Hagel was one of seven Senate Republicans who sided with the Democratic majority in support of advancing the non-binding resolution passed by the House of Representatives earlier in the week. Still, with only 56 votes, the measure was unable to overcome a filibuster by the Rubber-stamp Republicans - maintaining their 4-year blockade on honest Congressional debate of this continuing debacle Bush & Co. have created.
Only 33 Republicans (& one Joe Lieberman) actually had the audacity to tell the American people they couldn't be heard on this Resolution. But the abstentions by 9 Republicans on the most important issue of our day served the same cowardly purpose and will not be forgotten by the voting public.
It's nice to see that Hagel has come around and realized that the Republican leadership will do everything in their power to prevent this debate from happening. How unfortunate that just 2 weeks ago, in the vote on the Warner-Levin Resolution, Hagel sacrificed so much credibility in service to their bad faith agenda.
Chalk this one up as another in a long history of Hagel flip-flops on Iraq. Still, though it's taken four long years, this vote is probably worth celebrating as Hagel's first real vote outside of committee and before the full Senate challenging Bush's Iraq policy with something more than talk show rhetoric.
For once, Hagel backed-up his bark with just a little bit of bite. Guess we'll have to wait and see how he handles that tiny taste of principled defiance. Sadly, the Iraq War isn't going anywhere, and Hagel will have plenty more opportunities to prove his dedication to truly changing the course of this disastrous war.
Of course, our embarrassing House delegation - the Timid Trio of Jeff Fortenberry, Lee Terry, and Adrian Smith - all fell in-line on President Bush's escalation and will spend the next two years blaming the Democratic majority for every failure in Iraq for their emboldening "the enemy." But, I have faith that our Republican Congressmen's gamble on Nebraskans' gullibility won't be paying-off as they hope in 2008. By then, voters might even be ready to collect on their false promises and empty spin, finally holding these jokers accountable at the ballot box.
At the same time, these last several weeks, it has been a pleasure to see Sen. Ben Nelson demonstrate such courage, conviction, and consistency on the war in Iraq. With the same voice of common sense and steady leadership with which he has always served the people of Nebraska, Nelson is to be commended for his realizing - along with the people he represents - that the time has come to take a stand against Bush and the Republican Party's "stay the course" policies.
The New Nebraska Network has a representative in whom it can be proud in Sen. Ben Nelson. Today, we can even say that of both Nebraska Senators, as they stood up for the people's right to be heard in opposition to Bush's escalation. Nelson and Hagel may have been on the losing side of a procedural vote today, but the people of Nebraska and their loved ones fighting overseas clearly won an important victory.
Though it may take more time - and some new faces in the House - the tide is turning, the truth will be heard, and the people will have their day.