1. Chuck Hagel & Ben Nelson Do Nebraska Proud in Iraq DebateI don't know if this is a symptom of his 30 years in Washington D.C. or if it's just the nature of the beast that is Republican politics, but the mix of Hagel's ambition with his ranking as the Senate's #1 supporter of President Bush's agenda have left him all but incapable of standing up to Bush when it really counts - even on this issue he's called the most important of our day.
2. Chuck Hagel's True Colors - Party Before Principle
3. Chuck Hagel: Shoe Salesman
4. Chuck Hagel Loses the War With Himself
Hagel now wants to reimagine his Monday vote to filibuster the Warner-Levin Resolution and to keep debate of Bush's Iraq policy off the Senate floor as nothing more than a procedural vote. He has to say that to avoid looking like the overhyped phony and hypocrite he continues to reveal himself as at every opportunity. But, as the leaders of both parties and as Hagel himself certainly understood, Monday's vote was a moment of definition and declaration, drawing the lines that will shape Congress' role in the Iraq War through the next election.
Less than two weeks prior, Hagel had insisted that it is time for all for all 100 Senators to be "on the line" and to take a stand on our nation's Iraq policy. Monday's vote put Hagel on that line - it demanded that he take a stand - and, when all was said and done, he stood with the President and his party rather than the American people and the supposed principles he's espoused.
This Republican filibuster had one primary intent - to kill the momentum building against Bush's "troop surge." By insulating Bush from criticism and by delaying the debate of his Iraq policy as long as possible, it becomes harder and harder for Congress to effectively challenge Bush's policy without taking extreme measures that would divide Congress and the American public along reactionary lines that may be the Republicans' only path to regaining power.
Hagel's vote enabled the Republican Party to continue playing games with American soldiers' lives for political purposes. Now, to save their skins in 2008 and to salvage some shred of credibility, Hagel and a tiny band of six non-Neocon Republicans have denounced the "stalemate" Hagel helped create.
They say they will force the debate by other means if they must, but it's TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. On Monday, Hagel had the opportunity to stand on principle to give the Iraq War the fair, open, and official debate it deserves - that owed to more than 3,100 dead and to untold scores of the physically and emotionally wounded who have been all but abandoned by Congress over the last four years.
As we all know, that isn't the choice Hagel made. Instead, he chose to play along with the Republicans' political games. And, when he's being criticized for such unprincipled hypocrisy, his answer is to play more games with procedure - as if two wrongs make a right. But, he's already had his chance to stand and be counted in defense of this long overdue debate. Hagel had that chance, and he chose not to take it. Whatever his justification, he can't hide or deny that choice - as shameful as it was.
But, Hagel is right about something. This debate is going to happen - the Democratic Party will make sure of that. What we see here is just Hagel's usual attempt to take the credit for it and to position himself for media glory. But, on Monday, he showed his true colors. The New Nebraska Network has seen Hagel for who and what he is, and we won't be fooled again.