel "uncertain" about running? NO. He knows he doesn´t stand a chance, why should he? To give Republican rank & file a chance to vent their anger at his "betrayal"? He'd be a fool to give it a shot.
Should the GOP do what "Liberal Dems" say they fear the most and go for Hagel?
NO. That's a trap. First he would not get nominated; second, he could never win a national election without a strong Republican electorate support, which I believe will never happen.
Hagel running for the White House is a mirage.

Posted by: Miguel Ribeiro | February 3, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

William: you miss the point on Ron Paul, he is a libertarian first, a conservative second, a Republican third. I admire him in many ways, but if you're looking for a con, he ain't your guy.

Posted by: Steve | February 3, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

zouk, read the truth:

"We got Syrian absorption of Lebanon"

-for historical reasons that have a lot to do with western, including u.s., influence. it was not a situation that began in the '90's, nor could it have ended in the '90's. look at iraq now - hatred and rivalry in that part of the world has a lot to do with the legacy of colonialism, racism, and tne propping up of undemocratic governments who were willing puppets of the west, especially the u.s. and great britain.

"Afghanistan as an al Qaeda base"

-that right there has a lot to do with the decisions made in the '80's to fund and support islamic fundamentalists so that they could fight a proxy war with the soviet union. and who was u.s. president then? exactly.

"a Libyan WMD program"

-see above, "syrian absorption of lebanon."

"worldwide serial terrorist attacks"

-oh, you mean like munich? wait, that was in the '70's... or how about entebbe, or the achille lauro? '70's and '80's, respectively... well, how about fiji? beslan? madrid? regularly in india, pakistan...? those were all this decade. gosh, i guess we really CAN'T blame everything on bill clinton!

"Oslo"

-yes, a peace treaty represents the ultimate threat to peace.

"a Pakistani bomb"

-but i thought they were our allies in the "war on ter'r"? i notice, by the way, that you make no mention of the north korean nukes which came about after this president cut off negotiations...

"a full-bore Iranian nuclear program"

-what do you know that international inspectors don't?

"oil-for-food"

-guess we win, huh? now the average iraqis don't have enough food, and their oil supplies and pipelines are regularly attacked by terrorists - terrorists, by the way, who are a hundred times more common in iraq following the u.s. invasion. we gave them the perfect opportunity to come train against real u.s. soldiers.

"and 9/11"

- condi and her husb recieved a memo sometime in august 2001 entitled "bin laden determined to strike u.s.," or something like that, and specifically mentioning airplanes.

"Moonbat president with a pet goat"

-all right, i admit i made that one up.

Posted by: meuphys | February 3, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Haven't had time to read all zillion of the comments, so pardon if I repeat anything said above:

I have never voted for a Republican for president in my entire voting life. The last time I even remotely supported one was in 1964 with Goldwater, and that was because I was 11 and my dad supported him.

But Hagel, I could possibly vote for. It will depend on who the Dem candidate is - if it's Hillary vs. Hagel, then Hagel gets my vote, but if the Dems nominate Edwards, I'd have to rethink the thing a bit.

And the best possible reason to elect him would be to show the radical religious right, or the "Base", just how utterly irrelevant they ultimately are.

Their solid 20-25% will mean little to nothing when the other 75-80% of us are actually voting for a candidate with some political courage, and a willingness to say what total screw-ups the current Republican power structure truly are.

The Base's days are numbered as a political force of any consequence whatever, and Hagel might just be the candidate to hammer the last nail into their collective coffin.

One can but hope...Oh, and Chris? You really need to get out more. I know you travel around the country a lot more than most of your colleagues, but really - this analysis just really misses so many points, it's hard to know where to start.

Posted by: richmiles | February 3, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza,

Your analysis of what happened to John McCain's 2000 primary bid neglected one thing. Up until the South Carolina primary McCain was on a roll after his primary win in New Hampshire. In a fair fight Bush would never have won. It was because of a smear campaign led by Ted Sampley that McCain lost his lead in SC (yes he was leading by 20 points). It wasn't until after Bush won the SC primary that Bush finally said that no one should be questioning John McCain's patriotism and valor. In my opinion Bush was the coward for not standing up earlier.

Posted by: Craig Burkett | February 3, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

William, thanks for your reply and your compliments on my recent Etherzone.com article.

Paul is against amnesty. He is for controlling our borders. What is not for is for mass deporting all illegal immigrants (if that was even possible) or establishing national ID cards for everyone.

Paul understands the illegal immigration question is as much a local issue as it is a national issue. Some communities are going to be more tolerant of immigration than others. Some communities want to crack down on illegals, other are "sanctuary" cities. Paul will let this stand I believe. Those communities like Hazelton, PA., that want to enact tougher laws on illegals, he'll let them. He's not going to sick the Justice Department on them. On the other hand, I doubt if he's going to build up the ICE into an army to hunt down illegal immigrants, either.

Ron Paul's America will be America should be, what the Founding Fathers intended to be before it was destroyed in 1865: To each his own.

The Powers that Be may try to keep Paul out and maybe they'll succeed but them themselves are also divded and that's the perfect time to strike against them. Never before has the GOP field been so wide open and the establishment so divided and discredited. As I said, if a majority of Republicans turn against this war and I believe they will, Paul will have a chance.

I agree his Libertarian past will be used against him if he becomes a serious threat but Paul is against abortion and mass drug legalization, he would not have the same problems most libertarians do running for office.

Posted by: Sean Scallon | February 2, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- You didn't actually answer me regarding all the "success" we've been having in Iraq. Also, I didn't insult you at all. I simply pointed out that only you and Dick Cheney think things are going well in Iraq.

As far as MY obligation to come up with a plan, that's an interesting response. I read political blogs my friend, so I don't pretend to be a professional. But even I can tell that what we've been doing in Iraq AINT WORKING. There are - officially - no good options left in Iraq thanks to this president. The question going forward is who do we trust to help us pick the LEAST BAD opion; GWB and his crew don't have a track record that inspires, so I'll give the new folks in Congress a chance to come up with something new. That's my view. Feel free to hold onto the current plan though -- stay the course and just keep on hoping that victory springs out of thin air.

Posted by: Colin | February 2, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

For example:

Fourth, there is the "what next?" dilemma. It is fine for Democrats to talk of "redeployment" out of Iraq, "engagement" with Syria and Iran, more soft power, Europeans and the United Nations, organizing "regional interests," etc. -- until one realizes that we did mostly just that for most of the 1990s.

