Monday, May 14, 2007

Hagel the Rogue Elephant?

A week or so ago, the Chuck Hagel “people” were leaning on Rep. Adrian Smith because he wouldn’t commit to the Hagel Senate fundraiser. It was seen as a loyal Republican event, and Hagel’s peeps were furious that Smith wouldn’t come off the fence and side with Hagel over Jon Bruning.


Toss in a few weekend talk shows and now let’s start to really wonder what in the world is going on with Chuck Hagel. A few of his statements from the telly:

I am not happy with the Republican Party today. It's been hijacked by a group of single-minded almost isolationists, insulationists, power-projectors.
(Hagel-Bloomberg In '08? You Never Know - Face the Nation – 5/13/07.)
OK, you know the Geico caveman commercial that’s running these days, where the talk show psychologist blabs some pseudo-intellectual goop, and the caveman says, “Yes I have a response….WHAT?” The caveman response would be appropriate here.

And then Hagel continued with views about an Independent, Third-Party Presidential candidate route.

I think it shakes the system up. The system needs to be shaken up. What America will be looking at and wanting and demanding is honest, competent, accountable leadership. We need some new, fresh, independent ideas to lead this country forward.
When asked about a third-party candidacy with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he responded:

It's a great country to think about - a New York boy and a Nebraska boy to be teamed up leading this nation.
And for an inside scoop, note the American Spectator today:

Hagel insiders say that Hagel would run on the bottom of the ticket, which would largely be financed by the man on the top of the ticket, Bloomberg.Bloomberg, according to New York insiders, has been meeting with both Republican and Democrat political consultants, pollsters and media advisers. They informed him that a run would most likely require $100 million. “And probably a bit more,” says one with knowledge of the discussion. “Bloomberg didn't even blink when he heard the number. He's ready to cut the check.”
(Financing Chuck – The American Spectator 5/14/07.)
So here’s a question: Is Chuck Hagel burning all his Republican bridges in Nebraska as well? Because if he decides in the end to run for re-election, who wants to elect someone who hates their party? And it's silliness to say the party can't change, or a good Republican can't make the party better. You don't like the direction of the party? Then work to change it. Don’t just sit and batter it down.

So this latest foray by Hagel, which included a statement that Hagel will make his future-in-politics decision by late Summer, has inspired us to post what you see up at your right: The Chuck Hagel countdown clock! Because there are so many people who have said, they’re waiting to see what Chuck Hagel decides before they make their move.

Raimondo, Fahey and Kerrey have all said they wouldn’t run unless Hagel gets out. KMTV’s Joe Jordan said on his blog that that is essentially what Hal Daub will say tomorrow. We all heard Jon Bruning’s back and forth about Hagel. There’s Mike Johanns, the elephant in the room, who will undoubtedly have something to say if Hagel drops out of the Senate. And then there’s Michael Bloomberg, who is probably a little curious about what Chuck will do. So with all of them waiting, we’ve picked Labor Day as the go-to date for Hagel’s decision.

Though, it will be interesting to see whether other candidates (and voters, and contributors) have already made their moves by the time he decides. With all this Independent party talk going on, many Nebraska Republicans may abandon Hagel before he abandons them.

(And oh by the way, in Don Walton’s LJS column today, he states that, conspiracy theories aside, Ben Nelson didn’t know about Tony Raimondo’s decision until “a newspaper report was placed on his desk”. Uh huh. Riiiiight. Well, Ben Nelson also probably didn’t hear about his grandkids being born until he received a phone call, but we’re willing to bet he was aware that it was going to happen before that...)


TheDrifter said...

Dear SS,

Is a Ricketts re-run entirely out of the question?

Street Sweeper said...

Out of the question? No. And it was our understanding that he was ready to make a go at it right after the last one ended. But we have to think that with all the bigger names in line now, and the drubbing that he took last time, that he'll see the light and wait for something else in the future.

Eric said...

It seems to me like Hagel is trying to sell the idea of Vice President Hagel to Bloomberg but he might have more success marketing a balanced ticket to whichever hawk wins the GOP nomination. Obviously Hagel needs Bloomberg, but why would Bloomberg need Hagel?

Street Sweeper said...

I’ll say this, if you watch the video of Face the Nation (fast forward to the final couple minutes for the Presidential stuff), you come away with Hagel selling the Bloomberg for Prez idea verrrrrrry hard. When asked if he thinks the Bloomberg-Hagel Independent ticket would work, it’s the complete opposite of the poker face that Hagel usually has...

Anonymous said...

Here we are 12 hours from Hal Daub's announcement and we haven't seen even just a touch of speculation or insight on the former Omaha Mayor. Mildly disappointing.

Street Sweeper said...

Lissen Anon,
Unless you know something mildly unusual about what he's going to announce, we'll wait until after his presser. As we noted in this post, Joe Jordan said he's going to announce an exploratory. If there's something more to add until 9:31 AM on Tuesday, let us know.

Which Hagel? said...

Sweeper -
Any insight as to how the rank and file GOP in NE are taking Hagel's latest broadbrush swipe at Republicans? Hagel has made Adrian Smith look like a genius (no small feat) for not co-hosting his low hanging fruit fundraiser next week.
Many in the NE Gop must be wondering which Hagel will show up next- Sunday's independent ticket Hagel or last month's "I'm a conservative your conservative mother could love" Hagel.

I didn't watch the interview but from the coverage it seems Hagel has changed his talking points. He used to say "I have a 95% conservative voting record and I suppoort the President more than any other Republican Senator". Now he says, "Pro-Choice Mike Bloomberg is a better Reagan Republican than George W Bush."
Is Hagel having a political nervous breakdown?

As far as "the drifter's" question: Ricketts is out of the question becuase Hagel found an even richer fool to fund his vanity campaign.