Friday, February 02, 2007


Haggling Over Hagel

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza makes the presidential case for and against Hagel in 2008. Meanwhile, Jim Pinkerton sizes him up as the "new" John McCain:
So what does it mean for the future of national politics if Hagel is the new McCain? Two conclusions: First, the Nebraskan is now viewed with deep suspicion among many rank-and-file Republicans - the folks who control the GOP nomination process.

Second, as his stock goes down among Republicans, it goes up among independents. Even liberals might conclude that it will take a certified war hero -- Hagel won two Purple Hearts in Vietnam -- to make a credible exit from Iraq.

All of which means there's a chance for Hagel to follow in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt in 1912: He could bolt the GOP and run a credible independent bid for the White House. He might even win.
I agree with Jim in part. However, I think one of the side effects of campaign finance "reform" is that it makes it even harder for a non-self financed candidate to launch an independent campaign. That's something so-called "soft money" was ideal for -- "party-building." Obviously, the entrenched parties are already constructed and can find all sorts of ways to get around that.

That's not the case with smaller parties -- or individuals who want to launch independent efforts.

Another problem Hagel faces is that -- despite the criticisms he gets from many conservatives that he is playing for the cameras, the fact is that he is nowhere near the media tramp that McCain 2000 was. He doesn't have the same media most-dangerous-place-to-stand-is-between-him-and-a-camera gene that McCain, Schumer, Lieberman, Christopher Dodd and others possess. If anything, he needs to be more of a media hog -- not less.

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