Sunday, February 25, 2007

Could the waiting game pay off?

Jake Thompson and Tim Elfrink have a piece in the Omaha World-Herald that makes an interesting argument: "Putting off getting into the '08 race could pay off for Hagel."
While Chuck Hagel has been contemplating whether to seek the presidency, 18 other politicians started running.

Two opted out of the race.

Two launched campaign efforts, then quit.

Still, Hagel ponders.
Political analysts say the delay could hurt - or help.
Hagel's views on the Iraq war - he supports beginning to withdraw U.S. forces this year - puts him in line with 66 percent of Americans who, polls show, oppose the war. That could be potent fuel for a campaign, Reed said.

"He'll have a lone voice on a hot issue, and that'll be the strategy," Reed said.

Hagel has waited so long now, he's reaching a point where it might make sense to hold off, perhaps until fall, said Chuck Todd, editor of the Hotline, an electronic newsletter that tracks American politics.

That would let the other candidates spend their money, knock one another around and, perhaps, wear out their welcome, Todd suggested.

"If he waits, he becomes the new flavor."
Hagel seems to be genuinely wrestling with the decision.

Those who have spoken with him say a big concern is the potential impact a presidential campaign would have on his wife, Lilibet, and their two teenage children.
He's working through other issues, too, such as weighing his ability to raise enough money for a campaign. He says he has been encouraged by what he's heard so far.

He said he won't run unless he's confident he could win, but it's even more important to him that he feels passionately about the race.

"You have to believe in something strongly enough to commit yourself to it," he said.
Could waiting pay off at this point? Vilsack just dropped out of the race due to money issues. Romney already seems to be losing his luster among the conservatives he is so actively courting. Would jumping in this early help Hagel? I know some in the draft Hagel movement have been getting impatient in waiting for him to announce his intentions, but there are opportunities and challenges for both a sooner or a later announcement.

What do you think?


jam137 said...

No, I don't think that waiting significantly longer is a good idea. I think that Hagel would lose some credibility if he waited until much later in the year (e.g., September) given what he has said so far. Besides, the support for the current "first-tier" Republican candidates is pretty soft right now. If he announced soon, I think that he could make a big dent in the poll numbers right away and then build momentum throughout the year.

Anonymous said...

I think Chuck Hagel has already waited too long and has really lost out on money and support by not making intentions known long ago. Having Rudy G or John Mccain as the GOP nomination is making me not enthusiastic about the Republican candidate for the first time in my entire life.

jen, charlotte nc said...

Interesting indeed... while we'd all like to know his intentions, and I fear that waiting much longer may appear too wishy-washy to some, I think that his hanging to the back of the pack is a wise move. I am someone who gets extremely frustrated by the mud-slinging and name-calling that inevitably comes as election season wears on, and I think that his hesitation to get involved sets him apart on yet another level. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, because so far, I have not seen a single other candidate that I would confidently get behind.

Anonymous said...

Watching the carnage among the candidates who have already announced, I'm starting to think that he is smart to wait a bit.

Anonymous said...

The only reason to get in now is to raise money from people who wouldn't give to Hagel anyway. He should wait it out until the 4th of July and give voters the opportunity to get sick of the panderers (McCain), the flip-floppers (Romney) and the downright wierd (Giuliani). Hagel is the kind of candidate that can raise funds from non-traditional sources. That money will still be there in the fall.

texasteacher said...

I awoke this morning to a rebroadcast of Senator Hagel on C-SPAN. He spoke on Iraq with such straightforward words. There was no sense of the usual rhetoric of regret about the situation, rather a real plan for reconstuction and reordering of our military for a successful conclusion to our occupation of Iraq. In my mind, there is no other candidate who could possibly inspire the confidence so necessary for Rebublican party victory in the coming presidential election. He simply must run.

Chris said...

The press seems to love the candidate who hasn't announced yet. The anticipation seems to drive an interested and respectful tone, almost like a seduction. As soon as they announce, however, the piling on begins - the dissection, the horse race, the money game, the comparative strengths and weaknesses become the prism through which they are suddenly judged. Chuck Hagel would not be getting the white glove treatment he is getting now if he had already announced. In this sense, by waiting, he is getting tremendous positive press that money can't buy. As other folks have said though, if there is a finite pool of candidate campaign finance funds, he will be on the tail end of it when he does announce and theoretically could never catch up. I'm not sure whether there is a direct relationship between money raised and the presidency - I'm hoping it's not now inextricably 1 to 1.

Reid said...

I think it is too early to worry about soliciting votes for the primar elections. What is important now is lining up volunteers around the country, organizing supporters to present themselves as delgates to precinct, county and state conventions, leading to election of National Convention delegates, and identifying leaders in each state to monitor procedures for primary elections and delegate selection. Senator Hagel may also want to form a coalition of Republicans around the country who are united by their opposition to the policy of preemptive war in confronting militant Islamic movements and actors. This could then build into a Presidential campaign at the appropriate time. But if he puts himself as the leader of a movement, he can raise money outside of Presidential campaign limits, while still building an organization that can easily move into a Presidential campaign operation.