And? We got Syrian absorption of Lebanon, Afghanistan as an al Qaeda base, a Libyan WMD program, worldwide serial terrorist attacks, Oslo, a Pakistani bomb, a full-bore Iranian nuclear program, Oil-for-Food -- and 9/11. If one doubts any of this, just reflect on why the Democrats have not offered any specific alternative plans. And when pressed, they usually talk only of "talking" and thereby bring embarrassment to even their liberal questioners.


Retort if you can.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 2, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

As usual, when confronted with facts and reason, the bLibs resort to name calling and character assassination. what does the owner of a newspaper have to do with whether an argument has justification. I must assume that is all you have. then you preceed with the name calling and never even answer the points expressed. this is in the manner of the worst of blogs.

If you dare, take a look at a military scholar who actually knows something:


http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGM2Y2Q1YjYzYzc4NjhiYzI2NzliNGU4M2M4NzhkODk=

I expect most of you will say something like "It's on National Review and therefore invalid"

I could just as reliable reply that your view is on the fix and therefore totally wacky. try to concentrate on the arguments given for once. show that you are not the party of adolescents.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 2, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

drindl you didnt answer the question you stupid moron

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Sean, unfortunately, the powers that be in the GOP leadership will never give Paul the chance to win the nomination.

Also, I like Paul a lot. But he has to clarify his positions on some issues. The LP supports open borders. What is Paul's view on this? If he is pro-amnesty, I will not support him, nor would most other conservatives.

Also, he has weird, even somewhat liberal, positions on some issues, which has lead to him receiving a 83 rating from the ACU (IIRC) as opposed to Tancredo's 100.

But if Paul clarifies his views, and is anti-amnesty, I would support him. I think he would make a good POTUS.

But I think I would pick Tancredo over Paul. Coincidentally, I read your article yesterday about Tancredo being a "one trick pony." Your article was good, but I disagree. Tancredo is reliably conservative on EVERY issue, whereas Paul has questionable stances on some issues.

Tancredo is certified tough on immigration. I don't think Paul is.

But I really would like to see an outsider, even Hunter, get the nomination.

We need some fresh faces in the WH.

Frustratingly, the media is acting as if the minimum requirement to be a serious presidential contender is being a senator or governor.

SO the media plays up Obama, a 2 yr senator, while ignoring Hunter, a 20 year Congressman.

I think experience in Congress is as valid as experience in the Senate. A long-serving Congressman would make a good POTUS, and the media should start taking Congresspeople running for POTUS seriously.

And Congressmen have successfully won the presidency before.

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Only six GOP House members voted against the War in Iraq. They were 4 liberal Republicans, including Jim Leach none of whom are in Congress any more.

The other two were paleo-conservatives: John Nathan Hostettler (lost reelection), and Ron Paul (reelected by wide margin.)

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- General Casey said that in excess of of 50% of Iraq is hostile territory not under the control of the US or the Iraqui government. Just to be clear, you consider that success, right? Even hawks like McCain and Lindsey Graham think the current situation in Iraq is a disaster and that if this current "new plan" doesn't work we're in BIG trouble. Honestly, other than Dick Cheney I can't think of ANYONE other than you that thinks things are going great in Iraq. Hope you enjoy his company -- I hear he's a blast to go hunting with at least.

Posted by: Colin | February 2, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Afrikkaner = Boer

William = Bore

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

This board got really far away from dicussing Chuck Hagel and made its way to personal insults, liberal and consevative propaganda and discussions about the legitimacy of CNN/FOX

Posted by: WoW | February 2, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

By the fall of this year if nothing changes Iraq, I predict a majority of Republicans will turn against the war. And being an anit-war Republican will be a powerful position to be in, not a negative one.

Now will that anti-war Republican be Chuck Hagel? For some who is a presidential possibility, he sure hasn't planned on running. He has no money nor organization right now. Maybe he is changing his mind, but running for president is not something you do when you are half-hearted and if Hagel's heart is not into it he won't do it. Hopefully he'll still be in the U.S. Senate for another term.

But there is one Republican who can fill the antiwar niche and that's U.S. Ron Paul (R-Tex) who has an exploratory committee going right now. Unlike Hagel, he voted against the war as far back as 2002. He doesn't have to recant his views. He has a following both inside and out of the party that could lead to a broad coalition of support from libertarians, traditional conservative (not the phony ones), paleos, and even some leftists as well. Yes it's a long shot but whomever is the antiwar Republican in 2008 could be in a powerful position and that gives Rep. Paul all the chance he needs.

Posted by: Sean Scallon | February 2, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, if we've already won in Iraq, then what's the problem? You're always saying how liberals want to lose. If we've already won, then leaving now is fine.

Brad, you were asked what winning would look like in Iraq. Your answer was about Darfur and Rwanda. Answer the question that was asked. You say that the war in Iraq must be won. What does it mean to win?

Posted by: Blarg | February 2, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

'Judge - in many respects we have already won in Iraq, '

More hilarity ensues.

'With the administration trying to whip up hysteria about Iran's alleged training of attackers, Tom Lasseter of McClatchy details Muqtada al-Sadr's success in getting the U.S. to train his own men:

After U.S. units pounded al-Sadr's men in August 2004, the cleric apparently decided that instead of facing American tanks, he'd use the Americans' plans to build Iraqi security forces to rebuild his own militia.

So while Iraq's other main Shiite militia, the Badr Brigade, concentrated in 2005 on packing Iraqi intelligence bureaus with high-level officers who could coordinate sectarian assassinations, al-Sadr went after the rank and file.

His recruits began flooding into the Iraqi army and police, receiving training, uniforms and equipment either directly from the U.S. military or from the American-backed Iraqi Defense Ministry.

The result:

"Half of them are [Mahdi army]. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division.... "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city [Baghdad]. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I think we should all take up a collection and send William to South Africa to stand with the valiant boers. He could take his toy gun collection with him.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Brad, you got William's story really quick. He's quite a little racist spawn. I think he goes to Bob Jones or Liberty U.

The Boers deseerve it, William, as do you.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

so drindl do you think we should send troops to occupy Darfur against the will of the sovereign government of the Glorious Republic of Sudan?

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

'As for the war for oil - ignorant remark - please explain how we have benefited from Iraqi oil so far? or how we will benefit from it in the future exactly?'

"WE" will not benefit from the oil, Brad. The global oil companies, our masters, will. Do you really think that it is a 'coincidence' that we invaded the country with the world's largest untapped supply of oil? At a time when supplies are running out and competition for it is heating up?

Are you really that naive? Just this last week, the Iraqi government signed a deal that will give a consortium of oil companies {Chevron, Exxon, BP and a couple others] rights to the Iraqi oil for 30 years. Approximately 80% of the profits will go to these companies... a small portion will go to the Iraqi government.

