September 8, 2007

Where Are All the BDS RINOs Going?

Hatched by Dafydd

First Sen. John Warner (R-VA, 64%) announces that he is not running for reelection in 2008; today, it was the turn of Sen. Chuck Hagel's (R-NE, 75%):

Hagel plans to announce that "he will not run for re-election and that he does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008," said one person, who asked not to be named.

Hagel has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. Monday at the Omaha Press Club.

The rest of the article is more or less a Hagelography; but they sidestep the most interesting question: Are the stridently anti-war GOP senators leaving the body to avoid facing their Republican colleagues, after the counterinsurgency stategy proves effective, and we end up with what any fair-minded person would call a "W" in Iraq? Do they not want to have to face the electoral music, running as the senators who tried so desperately to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

The Omaha World Herald put it bluntly, if a bit too enthusiastically:

The North Platte native earned national recognition as perhaps the most vocal, at times angry, GOP critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policies. [I think "bitter and vile" is a better descriptor.]

His outspokenness on Iraq and other key issues, including Social Security and foreign policy, fueled national interest in Hagel as he flirted with a possible presidential bid.

With Warner, one may assume that he's just a tired, old man, he's served in the Senate for approximately 478 years, and he simply doesn't want to go on. But Hagel? Hagel is only 60 years old (61 in October), and this is only his second term. As the article breathlessly notes, many supporters even thought he was going to throw his head into the presidential ring earlier this year; but he fooled them.

Abruptly, without any warning or even a hint, he is departing public life. I haven't heard of any looming scandal involving Chuck Hagel, nor any hint of a severe family crisis, like someone getting cancer, thank goodness. So what does that leave?

The World Herald appears excited that this might mean the return of Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey; but I really don't think a growing state like Nebraska wants to turn back the clock to 1994, the last time Kerrey was elected to anything. If a Democrat is going to take the seat, he will have to be someone new; and since this case does not fit the pattern that Michael Barone noted in his Almanac of American Politics, I don't see a Democrat winning.

(The pattern is that a Republican governor raises taxes; he is defeated by a Democrat in the next election; and then the Democratic governor moves on to the Senate. As Barone notes, this describes the rise of Jim Exon, Bob Kerrey, and Ben Nelson (35%) -- which, not coincidentally, are the only three Democratic senators from Nebraska first elected in the last thirty years. You have to go back to Edward Zorinsky in 1976 to find a Democrat who doesn't fit the pattern... and Zorinsky was a Republican until he lost the Republican primary, then switched parties to run for the Senate seat anyway.)

I think the odds are pretty high that Hagel will be replaced by another Republican, just as Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID, 88%) will be. Warner is another story for another time.

The next senator to keep an eye on is, of course, Lindsey Graham (R-SC, 83%); he too is up for reelection in 2008. And while he's been all over the map on the Iraq war (for the war and the counterinsurgency, but also for restricting all interrogrations to asking the prisoners nicely if they'd like to rat out their buddies), he was a very prominent member of the "Gang of 14," which most conservatives see as having cost them a number of conservative judicial appointments. And Graham was also on the "wrong side" (that is, my side) on the comprehensive immigration-reform bill this year... and that, too, makes him persona non grata among much of the mainstream of the Republican Party.

So far as I know, John McCain (R-AZ, 65%) -- also muddled on the WAGH, and in exactly the same way as Graham -- has no plans to "go for broke," to retire from his Senate seat to devote himself full-time to his presidential run. I suspect he realizes he's a long-shot for the latter, so he clings to the former.

However, it is an interesting coincidence (if that's all it is) that Warner and Hagel should announce their retirements within a week of each other.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 8, 2007, at the time of 1:06 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Mr. Davis

My own Snarlin' Arlen has been pretty quiet of late. I expect a Warner from him in 5 years.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Davis [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 8, 2007 5:36 AM

The following hissed in response by: SlimGuy

Kerry's chances are tied to how much the Norman Hsu situation blows up or not.

They are joined at the hip because of the New School situation in NYC.

Lets just wait and see.

The above hissed in response by: SlimGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 8, 2007 2:18 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

Hagel, until he punked out over the war, was a reliable sensible conservative.
I think he is doing the right thing to move on. He dishonored the troops in this war the same way he was dishonored in Vietnam. He would never be acceptable to a nation that still, after years of lies about the war, wants to win it.
I wonder if he was shamed that Osama's latest rant sounded disturbingly like him and other anti-victory Americans.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 8, 2007 9:16 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


Lindsay Graham has never been accused of being a victim of BDS, in fact he has been criticized for being a Bushbot by some people because he supported Bush's immigration policy as well as Harriet Miers.

As for the gang of 14, I am not so sure it actually costs the conservatives anything. They got Alito and Roberts and if they had used that option the Democrats would have the benefit of now since they control the Senate.

So, I fail to see what the Gang of 14 has to do with BDS.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2007 4:01 AM

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