Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Washington Post on Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward

The Washington Post had an article yesterday about the recent biography, Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward (you can buy it from the amazon link at the right side of the page). The article, "For Hagel, Standing Up Brought a Fall From Favor," by Eric Pianin blends a review of the book with a look at Hagel's current position in politics, including an element of the popular notion that has emerged in the last week that Hagel is the new McCain.
Berens offers a wide range of opinions and speculation on the subject from political scholars and operatives, but by the conclusion of the book, the questions of whether Hagel will run or could mount an effective campaign are left hanging.
The article and the book touch on the theme of this week, that Chuck Hagel is clearly in the right place within the Republican party.
For all the frustration Hagel expresses about the Republican Party, he is philosophically in tune with many of its traditional stances. He is an ardent free-trader, favors as little government as possible (wishful thinking in an era of exploding government growth) and supports limits to government intrusion in the private lives of Americans, while Bush has authorized warrantless wiretaps of telephones and e-mails.
The book puts Hagel's comments on Iraq into perspective given his life and the article mentions that briefly.

In the fall of 2004, Harold W. Andersen, the retired publisher of the Omaha World-Herald, wrote a column for the paper declaring that Nebraska Republicans were tired of Hagel's criticism of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. Hagel responded that it was his responsibility as a senator to ask the hard questions that "were not asked when we sent young men and women into Vietnam."

"Where were our elected officials then?" he asked, with the same straight-from-the-shoulder forthrightness that has gotten him into hot water with his party.

Check out the article if you want the full review of the book. I have read Charlyne Berens' biography of Senator Hagel and I highly recommend it.

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