"we' will get nothing from it. In fact, we will pay very dearly for it.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Brad, you think Darfur will invade us if we don't help them???

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

'Lark, Tony Blankley is with the Washington Times as their editor.'

The Wahsington Times is a rightwing mouthpiece of the Korean Unification Church, run by Reverend Moon, the 'Messiah' and a billionaire.

How much credibility does that have for you? Are these the people you believe in?

Posted by: Lark | February 2, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

'moonbats'

ROFLOL -- spoken like a true dittohead.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

ah Brad, seems to be drinking that "genocide is bad" koolaid

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Brad: I support our troops, being one a long time ago and I cannot see how anyone could support this war when the reasons given were all wrong. The loss not only to our own but for what?

Posted by: lylepink | February 2, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

William -
I assume you will still feel that way when your are hold up in a closet in your bedroom with the wolves are at the door after they ate everyone else because you chose to ignore them while they were pups........
Your's is a selfish attitude & I'm glad that attitude didnt prevail in WWII or we'd all be speaking German & goose-steppin to a new beat.
Seems to smell like racism? Problem with blacks do we??

Posted by: Brad | February 2, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"We should be in Dafur and Rwanda and other places - instead we leave it up to an impotent U.N."


Ummmm, no.

In Rwanda, the genocide is over. So why should we go there? It's been over for like 8 years.

In Darfur, the last thing we need is another Mogadishu, with our troops going into a disease-ridden foreign sh*t-hole to fight someone else's civil war.

As cruel as this may sound, Darfur is not an American problem. It's not in our interest to put troops on the ground there, and no American soldier should die for Darfur. American soldiers should only be asked to die or be maimed fighting for America and our interests.

The Sudanese, including the Darfur citizens, were resentful under British rule and wanted to be independent. They got their wish. Now they are independent. They didn't want to be under Western rule, so it's not the Wests' problem what goes on there. They don't deserve, and shouldn't get our help.

People in barbarian places like Darfur have been killing each other for centuries. It won't be the first genocide, and it certainly won't be the last.

The Africans hated Whitey and wanted to have "black power" and be free. So let them fend for themselves. Let Black Supremacist President Thabo Mbeki sort out the situation in Darfur. It's an African problem. Let the Africans deal with it. It doesn't affect us.

Remember, this is a continent where people rape little babies because they think it will cure AIDS. There is rampant cannibalism, human sacrifice, and other uncivilized practices.

Let them kill each other off, and the last one left alive do us all a favor and turn off the light.

We shouldn't send our troops in there to die, be injured, or catch leprosy, AIDS or some other ghastly disease. We gain nothing by helping Darfur.

Besides, there is another genocide going on in Africa, in South Africa, where blacks are systematically torturing, brutally raping and murdering white Boers. How come no one talks about THAT genocide?

Maybe when the blacks stop killing the whites in SA I will care about Darfur.

Until then, no.

The Boers ended apartheid, and this is the thanks they get.

Save the Boers before we save Darfur.

Aside from exerting political pressure on the Sudan govt and maybe sending some food, we shouldn't waste our money or military on Darfur.

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Tyranny & Oppression isnt specific to borders on a map. To think the oppression the Iraqi people (non-combatants) feel at the hands of fanatics is any different than oppression in Dafur or Rwanda or under communism in Stalinist Russia or facism in Nazi Germany is naive. To state so is bordering on bigotry & racism at Iraqis....why the bitterness?

Posted by: Brad | February 2, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Judge - in many respects we have already won in Iraq, despite the constant propaganda to the opposite by the NYT and CNN. Saddam is gone, we no longer have to worry about Iraq developing WMD, Syria is on the run, there has been three elections in Iraq, Iran is emerging as the actual enemy and even the nimwits at CNN will eventually have to recognize this. the iraqi economy is booming, patents, schools, businesses are opening in record numbers, the free press is back. etc. If you insist on harping on the single measure your side can engorge - US deaths, it is actually quite low historically speaking for a foreign war. but oh my goodness, this war has not gone perfectly - historical ignorance at its finest.

One must drain the swamp eventually and kill the hidden gators. we are killing them at a ratio of 30 to 1. this is not losing. If we could abandon some of our silly PC attitude, we could win rather quickly. how about we kill all Iranians found? how about we blast mosques with killers inside?

Stop accepting the CNN lies and consider the facts. don't chant your talking points in response, believe me, I have herad them, given them the due weight and consideration they deserve and incorporated them. Have you considered anything but what you hear form the susan sarandon wing? they are clearly totally ignorant of any reality. they pretend for a living. and exactly what credentials do they present to make their case - I was in a good movie several years back - listen to me about foreign policy. Tee he.

so let's hear a fact based argument from the surrender party. What is your plan for US security? If we pull out, what are the consequences? will we let Iran have the bomb? will we never confront them forcefully? what if diplomacy (your magic solution) continues to fail, despite us beding over and inviting our own ravishing? You Libs are tellingly silent on anything but contrarianism and naive and adolescent musings.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 2, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I know the answer! She'd say "Who's talking about Darfur and Rwanda? The question was about what winning would look like in Iraq. Stop trying to change the subject."

Did you have something else in mind?

Posted by: Blarg | February 2, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

To drindl and others: contrary to what some on this site appear to believe, Chuck Hagel is not a traditionalist, Goldwater Republican.

He's simply a flaky Republican.

I think Hagel's foreign policy would be similar to Clinton's, ie a multi-lateral, "global test," foreign policy.

Hagel supports the Assault Weapons Ban and is weak on guns.

On immigration, Hagel is a disaster, and is completely pro-amnesty.

Also, he is flaky on gay marriage. He claims to oppose it, but doesn't want it to be illegal.

Chuck's views on gay marriage remind me of Dem's views on abortion: "safe, legal, and rare."

That's not gonna cut it in the primary.

If Brownback was not pro-amnesty, and he supported the death penalty more strongly, he would probably be generating more support. Also, Brownback would get more excitement from evangelicals if he was Protestant.

But since the "conservative" candidates (Brownback and Schmuckabee) are heavily pro-amnesty and weak on the death penalty, a lot of grassroots support that would have given them much more support is not there.

Most Republicans don't like McCain, ROmney or Guliani, but since Brownback and Huckabee don't fit their mold, and fail the litmus test on key issues, a LOT of conservatives are simply disenchanted and are not supporting anyone, which may lead to McCain or Romney getting nominated.

If McCain, Romney, or Guiliani are nominated, GOTV is going to be a colossal problem.

Conservatives might flock to Tancredo, but most people don't think he is a serious candidate. He is probably just "running" to raise awareness of illegal immigration. If he DOES become serious, he may pick up some steam.

