CHUCK HAGEL'S MONDAY ANNOUNCEMENT-- NO PRESIDENTIAL RUN, NO SENATE RE-ELECTION RUN
Apparently Chuck Hagel is bowing out of politics. Probably wondering who Bush Dog Chris Carney (PA) will support for the White House now was not your first reaction. To be honest, it wasn't mine either, although I do want to discuss it a little. My first reaction was that, finally the Republican prototype for stealing elections electronically has gotten what's coming to him.
Hagel had the ability to sound moderate and reasonable and even enlightened from time to time, while steadily accruing as an extreme a far right voting record as one can possibly manage without donning a Nazi uniform. Any Democrat or independent who wants to mourn the loss of the great Nebraska "moderate," ought first look at his voting record, currently just slightly to the right of Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) and almost identical to Thad Cochran's (R-MS).
After taking a complete rubber stamp stance on the Bush Regime Iraq agenda, Hagel finally started questioning it-- long after most Americans saw it for the catastrophe it had turned into. But even then, Hagel continued barking without biting. On the Senate floor and in committee he voted in lockstep with the GOP when it came to actually reining in Bush's policies. He talked a good game, though, and enchanted those who are easily enchanted-- whether low-info voters in his home state or dishonest public officials like Congressman Carney, a pseudo-Democrat who slavishly supports Bush's occupation of Iraq but who is desperate to come across as "moderate" or "thoughtful." Maybe Carney was taken in by Hagel's recent profile in GQ.
But, regardless of Carney's endorsement of a Hagel presidency, Hagel has already told Senate Minority Leader Miss McConnell and his own staffers that he plans to announce his retirement from politics on Monday. According to today's Omaha World-Herald he will announce at 10am, Omaha time, that "he will not run for re-election and that he does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008."
That leaves the congressional Republicans in an even greater bind than they thought they were in, with incumbents rushing thru the doors of retirement. Nearly half a dozen Republicans have been salivating over the prospects of winning the Nebraska Senate seat and one far, far right extremist, Jon Bruning, had already challenged Hagel to a primary duel. Aside from Bruning, other wingnuts promising to jump in after Monday are former Governor Mike Johanns, former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub and businessmen Pat Flynn and Tony Raimondo.
Reactionary Democrat-- an ex-Senator himself-- Bob Kerrey says he would like to run again. He's widely viewed as a New Yorker now though and would have a hard tome convincing Nebraskans that he's one of them. Still, Kerrey would be the perfect candidate for anyone who thinks that all of Bush's stay the course Iraq policies just need is a little change in wrapping paper. Kerrey would be able to challenge Nebraska's other reactionary Democratic senator, Ben Nelson, as the member most likely to abandon Democrats on key votes and toss his lot in with the GOP. There is some talk that two moderate Democrats, Scott Kleeb and Mike Fahey, are also considering running.