Ignatius isn’t the first to make such a suggestion, but his is one of the highest profile voices to date. Iggy says:
By reaching outside the Democratic Party for his vice presidential nominee — tapping Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, say, or independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg from New York — Obama would in an instant demonstrate that he truly means to change the divisive, lose-lose politics of Washington. It would offer a unity government for a country that seems to want one.
Hagel would be an especially interesting choice for Obama. As a decorated Vietnam veteran, he would add some national-security heft to the ticket. And he was also an early and courageous GOP critic of the Iraq War, which would reinforce one of the most powerful themes of Obama’s campaign. At the same time, although Hagel agrees with Obama on the need for withdrawal from Iraq, his military credentials would reassure U.S. allies that it would not be a pell-mell retreat.
A final advantage is that Hagel and Obama actually seem to like each other. Hagel is said to view Obama as a politician with a special gift who might actually be able to bring the country together. Whether Democrats could accept Hagel’s pro-life views and other aspects of his Republican identity is a complicated question, but here again, bipartisanship is about bridging hard issues.
Hagel said recently that he would not be endorsing the Democrat Presidential nominee. So would accepting an offer be endorsing? That would be an interesting work-around.
We still find all of this highly unlikely. The domestic-policy conservative Hagel would be viewed as the Great Satan at the Dem Convention. Hard-core Dems would feel betrayed by Obama. But would they then vote for McCain? Unlikely.
In any case, the Veep has traditionally not been the deciding factor for any Presidential candidate. So why add someone who you disagree with on so many issues?
This has already been an unusual campaign season. Hagel as Veep would tip it into bizarro world.