But personally I think he is more effective in COngress.

As for Ron Paul, I like him, but he is kind of weird on some issues.

What will probably happen is that Hunter, Tancredo, Paul, and Gilmore will badly split the conservative vote, leaving Romney or McCain to run away with the nomination.

I can't see Guliani getting nominated under any circumstances.


As for the Democratic nomination, it's shaping up to be a real battle.

Hillary won't let anyone stand in her way though. She will ruin Obama, if that's what it takes.

But she also has to watch out for Edwards, and of Gore enters the race, expect a real war.

If Gore did enter, I think he would walk away with the nomination easily.

I don't see the other candidates like Vilsack, Dodd, Biden, Richardson, etc taking off.

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Judge -
Instead of asking me (another fat happy American) what "winning" would look like - ask a mother in Dafur or Rwanda or Kosovo what "winning" would look like for her & her children. I think you know the answer.

Posted by: Brad | February 2, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

2 things:

1) thanks for the info on the 10k, good way to pay bills while expressing my fervent belief that scare based science is hardly ever good science ;)

2) Interesting fact on the CC. When Hagel ran for Senate in 96, he definitely underplayed his social beliefs, if that's correct. A very good reason for me not to vote for him, as I find the CC to be noxious and a leading contributor to political warming, which threatens our way of life far more than any human contribution to global warming does.

Posted by: Colin | February 2, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

We should be in Dafur and Rwanda and other places - instead we leave it up to an impotent U.N.
Are there innocents in Iraq? What about the day laborer lined up at a bus just to get enough money for the day to feed his family who is then blown up by a religious fanatic. Remember ALOT more Iraqis are dying every day than U.S. soldiers - they arent all just terrorists killing each other - if that were the case then go ahead pull out & let em have at it.
As for the war for oil - ignorant remark - please explain how we have benefited from Iraqi oil so far? or how we will benefit from it in the future exactly?

Posted by: Brad | February 2, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

This is a completely one-sided debate so far. I can keep asking "what does 'winning' look like, exactly?" because no one has answered it. Saying its when "other innocents in this world gain the same freedoms our fore fathers fought for" is just sophomoric hand-waving from our supposed 'grandfather.'

Oh, BTW, I'm the king of the world. Give me all your money.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 2, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey Lark, Tony Blankly was on PBS, where the McLauglin Group is aired. I did not say FOX TV, that was your viewpoint.

Again, Hagel has ZERO chance. Look at the polls, has he ever been over 1 or 2%? NO.

Hagel has to rally the GOP base. He can knock on doors, but no one is home.

Lark, Tony Blankley is with the Washington Times as their editor. He might have his finger into the conservative pice but it is not stuck in the wind. Sorry, but you can go beat up on someone else.

Posted by: Joe | February 2, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I see the usual moonbats are out attacking the messenger and ignoring the message as usual. why don't just one of you concentrate on the point being debated, try to come up with a simple argument and leave personalities out of it. If your only retort is that you heard it on fox news, i think that says heaps about the strength of your position. I got this argument from CNN so it is bulletproof.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 2, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Considering that the 1/3rd of the U.S. that still supports President Bush's war effort are probably all Republican the odds of Sen. Hagel WINNING the GOP nomination are slim to none. However, to say that he does not have a constituency within the GOP is premature. We don't know because no one like that has run since Pete McCloskey in 1972.

Not many expect him to register as even a blip, but given that he's likely to be the only anti-Iraq War candidate he might surprise.

If he was a better fiscal conservative I might be inclined to support him, but like with Sen. McCain one repeatedly has to wonder how far that commitment goes.

The more he talks the less of a maverick and the more like a liberal he begins to seem (abortion issue not-withstanding).

Posted by: Cavalier829 | February 2, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

What has Fox News got to do with anything?

Posted by: Brad | February 2, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Brad, I apologize if your son is in Iraq. But I don't think there are many 'innocents' over there. And I don't think they especially want western-style democracy -- they have voted for Shia theocracy. We are there for oil.

'Dont we have an obligation to help the innocent, down-trodden & terrorized?'

If that's what we were doing, we would be in Darfur.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

fox news is owned and bankrolled by a republican strategist. get the picture? it is a pure propganda outlet.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

First - "some of our best" DOES include my family (my son if fact!)
Second - winning is achieved when other innocents in this world gain the same freedoms our fore fathers fought for and we have spend decades improving. What makes us special? Dont we have an obligation to help the innocent, down-trodden & terrorized? Take some time to REALLY read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights - arent these principles universal? or just for fat comfortable Americans....

Posted by: Brad | February 2, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"here's a boy who'se just had a big pitcher of purple kool-aid for breakfast and he's setting the record straight for us"

Probably right on both counts ('boy' and kool-aid) Drindl. Although it's hard to distinguish delusion from extreme sarcasm when a real drooler like this appears to show up.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 2, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Jeez you guys have a little respect... this Brad says he has grandkids. If you think it is productive to insult him, well and good, but pick something more creative than calling this grandfather a little boy. Sheesh.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

So Judge, watching fox news is propaganda but watching CNN is reality. Hmmmm. the usual Dem propaganda. I can only guess that you support the Hush rush bill and the campaign finance incumbant protection bill. I personally prefer the First amendment.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 2, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I think biden has all the clean Blacks and slurpee serving Indian votes wrapped up.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 2, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Brad: you've missed the backstory here. In regards to your statement "but it MUST be won" what does 'winning' look like, exactly?

A totally unrelated question: does establishing a Shiite theocracy (another Iran, essentially, that country currently part of "the axis of evil" if you'll recall) seem worth the "sacrifice some of our best" to you? I'm really, really curious to hear your answer.

If you can't answer either question then please go back to watching Faux News and leave the thinking to the adults.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 2, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

FREEDOM, LIBERTY & JUSTICE FOR ALL - NOT JUST FOR FAT HAPPY LAZY AMERICANS!!

wow -- those iraqis are enjoying their 'freedom' all right -- and using it to kill our soldiers. working out reall well -- for them and the iranians and syrians, their friends.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

'The War in Iraq IS PART OF THE ONGOING WAR ON TERROR! It may be a difficult struggle and we may sacrifice some of our best but it MUST be won.'

sorry judge, i forgot -- but look, here's a boy who'se just had a big pitcher of purple kool-aid for breakfast and he's setting the record straight for us...

I would guess that 'someof our best' are not in his family..

