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March 12, 2007

Possible Savior For Disgruntled GOP Announces He Hasn't Decided On Presidential Campaign, But Is Considering It

Chuck Hagel '08: The Republican Who Can Do What The Democrats Merely Threaten.

Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, said today that he is not jumping into the 2008 presidential race for now, at least so he can concentrate on domestic and global concerns, particularly helping to bring an end to the Iraq war.

I want to keep my focus on helping find a responsible way out of this tragedy and not divert my energy, efforts and judgment with competing political considerations, Mr. Hagel said. I will make a decision on my political future later this year."...

Yes yes yes. But does he have what Republicans crave most in a candidate -- a "reputation as an unpredictable maverick," which means, of course, "a reputation as a perfectly-predictable supporter of just about any and all Democratic policies"?

Why yes-- yes he does:

Mr. Hagel, who has developed a reputation as an unpredictable maverick during two terms in the Senate, made his remarks at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He left open three possibilities: running for president at the 11th hour, seeking re-election to the Senate or leaving politics entirely.

You know which one I'm rooting for-- but you know which one it really is too, don't ya?

Meantime, I'm sure you've seen this, but if you haven't, you ought to know. The media is rather less interested in Fred Dalton Thompson's interest in entering the race, because he is, alas, not an "unpredictable maverick" but rather solid on the conservative agenda, and, further, could actually win.

Have I entirely forsworn Rudy Giuliani? No, not entirely. I'm amazed that pro-life evangelicals are willing to overlook his not exactly crowd-pleasing policy on abortion -- I did not see that coming, honestly -- but it seems he's just taking far too many left-leaning positions, or, at least, is not walking them back fast enough for my liking. Making him, in my opinion, more likely a flash in the pan than someone who'll be racking up primary victories a year from now.

Still early, of course. And the man does have his virtues.

But I agree wholly with Mitt Romney supporter Dean Barnett on this:

When candidates back into the nomination because theyre the favorite or because the field is weak, you get unappealing or unqualified nominees. (Insert your own bipartisan list here Ill start things rolling by mentioning Dole, Dukakis and Clinton.) For the good of the country, I hope Thompson uses his appearance on Fox News Sunday tomorrow to announce hes in it to win it.

Indeed, when the front runners are all perceived as too liberal for the party, there will inevitably be challengers from the right -- and if there to be such challengers, as it seems there must be, it's so much better to have a guy who can actually win the general election making that challenge.

If the party turns on its current front-runners in favor of -- apologies to supporters of these men -- a Sam Brownback or Tom Tancredo, we'll lose the general election. That simple.

So whether or not I support Fred Thompson (and, actually, I do), and whether or not I'm bothered by his strong conservative voting record (which, actually, I'm not), I'm a big fan of this particular challenger from the right.

The right of the party needs a voice -- and it might as well be a strong, reassuring, articulate, dramatically-trained one.

Mooting Gingrich: Gingrich could easily fill this role as star-power spokesman for the GOP right. My trouble with Gingrich is America's trouble with Gingrich -- the public simply doesn't seem to buy him as a national candidate. He is, I'm afraid, all but unelectable.

Thompson, should he enter the race, would fill Gingrich's hypethetical role, but with the added benefit that if he should actually take the nomination, he really could win the election. Which is, in the end, what counts.

I'm not one for sending messages or keeping to ideological purity at the expense of actually making policy and having the power to advance elements of the ideological agenda. If the GOP puts up another Dole sort of candidate, I'll do what I did in 1996 -- sit the elections out. I'm not wasting my time in the voting booth just to "send a message." I vote to in hopes of actually electing a winner.

As do most people.

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posted by Ace at 04:24 PM

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