Well, we’re not saying he won’t run for President (and he’s certainly not saying he won’t – but then he’s not saying he will…). But we are saying, if he wanted to win the GOP nomination two recent actions absolutely ended those hopes:
1) his suggestion that President Bush could be impeached, first in Esquire then to George Snuffleupagus, put an already way-outside chance at the GOP nod into critical condition;
Now we here at Leavenworth Street have mentioned this before, but we think it bears repeating: We’re not questioning Hagel’s motives for his various votes.
Our friend Uncle Wiggly over at the Heartland Notebook gave his usual call-‘em-like-he-sees-‘em view of Hagel’s vote to have a date-certain to bring home the troops from Iraq.
U-Dub’s general view is that Hagel made his vote because of his desire to win the Presidency. We certainly respect UW’s opinion, and can see where he’s coming from. However, we think Hagel’s position is a bit more nuanced than simply a plan for grabbing power.
Hagel’s view on Iraq is based on his experiences in Vietnam, and his perception that the White House does not respect his view. This has galvanized his position and has left him seeking someplace to vent wherever and whenever he can. Hagel’s goal is not so much to try to win the White House by sending his view on Iraq, as it is using a White House run to trumpet his views on Iraq.
Many may see Hagel’s Iraq view as capitulating to the terrorists, or cut and run or however you may view it. But that only gets to the result of Hagel’s position. First you have to go to the WHY on it.
Hagel is deeply, deeply scared by Vietnam, both literally and figuratively. Those scars have shaped his view on Iraq. Couple that with his Christmas-time receipt of letters his father wrote to home during WWII where his dad wrote, “if I thought I would ever have a son who would have to go through this, I would never get married.” You can bet that closed the door on Hagel ever being open to the continuation of soldiers dying in Iraq, even if it were for a good cause.
And couple all of this with his locking horns with President Bush and his advisors. Hagel is bitter that while he has on-the-ground combat experience, those who have none (Bush, Cheney, Rove) won’t listen to him (or maybe just won’t agree with him). Hagel is a stubborn guy who has gotten to where he is because he thinks he’s right most (if not all) of the time. So he’s happy to enough to go ahead and give his views and damned the other guy.
Or even VERY happy that he’s liberated enough to give those views. And VERY happy to tell the guy who won’t listen to him to go to Hell. And if people come running over to listen to him now, all the better. (And again, show us a pol who DOESN’T like that.)
With that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with agreeing or disagreeing about his judgment on this. But we at Leavenworth Street aren’t going after his motives.
But golf-pencil-in that Chuck Hagel’s GOP Presidential ambitions are D-U-N.
Oh, and what do YOU think about Bruning, Daub or anyone else’s plans to challenge Hagel if he decides to run for re-elect? Could Hagel’s actions, and Nebraska GOP anger at him, be the tipping point?
We’d say maaayyyyyybeeee.