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Hagel & the other pseudo-republican ilk make me sick to call myself a conservative republican. If another viable conservative party ever forms you can bet I'll be first in line to sign up. The War in Iraq IS PART OF THE ONGOING WAR ON TERROR! It may be a difficult struggle and we may sacrifice some of our best but it MUST be won. We cannot possibly expect that pulling out of Iraq now has ANY positives for our children & grandchildren. These 60's vietnam era throw-backs need to wake up& put down the dope. I would have thought a vietnam vet would understand better than the hippies what is at stake. Where is the greatest generation when we need them? We're left with a bunch of pacifists who are gonna leave the fight to my grandchildren because they cant stand up for what is right - FREEDOM, LIBERTY & JUSTICE FOR ALL - NOT JUST FOR FAT HAPPY LAZY AMERICANS!!

Posted by: Brad | February 2, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"How exactly is Hagel anything but a rock-ribbed social conservative again?"

When your reality is defined by the right wing blowhards over at Fox News who hate the truth.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Steve -- Hagel has consistently been given 100% ratings by the Christian Coalition. How exactly is Hagel anything but a rock-ribbed social conservative again?

Posted by: Colin | February 2, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Hagel's only chance is as the (not so) DARK HORSE.

Posted by: Peter L. | February 2, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Shhh, Drindl, the truth emboldens the enemy and demoralizes our troops!! And everybody knows that words uttered/written thousands of miles away are far more utterly demoralizing than being shot at by the very people we are training!! Just ask anyone on Faux News!!

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 2, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I have a thought that Chuck will not run despite a strong effort by his supporters.

Posted by: lylepink | February 2, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

its always entertaining to read personal opinions on "HOW' other persons will vote as well as whose opinion is the only one that counts,

a comment was made that a Tony Blankley on McLaughlin's roundtable made the comment that no Republican will vote for Hagel. He may be a seer, all knowing and full of it. The one fact is that he was Newt Gingrich's bag man and is fortunate to be considered an intellectual Republican.

The two cents worth is that the forthcoming election will most likely be entirely different than previous ones in that the American citizen will judge the candiates on more than their party affiliation.

More and more just plain American's are again proving that they are not as dumb as the Blankley's, Perle's, Wolfowitz's, Kritol's, McCain's, Hillary's and other neocons believe them to be.

The probability that a "maverick" type might be what most intelligent and fed-up Americans vote for is a Hagel more so than some of chameleons of both parties who have announced their intentions.

Posted by: yknot. | February 2, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

This is why the concept of 'winning' is Iraq has become ludicrous. They play our dumba** 'leaders' like chumps:

'With the administration trying to whip up hysteria about Iran's alleged training of attackers, Tom Lasseter of McClatchy details Muqtada al-Sadr's success in getting the U.S. to train his own men:

After U.S. units pounded al-Sadr's men in August 2004, the cleric apparently decided that instead of facing American tanks, he'd use the Americans' plans to build Iraqi security forces to rebuild his own militia.

So while Iraq's other main Shiite militia, the Badr Brigade, concentrated in 2005 on packing Iraqi intelligence bureaus with high-level officers who could coordinate sectarian assassinations, al-Sadr went after the rank and file.

His recruits began flooding into the Iraqi army and police, receiving training, uniforms and equipment either directly from the U.S. military or from the American-backed Iraqi Defense Ministry.

The result:

"Half of them are [Mahdi army]. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division.... "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city [Baghdad]. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Every day now, IN every media outlet, I read something like this:

'Hundreds of workers in Iran have set up piping, control panels and electric cables for Tehran's underground uranium enrichment plant, diplomats said Friday the final step before installing equipment that countries fear could be used to make nuclear arms.

The move marks an escalation of the confrontation between Tehran and the world's major powers over the Islamic republic's nuclear program and will likely spur U.S. efforts to sharpen existing U.N. sanctions slapped on Iran for its defiance of a Security Council demand that it freeze enrichment efforts.

A top Iranian nuclear official said U.N. inspectors have set up cameras in Natanz to monitor the activity. The official, speaking on condition anonymity because he was not authorized to give statements to media, said the cameras were put in place over the past few days, ending Thursday.'

'diplomats' said. anonymous diplomats, of course. A 'top iranian nuclear official' who speaks --anonymously. All of them are like this -- completely and utterly unsourced, unsubstantiated, unfounded.

But they weave through the day's narrative, buidling up a substantial, though subtle, outrage at Iran, so when the time comes to attack, the public will be supportive, and they won't even know why, except we've always been at war with eastasia, i mean Iran.

There is, of course, an Iran Study Group in DC disseminating this 'info', just like there was for Iraq. It's amazing how subtle this is, and how effective...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

a couple things here:

1) organizationally, Hagel is lagging, but I wouldn't be too concerned about cash. He has very large personal reserves, and Omaha has a very large affluent community-- berkshire millionaires and Mutual and Kiewit are both headquartered there. It ain't NY, but there's a lot more money floating around there than most people understand.

2) the biggest obstacle, and the one that is likely to keep him out of the race is that he is out of step with the base on social issues. I think Iraq ends up being a net wash even within the Repub. party, but you can't be ambivalent on abortion and evangelical concerns and expect to draw enough primary votes to challenge for the nomination... that said, McCain softsells his abortion position, Giuliani is pro-choice, and Romney is awfully squishy on the topic. Hagel's more nuanced position actually reflects GWB in 2000, the problem for him, is I can't see him talking in code, like GWB did to get the evangelical vote.

Posted by: Steve | February 2, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

...btw, i quit.

'rumors about mccain's illegitimate black child.'

oh absoutely... the very people who slimed mccain [and his family] he rushed to embrace this time and even hired them. he has no dignity left, no self-respect-- he's a craven, tired, grasping old sell-out. a pity.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Hagel doesn't get Republican voters excited. He should just hang it up.

If he was serious, he would be out there mtg. with voters, trying to connect with them, and be making policy speeches and other endorsements. Right now he is just another Senator who fantasizes about being president.

Watch out for Huckabee as the dark horse to woo conservative voters

Posted by: Gerald | February 2, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Colin, for pointing out how VERY lucrative it is for people to come on line here and try to undermine science. Now some of the illiterati will come on and tal about their favorite tinfoil hats, but as it happens, two years ago I worked for the largest advertising conglomerate in the world [500 global agencies] and we were assigned a task by our new client, exxon mobil.

That was to create astroturf 'green' websites to 'debunl' global warming and infiltrate web chat communities with disinformation. They are quite sophisticated at 'guerilla' propaganda, and of course we have the most gullible people on the planet in this country,, who will swallow whatever rush or whatever winger tells them, so that they are now unable even to recognize facts.

