Does "Hagel for Prez" Still Have a Shot?by Ryan Anderson
Since he recently used a fundraiser apparently intended to shore up a Senate re-election campaign as a forum for a message the presumably illustrates his interest in an independent candidacy for President, I think it's safe to say that we can't safely say anything about what Hagel intends to do. But, since the stories currently dominating the headlines feature some combination of Hagel v. Bruning or Bloomberg/Hagel '08, allow me to explore the less likely but still real possibility that Chuck Hagel might throw his hat into the ring for the GOP presidential nomination.
And let me start with this new poll of Iowa Republicans:
5. Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Republicans Only)Not to belabor the point, but these are Republicans only. The same Republicans who express a dissatisfaction with the current crop of GOP candidates (51-29%). The same Republicans who will cast the very first ballots (figuratively speaking... theirs is a caucus system) in this overlong presidential election.
And yes, the same Republicans who give current non-candidate Chuck Hagel a mere 1% in the polls.
But considering Ron Paul is the only other candidate attempting to capitalize on the growing unpopularity of the war in Republican ranks, is it so ridiculous to believe Hagel might make a splash even (or especially) after entering this contest so late?
One thing that's gone unnoticed in all the talk of Hagel's anti-GOP rhetoric is that the Senator hasn't rallied against the Republican Party so much as he's rallied against the Republican Party of George W. Bush:
I am not happy with the Republican Party today. It's been hijacked by a group of single-minded almost isolationists, insulationists, power-projectors...Call me crazy (please don't), but isn't that exactly the kind of message that might appeal to a GOP desperately trying to claw its way out of Bush's second term slump?
It has drifted from the party of Eisenhower, of Goldwater, of Reagan, the party that I joined. It isn’t the same party.
I mean, we have a Republican electorate in Iowa that doesn't believe Bush represents "a conservative Republican in the mode of Ronald Reagan", and apparently can't find a proper standard bearer in an already crowded field of ten white guys.
Does that leave an opening for an anti-war conservative outsider like our own Senator Hagel? I think so. And I think there's a chance, just a chance, that Hagel might take a second look and see that for himself.
But am I gonna go back out on that limb and actually predict it? No way, man. No way.