Chuck Hagel vs. George W. Bushby Kyle Michaelis
Sen. Chuck Hagel, on the other hand, is speaking as one freed, position himself as Bush's harshest Republican critic even though his votes reveal him as the U.S. Senate's most consistent supporter of Bush's agenda. It's an interesting, perhaps unprecedented niche - that of a man uniquely aligned with the principles for which Bush has stood who's watched in horror as Bush's arrogance and incompetence have done untold, inestimable damage to their shared agenda.
Hagel undoubtedly sees himself as the Defender of the Republican Faith from destruction at Bush's hands. This role requires no small degree of arrogance itself, but he's a politician so - seriously - what did we expect? What's ironic, though, is that Hagel's putting first what he considers the long-term interests of his party has invited such outrage and scorn at the hands of his party's activists, who would prefer to see loyalty to their president, marching lock-step with him into political oblivion.
Loyalty? Marching lock-step? Well, that's just not Chuck Hagel. And, as far as the Bush Administration is concerned, I say thank God for that.
Let's take a look at some choice quotes by Hagel from his Tuesday townhall forum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (which can be viewed courtesy of the Lincoln Journal-Star):
On Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez – “I’ve called for his resignation. I think he’s a disgrace to this country.”While the frontrunning Republican Presidential candidates also rallied around Bush's outrageous and insulting commutation of White House aide "Scooter" Libby's felony conviction for leaking classified information in an act of political retaliation, the LJS reported:
On the Bush record - ”History will not be kind to this Administration.”
Sen. Chuck Hagel said...he disagrees with President Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence. Hagel described the president's action as "unfortunate"....I'll admit that I think Democrats are very lucky that Republicans haven't heeded Hagel's warnings, embracing him and rejecting Bush. The easy appeal of their claimed "conservativism" backed by a voice that actually projects some measure of accountability, strength, and competence would be a formidable challenge in 2008 despite the American public's low opinion of its standard-bearer for these last seven years.