Friday, January 26, 2007

Chuck Hagel: The "John McCain" of 2008?

It looks like the list of 2008 Presidential wannabees is getting longer.

The Washington Post reports today that Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is mulling plans to form a presidential exploratory committee.

Even though his stock among the GOP base is pretty low, he is thinking of running for the GOP nomination, running for a third Senate term, or taking a "more creative path."

His profile has risen steadily because of his sharp views on the "surge" in troops to Iraq proposed by President Bush and supported by the purported GOP frontrunner for the White House, John McCain.

While I support a less forceful resolution put forth by the likes of John Warner, I have to say that a Hagel run is appealing. Like McCain, he has been somewhat of a maverick in the GOP and in many ways, a Hagel run might be a repeat of McCain ala 2000.
I have been, with some reservations as of late, a McCain supporter. I like his maverick status. However, the McCain we see today isn't the McCain of 2000. He got walloped by the Bushies and like a dog that got bopped on the nose, I think he is trying to be careful with the party poohbahs. But the thing is, in being so careful, he loses some of the mystique he had that attracted independents to his cause. I think McCain really wants to change the direction of the party from where it has been going during the Bush years (that is, to hell in a handbasket), but I think he too scarred from 2000 to actually do what needs to be done.

Which is why Hagel is so appealing. Hagel is loyal to Republican principles, but not necessarily to Republican leaders. He has the marverick spirit that made McCain so interesting seven years ago. Maybe a Hagel run could shake up the Republican establishment and ween the party away from Bushism towards something more viable.

I will keep an eye on Hagel. He might be what the GOP and the entire nation, needs.

PS: You can find out more on a "draft Hagel" movement by going here and here.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Too Much, Too Little, Too Late

The title of my post comes from a 1978 song by Johnny Mathis and Denice Williams. It could also describe how I feel about the President Bush's so-called "surge" of American troops in Iraq. And it seems that his plan is not playing well in among the American people either. This is a plan that should have been enacted in 2004 when we still had some control of the situation, but now that Iraq is sprialing into a civil war, the send-more-troops idea is like trying to stop plug dyke with your fingers.

I never supported the invasion to begin with, but I did think we should stay because leaving would create catatrophic results in the region that could in the long run affect America. I still think that leaving Iraq will not be an easy thing to do and could in the long run bite us in the ass. But I also think that we can't continue remaining in a war that seems to have no end and where there is no visible exit strategy except some vague notions. We can't allow more men and women to be asked to put their lives on the line when there is no clear objective.

There have been some who say that we haven't lost as many soldiers in this war as say, World War II. It implies that the American public is somewhat sqeamish about losing so many people. But I don't think that's the issue. What the American people like is to be in a winning situation. They are willing to deal with body counts if the objective is met. However, they don't want to see their sons and daughters sacrificed in a war that seems to have no point. Americans don't like losing, and they can see this for what it is: a losing situation.

So what can we do? Unlike those on either side, I don't think there is a perfect idea that will not cost us anything. I think we need to begin to pull out of Iraq, but unlike those on the left that seem to think Iraq will become some kind of peaceful paridise after we leave, we need to do it in a way that makes sure that the mess that is Iraq doesn't spread to other parts of the region. I don't know what means, but I do know it means that we follow Colin Powell's "Pottery Barn Rule" in that we helped break Iraq and we need to fix it. Since it's too late to try to cobble a coherent Iraq again, we need to keep the contagion from spreading. Maybe it means having some kind of rapid response force nearby, I don't know. But we can't presume things will settle down after the last American has left.

President Bush has again and again seemed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. While I thought this was a fool's venture, he and his team could have pulled this off. But there has been so much arrogance and incompetence, that I think we have left the Middle East in a worse position than it was pre-invasion and might have made us more susceptible to a future terror attack. To paraphrase Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel, this whole venture has been the biggest foreign policy blunder in American history and God help us all what consequences this nation will face because of the stupidity of the current Commander in Chief.

After a long break in which he beacme a daddy again (Congrats, Alan!), Alan Stewart Carl shares his views on the "surge."

Jeremy Dibble over at Charging RINO links to a disturbing report that shows the Bushies might be widening the Iraq War to go after Iran and Syria. Maybe those on the Left are right and we should be calling this an "escalation."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Godspeed, Gerald Ford

President Ford was the first president I remember. He was from my native state of Michigan which makes me proud. Ford reminded us all of a time when the Republican party was (in the words of another President) a kindler, gentler party. This plain spoken man from Grand Rapids helped this nation at a very dark time.

The GOP of today is a vastly different party than it was as embodied in Ford. It's my hope that as the GOP tries to find its way, that they will look back at Ford with his moderation and prudence as a template for the future.

May God be with you, Mr. President.