I give up on em... I'm just moving to higher ground.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Hagel would find more support from Republican primary voters than Cillizza is estimating at this point. The firts primary is almmost an year away, and mr. Bush has not shown any indication of doing any bettr with the persecution of the misbegotten war. The staunchiest of the Republicans would find it hard to vote against Hagelm just on the basis of him having been against th president from his own party. There may be other reasons he may not get the nomination, but this is not it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

"Primaries -- especially presidential primaries -- are about appealing to base voters."

To this comment CC could've added "and no base is more biddable than that of the GOP." Jumping through the hoops of the dumbed-down component of America that thinks that gay marriage and flag-burning constitute distinct threats is not something that Chuck Hagel will do.

As has been suggested, Hagel should realize ASAP that his only recourse is to run as an independent. Had McCain joined with Kerry in 2004 (laughable at some levels I know but effective) we would have a different President, a much better managed war and something called diplomacy (oh, the horror!!!).

While Hagel will undoubtedly have an uphill battle as an independent (as if running for President is sometimes easy?) he'll be much more likely to be successful in the long run if the GOP proceeds to nominate a candidate who currently supports what ~75% of America hates: the war in Iraq as it is currently being waged. Another distinct lesson from Vietnam that the GOP seems resolutely determined to forget.

I haven't a clue as to who will will in the GOP primaries. However, in the general election, McCain is a Dead Candidate Walking. As an 'I' Hagel would easily take a larger percentage of the R vote especially if he could stomach allying himself with a conservative, hawkish D. The resulting shock wave would split the R party and could be very good for its 'soul.' I'd love to see the Dobson/Taliban/KKK wing go off by itself and restore the R label to its former intellectual glory.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 2, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

and chris, for the record, you say:

"McCain was not able to overcome the resistance of the conservative wing of his party. That bloc of voters played a crucial role in stunting McCain's momentum in the South Carolina primary."

i thought it was general knowledge that rather than the "conservative wing" and "that bloc of voters," it was karl rove, push-polling and deniably spinning rumors about mccain's illegitimate black child. i'm sure i read about this in this very paper. does anyone else remember this?

Posted by: meuphys | February 2, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

You know, its not like Mitt Romney is the most appealing character himself. I automatically get bored every time I hear that name, because I just know he will not be elected President.

We have plenty of time here....

Posted by: jojo | February 2, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

interesting that so many seem to have a clear sense of who can and can't be nominated in the GOP. i myself have no idea - first it was mccain, despite his role as the maverick who democrats could support (in 2000), then giuliani, but oh those social issues! now maybe hagel? i for one am willing to admit that i have no idea. as long as it isn't brownback, huckabee, or mitt the twit romney. not that there's any risk i would vote for a republican anyway...

Posted by: meuphys | February 2, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Steve, did you get your money yet? This article says you're entitled to 10K

"Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.
Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,2004399,00.html

Posted by: Colin | February 2, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

(Just a tip for the vast multitudes of Hollywood celebrities who also happen to be avid political junkies and bloggers.)

Posted by: Golgi | February 2, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

>>>So what do you propose we do to fight global warming, aside from reducing emissions?

Would be nice if people would insulate their homes, quit making a fetish of 12-foot ceilings --


Hollywood celebs, this is the next great social movement... slimming down your household energy consumption.

You have the power to set a great example for the good of the whole planet.

The coolest Hollywood stars are going to be whoever are the first ones to tear down their giant wasteful homes, donate the materials to be reused, and retrofit decently sized older houses into their new green homes.

Posted by: Golgi | February 2, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

As someone who pretends to be independent, but often ends up on the side of liberal democrats, Hagel is someone I could vote for. Even where I disagree with him, I am at least comforted by the fact that he is reasoned and often reasonable. He might not make it through the primaries but he could probably have a shot in the general election. The fact that he can give me comfort on ag subsidies despite being from Nebraska says a lot.

Posted by: kate | February 2, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Hagel will not win over the loyal/emotion driven ideologues in the GOP who feel a personal bond with (many of whom state that Bush is "preacher in chief") Bush. This despite the fact that Hagel's voting record is closer to Bush than any other GOP senator over the past 6 years! Also a fact The Fix failed to mention. Look the record up. Amazing. It also shows how Cheney dismisses this extensive and loyal record with one stupid quote about the 11th Commandment (Reagan's) and you will never see that fact about Hegal's voting record on FOX.
He does have a chance this time around because there are factors that may complicate the runs of other candidates in the primaries(age, lifestyle, extreme abortion views,etc). And his lack of $$ will be well compensated by extensive free air time and focus in the media. But getting the GOP nomination will be very hard. The GOP has nominated a Bush, Dole or Nixon on every ticket except once (1964) in the past 50+ years!!! They like establishment candidates more than the Dems. who tend to pick outsiders (except Mondale in 1984)
He's positioned well to be a VP candidate to create a crossover ticket in the general election.

Posted by: AG | February 2, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Except for the war, Hagel is a typical conservative midwestern Republican. Check his voting record and ratings: e.g. 100% by the Christian Coalition. And there are several candidates that fill that niche: McCain, Huckabee, Brownbeck. As a "maverick", hard to be nominated. You have to be someone else's V.P. and that person dies (Teddy Rosevelt, Harry Truman)

As for a true appeal to Democrats, the acid test for that will be whether he can say "Democratic". His record (anti-choice, for example) won't help much.

A run as an Independent puts him in the fringe of American politics (Perot, Buchanan).

My guess: stay in the Senate, if he can stand the agita.

Posted by: RonC. | February 2, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

also continuing from yesterday -

>>>So what do you propose we do to fight global warming, aside from reducing emissions?

Would be nice if people would insulate their homes, quit making a fetish of 12-foot ceilings, and eat more locally grown vegetables and less beef.

That would cut their own energy bills and prolong their own healthy lives, too, so nobody loses.

Posted by: Golgi | February 2, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

continuing from yesterday -

"I have to tell you, if science can't tell you what the weather is going to be like on Sunday with a high degree of probability, why would we believe that it will be able to tell you fifty years from Friday with any kind of accuracy at all?" (posted by Steve)

This is a common misunderstanding. Past data predict *trends* very well. That doesn't mean that past data have to also predict *individual events* well.

For an analogy, you can start from the data that a new Congress is beginning, and use that data to predict quite accurately that a large number of people will be moving in and out of Washington DC that year. But you can't get from that data alone (that a new Congress is beginning) to predict exactly which individuals will move where.

Global warming in general is a trend, like people moving in general. Friday's weather is an individual event, like an individual person moving to a specific place.

Science can predict the first one, trends over the course of decades, very well.

