Friday, March 09, 2007

Chuck Hagel: The Shoe Salesmen Strike Back

by Kyle Michaelis
There's been lots of hoppla elsewhere about the announcement that Sen. Chuck Hagel will anounce his future political plans Monday at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. It's apparently such a big story that Thursday's Omaha World-Herald actually published it twice - first, on page 5A and again on page 12A.

I've stated my qualified hope that Hagel might run for President on several occasions. As someone with deep, 4 1/2-year old concerns about the war in Iraq, I think it would be good for the Republican Party to have an actual voice of dissent in the running for the Republican nomination. At the same time, as a Nebraska Democrat, the possibility of an open Senate seat in 2008 holds some definite appeal as well.

But, I'm not a prognosticator. I have no inside scoop, and speculation isn't what I do. Hagel's decision will shift the lay of the land in Nebraska politics one way or the other, but I'm a patient fellow who prefers to play the cards on the table rather than guessing the next hand.

Still, I don't mean to be too dry and boring. That's why I'm happy to have noticed a funny little bit in the Letters to the Editor of this week's Lincoln Journal-Star that saw a real-life shoe salesman defend his profession from Hagel's offensive suggestion that Senators who don't want to make tough decisions and take a stand on Iraq should "go sell shoes."

When Hagel later supported a Republican effort to kill debate of the Iraq War, I stated that it was time for Hagel to leave the Senate and to embark on the new career path he'd laid out for himself - preferrably at the nearest strip mall. In the comments of that post, however, I included the following:
Disclaimer: Any suggestion that shoe salesmen are full of crap or that they are cowardly was made purely for satirical purposes. The New Nebraska Network offers its sincerest apologies for repeating Sen. Hagel's unfair maligning of those who've chosen so honorable a career.
Well, I may have thought I was being funny at the time, but then this letter appeared in the Lincoln Journal-Star - a perfect illustration of the political age in which we live:
We see that Sen. Chuck Hagel has made several appearances and plans to make more in Kearney. With this being noted, we thought it would be a good time to address something that the senator from Nebraska was heard to say recently, about the tough decisions of his job...[I]f he didn’t want to make tough decisions he would be a shoe salesman, is what we and many in our community heard him say.

We received many calls about his comment. This comment is what really struck a chord with us and many like us, the working class. Our family and many faithful employees have operated Redman’s Shoes in Kearney for many years, and although our decisions are different, are they any less difficult than that of the fine senator's?.....

We hope that Sen. Hagel in the future publicly apologizes for his comments and commends the hard-working people who gave him the right to make difficult decisions for our state and the United States of America. America will remain strong if we as a nation stick together and realize our country is full of tough, hard-working decision makers, in all aspects of career choices. All jobs require tough decisions.


Dean and Polly Beavers
Randy and Tanya Beavers Schleiger
Kearney, NE
That letter pretty much speaks for itself. I wouldn't even know where to begin. You either see the humor in this, or you don't. Either way, it appears Hagel would have been better off had he just listened to the New Nebraska Network a month ago and apologized for his unprovoked assault on the purveyors of fine footwear.

If he does run for President, I think it's safe to say Hagel's already lost the shoe salesmen vote. That can't help his chances, but what I'm most worried about are his feet.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous NE Voter said...

Nice post. Let's keep up the pressure on this.

3/09/2007  
Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...

ne voter-

What do you mean? Is there a Shoe Salesmen's Union that should be staging protests on Monday?

I hadn't realized I was pressuring anything. But, thanks...I guess.

3/09/2007  

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