"First time I voted was in 1968 on top of a tank in the Mekong Delta," said Hagel, a Vietnam veteran. "I voted a straight Republican ticket. The reason I did is because I believe in the Republican philosophy of governance. It's not what it used to be. I don't think it's the same today."
Hagel asked: "Where is the fiscal responsibility of the party I joined in '68? Where is the international engagement of the party I joined _ fair, free trade, individual responsibility, not building a bigger government, but building a smaller government?"
His frustration does not lead him to think Democrats offer a better alternative. But Hagel wants to see the GOP return to its basic beliefs.
"I think we've lost our way," Hagel said. "And I think the Republicans are going to be in some jeopardy for that and will be held accountable."
If the GOP gets its head handed to them in the fall; one hopes they would come back to the party Hagel knew. That's a party I would be proud to be a part of again.