Posted by: Golgi | February 2, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Hagel -- not a snowball's chance... or a glacier's, i guess

'The Post fronts, and everyone else mentions, the latest violence in Iraq, where two suicide bombers targeted a market in Hilla and killed at least 63 people. Also, an American soldier died on Thursday in Anbar. Yesterday, the Iraqi government announced it has invited Syria and Iran to a regional security conference in Baghdad next month.'

So when Bush is pushing to confront Iran, how will he react to a 'regional conference' in baghad -- with syria and iran as invitees -- sounds to me like Maliki is getting a little independent. How much you want to be he's ousted soon in favor of a more malleable puppet?

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I think Hagel's best chance to win the nomination is to convince GOP primary voters that he's the only candidate who can save the party from certain disaster in 2008. Now, if the situation in Iraq continues to erode and Republican poll numbers continue to drop as we head into 2008, this scenario could occur. Even neocons would rather nominate Hagel than concede the White House to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

http://commenterry.blogs.com

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | February 2, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Earlier this week, USAT quoted scientists saying the global-warming report would conclude there was "virtual certainty" global warming was caused by human activities, which translates into a 99 percent chance. Today, the LAT says many scientists believed the higher certainty should have been used but China strongly resisted. For the first time, the report says it is "more likely than not" that strong hurricanes and cyclones were caused by global warming. But, as the NYT also notes, some scientists are saying the report's conclusions on rising sea levels and the extent of warming are too conservative and the actual figures are significantly higher.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Florida's governor announced the plans for the voting systems yesterday and the state legislature is expected to approve the change, which will cost $32.5 million. Several states and counties have been recently moving toward voting with some sort of paper trail. Florida could be the first state to throw away a system that was believed to be the answer to the 2000 election debacle.

Posted by: Hallelujah | February 2, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

USA Today leads with the Army Corps of Engineers revealing the location of the 122 levees across the country that could fail if there is a major flood. Some of the levees are close to areas with significant population, but others are in rural communities that may find it difficult to raise the money needed to carry out the necessary repairs. On Monday, USAT reported the existence of the at-risk levees but couldn't get their locations. After Freedom of Information requests were filed, the Army Corps of Engineers released the list.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"The Los Angeles Times leads with the global-warming report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was leaked to some news organizations in advance of its scheduled release today. The report concludes global warming is "very likely" (90 percent certainty) caused by human activities. Worst of all, it says global warming has become uncontrollable and "would continue for centuries ... even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized."

Looks like it's already too late to do anything to stop it.. but in any case, we should develop alternative sources of energy just so we don't have to expend so much blood and money on wars with oil-producing nations, which will only get worse as the oil supplies diminsh and competition for them increases.

Soon we will also have to think seriously about how to deal with rising sea and river levels and how we can better respond to occurences like katrina, once they happen on a regular basis.

And maybe discouraging people from building on beaches and floods plains by high insurance rates. But that actually is happening already.

Posted by: kayo | February 2, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Hagel is now as beloved in the Republican party as Lieberman is among Democrats. Any run by him for President is just a vanity campaign, and he knows it.

Posted by: gitarre | February 2, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post leads with an early look at the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which, big surprise, says the situation is getting worse and is quickly spiraling out of control. The NIE spends little time discussing Iran and mentions how Iraqi sectarian violence has become the main obstacle to U.S. goals.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

'Joe' proves it...

'Tony Blankley was on McLaughlin News and made the statement NO anti-war candidate (like Hagel) is going to win the Republican nomination.'

Tony blankley said so, so all the dittoheads nod up and down, up and down together. They will vote for whomever FOX wants them to vote for --and it won't be Hagel. It will be someone FOX, Dobson INC and all their other corporate buds own, body and soul -- like John McCain.

Posted by: lark | February 2, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I was born in the same year as Mr. Hagel in the "rival" town of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Over the year he has matured and learned about our political system. He is not afraid to take a stand and stay with his decision. He also listens to what others are saying and uses this information to see if his decision was the right one. He should be our next president. He has a middle class background and strong principles. I am a democrat but will vote for Chuck Hagel if he runs. We need a good, honest leader, that's why.

Posted by: Jerry Clark | February 2, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Chris pays enough attention to either the mid-term election or to survey polls about how Americans (including Republicans) no longer support the President's policies on Iraq at levels of about 70%. If true, that means a fair percentage of Republicans are not on board.

And we're a long way away from the primaries. So there is a lot of time for candidates to come and go, to look good or to make mistakes. After all, less than a year ago, VA Sen. Warner was thought to be a major frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination.

On the other hand, money and staff are serious concerns for every candidate.

But so long as Iraq remains the major issue, Sen. Hagel has more credibility than most. And his voting record will appeal to conservatives, while it probably will polarize Democrats and Independents against him.

Posted by: pacman | February 2, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Tony Blankley was on McLaughlin News and made the statement NO anti-war candidate (like Hagel) is going to win the Republican nomination. I agree. There is ZERO change of Hagel winning because he is seen as trying to undermine President Bush.
The Democrats and liberals love the drama and the anti-war people support sticking it TO the President. But reality is, when you consider all over 60 million votes for Bush in 2004, do you really think they will turn around and vote for Hagel?
COME ON, national defense and foreign policy are the KEY issues for a president.
The Senators are confused by thinking they can influence the President with their ON CAMERA ANTICS.
Hagel has no where to go BUT DOWN.

Posted by: Joe | February 2, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Hagel has little chance of getting elected through the republican primaries. However, a run as an independent candidate could be viable?

Will there be a third (or fourth?) party candidate running in 2008? Hard to say, but Hagel may be top of the list of who might fit that bill...

Posted by: windserf | February 2, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Americans once again spent everything they made and then some last year, pushing the personal savings rate to the lowest level since the Great Depression.

...

The savings rate has been negative for an entire year only four times in history -- in 2005 and 2006 and in 1933 and 1932.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

'The Obama incident was a perfect example. After Fox outlets, Insight magazine and the Roger Ailes morning vehicle Fox and Friends erroneously reported that a source in "Hillary Clinton's camp" had uncovered that Barack Obama had been schooled in a "madrassa" in his youth in Indonesia, CNN dispatched a reporter to the school in question and found that the tale was totally false, that there were religion classes only once a week at the school and that the school had not even a hint of Wahabbite influence. Moreover, Hillary Clinton's camp denied having anything to do with the story. "They made it up," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said.

Fox responded with a classic "E** me" send-off, with Fox anchor John Gibson bit**ing that John Vause, the CNN reporter who blew up their report, "probably went to the very [same] madrassa." Ultimately there was a reluctant "retraction" of sorts on Fox and Friends, but if you pay careful attention, the statement read by Fox anchor Steve Doocy isn't a retraction at all. Here's what he said:

DOOCY: One other thing. We want to clarify something: On Friday of last week, we did the story from Insight magazine where we talked about how they were quoting that Barack Obama, when he was a child growing up in Indonesia, had attended a madrassa. Well, Mr. Obama's people called and they said that that is absolutely false. They said the idea that Barack Obama went to a radical Muslim school is completely ridiculous. In his book it does say that he went to a mostly Muslim school but not to a madrassa.

Obviously there is absolutely no admission of error here; they only concede that Barack Obama himself claims the story is false, which is what most people expect a politician to do even after a true expose. Doocy read his text with the tone of a junior-high bully wiseass ripping off a school-mandated "apology" in front of the class; his tone clearly indicated that he, and Fox, were greatly annoyed by the inconvenience of having to "clarify" anything for anyone.

Not only that, but well after the story had been crushed by every reputable news outlet in America, the Fox-affiliated Hannity continued to have the Insight story up, uncorrected, on the front page of his Web site. It's still there now, lingering like a hemorrhoid, as I write this piece.

I'm not sure if people realize exactly how serious a situation this is. The way our national media is currently constructed, a lie of this magnitude broadcasted on a major network becomes an irreversible blow within, I would guess, about 24 hours after it appears. There are rare cases of an unsourced hoax blowing up quickly enough that it won't stick to a politician -- the John Kerry mistress story is a good example -- but for the most part, once the lie is out there, it's there to stay. This is especially true given the nature of the audience for outlets like Fox and Hannity. Unless you force a Hannity or a John Gibson to apologize by ripping his own still-beating heart out on national television, their audiences will assume that any "retraction" comes with a grain of salt, that the original report was true.

Years after George Bush himself admitted that there is no link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, I continue to meet people who believe just the opposite -- that the original implications furthered by the White House and the talk-radio preachers were true, and that the no-link concession was something somehow forced on Bush and the likes of Fox by hyper-cautious media lawyers and lefty journalists who, it is assumed, harbor some secret allegiance to Saddam Hussein and/or the cause of Islamic terrorism in general.

This unwillingness to believe the "reputable" media outlets' final judgments about such controversies is now endemic and a result of a number of factors, most of those having to do with the failure of the mainstream media to perform vigilantly in the face of various bald national deceptions.'

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Nebraska ia a weak financial center? Surely one does not consider Berkshire Hathaway weak? The fact is NB has more Fortune 500 companies headquartered in it than does AZ, so using your argument McCain is going to be poverty stricken, and what's the chances of a conservative right-wing Republican tapping into Boston's wealth -- well cross Romney off the finance list.

Your argument holds no water and if that is the worst thing you could find to make the case against him, I'd say "Look Out." He actually has more $$$ raised at this juncture than Howard Dean had and look at what Dean accomplished.

Posted by: Harry | February 2, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Korean Moonies Attack American Christians

'If you prefer your religious battles sprinkled with demagoguery, sanctimoniousness, and simplistic attacks, the Institute on Religion and Democracy's (IRD) latest broadside against the National Council of Churches (NCC) certainly fits the bill.

For those who remember a similar IRD-led attack on the World Council of Churches two decades ago -- highlighted by a controversial and buzz-generating segment on CBS' "60 Minutes" -- the IRD's latest blast appears to be -- to borrow a phrase from New York Yankee great Yogi Berra -- "déjà vu all over again."

The IRD excoriated the World Council of Churches (WCC) for allegedly being tools of the anti-American left over its support of the Nelson Mandela-led African National Congress in South Africa, and its opposition to President Ronald Reagan's contra wars in Central America; wars that destabilized governments and were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. And now it is doing a similar job on the NCC.

"The institute, a Washington-based think tank, is allied with conservative groups on issues such as same-sex marriage. From its founding in 1981, its primary effort has been to challenge what it calls the 'leftist' political positions of mainline Protestant denominations, such as the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)," the Washington Post recently reported.

Author and longtime right wing watcher Frederick Clarkson recently described the IRD as an "inside the beltway, neoconservative agency [that] has waged a war of attrition against the historic mainline protestant churches in the U.S." Clarkson pointed out that the IRD "and its satellite groups have spent millions of dollars to destabilize and even dismember these churches like they were a third world country whose government was disliked by the United States." The organization "has been bankrolled by the leading strategic funders of the conservative movement and the religious right such as Richard Mellon Scaife and Howard Ahmanson, and cheer-led by the Washington Times newspaper, which is owned, controlled and bankrolled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.'

Posted by: American Christian Churches Under Attack by Moonies | February 2, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I respect Hagel tremendously for his honesty, for his willingness to confront bush and cheney and buck his own party. Considering how vicious and vindictive they are, that takes real courage.

But his voting record with 'conservatives' is really solid and that means I disagree with him on very fundamental issues.

Ironic, isn't it? He's exactly what the old guard conservatives would have loved as a presidential candidate--strong, independent --but 'movement' cons are only interested in knee-jerk idealogues and puppets, not real men.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Hagel will appeal as a conservative leaning centrist to more Democrats than he will Repubs. The hard core of the southwestern, right leaning Republican base will not favor him no matter how principled and correct his positions. They may go for a neanderthal like Throw(Brown)back, or settle for McCain in the primaries. Giuliani suffers from the same problem. They are more centrist, common sense, non-ideologues, and will not be able to generate momentum to carry them through the hard-core primaries, into the convention. Of course, if the nominee in waiting self-destructs at or near the convention, Hagel, Giuliani, et al. can generate the heat there to be viable.

Posted by: L. Sterling | February 2, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

In order to win the nomination, one would have to actively pursue it. Hagel does not appear to be doing anything to prepare a presidential bid. He could be a credible general election candidate but I doubt he could win a single primary that does not allow crossover voting. McCain benefited heavily from crossover voting in 2000. However, Gore was the prohibitive favorite on the Democratic side so there was not much of a race there. This year the Democrats will have a hotly contested nomination battle and that will probably reduce the crossover voting.

Posted by: JimD in FL | February 2, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

'Does the GOP have the good sense to nominate him?'

Of course not! Their party is now dominated by jackals, knaves and fools ...

'A long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq,
presented to President Bush by the intelligence community yesterday, outlines an increasingly perilous situation in which the United States has little control and there is a strong possibility of further deterioration, according to sources familiar with the document.'

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

is weak on depth and sense. Chuck Hagel is the only one who has rhetorical distance from the failed national security policies of the Bush Administration. As a liberal Democrat he is the only Republican who scares me in a general election at this point. Does the GOP have the good sense to nominate him?

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: The Republican Field | February 2, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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