Friday, March 30, 2007

Campus Coordinators

We have a new push on in the Students for Hagel element of the Draft Hagel movement. We are taking the movement to colleges and universities around the nation.

We are recruiting Campus Coordinators to take the lead in organizing the grassroots movement on campuses across the country. If you are a college student interested in helping with the Draft Hagel movement on your campus, please let us know (email me or post a comment).

Today we are happy to announce the first of the new Campus Coordinators.

Steven Place at Catholic University (Washington D.C.)

John McNamara
at Hillsdale College (Michigan)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Draft Hagel merchandise site launched!

The Draft Hagel store has been launched! Now you can show your support with buttons and stickers. Check out the store, as it has some cool items and designs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Press Release: "Hagel-Webb Introduce Amendment to Protect Readiness of U.S. Troops and Limit Deployments"

Here's a press release from Chuck Hagel's Senate website:
Hagel-Webb Introduce Amendment to Protect Readiness of U.S. Troops and Limit Deployments

March 27th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced a bipartisan amendment today to the Iraq War supplemental spending bill. The amendment:

• ensures that units and individuals in the Armed Forces be certified as “fully mission capable” 15 days prior to deployment;

• limits the length of overseas deployments of the Army, Marine Corps, and National Guard;

• establishes a minimum time between deployments for the Army, Marine Corps and National Guard;

• provides additional appropriations totaling approximately $3.1 billion to reset Army National Guard and Reserve equipment and to address funding shortfalls for Army National Guard training, operations and maintenance; and to fund the acquisition of additional Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles for the Marine Corps;

• and requires the President to report to Congress on the comprehensive diplomatic, political and economic strategy of the U.S. regarding Iraq.

“This amendment puts the focus where it should be: on the men and women of our military. No American wants to allow a single soldier or Marine to be deployed without meeting the military’s standard of readiness. Yet that is what we are doing. We are breaking our military and this amendment will help put a stop to it. This amendment is about taking care of our troops,” Hagel said.

“I have long advocated that the U.S. strategy in Iraq should embrace concerted regional and international diplomacy,” said Senator Webb. “This bipartisan amendment will advance efforts to achieve that goal. Moreover, we will take critical and necessary steps to strengthen congressional oversight regarding military readiness and the administration’s policies for deploying and redeploying personnel and units to Iraq. The amendment’s increased appropriations for military readiness and force-protection vehicles reflect a determination to assist our ground forces reverse their worrisome decline in readiness–especially the National Guard in both its domestic and federal missions.”

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hagel on the issues - IMMIGRATION

Senator Hagel has been a key player in the immigration debate for the last few years. Once again, the information comes from his website.
  • Senator Hagel co-authored legislation in the Senate which would add 14,000 new border patrol agents; quadruple border fencing; require aliens show a biometric, machine-readable and tamper-resistant identification card for work authorization; increase fines for hiring illegal workers; and deal with the 12 million illegal immigrants living in this country.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Part six in this week's series on Chuck Hagel on the issues. The information comes from his new website.
  • Senator Hagel has stood up to increased spending and bigger government by voting against large budget busting bills like the Medicare Reform Bill and No Child Left Behind.

Press Release: "Hagel Introduces Resolution Commemorating 25th Anniversary of Vietnam Memorial"

Here's another press release from this week:
Hagel Introduces Resolution Commemorating 25th Anniversary of Vietnam Memorial

March 22nd, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced a resolution today commemorating March 26th as the 25th anniversary of the construction and dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The bill has 53 cosponsors. Hagel, a twice-wounded Vietnam veteran, and former Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration, spoke at the 1982 groundbreaking for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. On March 26th, Hagel will speak at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

“The creation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial marked the beginning of a healing process for a nation, and veterans, divided by the war. Now, every year millions of Americans come to this monument to pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. While the debate over our involvement in Vietnam and the conduct of the war will continue for years to come, the Memorial demonstrates the appreciation all Americans have for those who serve. It honors the warriors, not the war,” Hagel said.

In 1997, the U.S. Senate passed S. Res. 87, a resolution introduced by Hagel and former Senator and fellow Vietnam veteran Bob Kerrey (D-NE), which commemorated the 15th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Press Release: "Hagel Reintroduces Bill to Aid Military Families"

Chuck Hagel's Senate Office released this press release this week:
Hagel Reintroduces Bill to Aid Military Families

March 20th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) joined Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) today in reintroducing the “Military Retiree Survivor Benefit Equity Act.” This legislation would allow qualifying surviving spouses of military service members to receive survivor annuities—without being offset—from both the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Defense.

“America owes a great debt of gratitude to our professional service members. It is important to remember that years of devoted service also affects not only service members, but their families. This legislation will ensure that surviving military spouses are guaranteed access to the benefits that were earned and purchased by the service of their loved one,” Hagel said.

Currently, when a retired service member passes away from a service-related disability, the surviving spouse may be eligible to receive 1) Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) paid by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and 2) Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) which is paid by the Department of Defense. Under current law, DIC payments to surviving spouses are deducted from their SBP payments. Therefore, most surviving spouses of disabled military retirees find that their DIC payments cancel out their SBP benefits. This legislation would allow surviving spouses who qualify for both to receive full DIC and SBP payments.

Hagel and Bill Nelson introduced similar legislation in the 109th Congress.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hagel to be on This Week on Sunday

Senator Hagel will be on This Week (on ABC) this Sunday. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Hagel on the issues - EDUCATION

Today's topic is education. The information comes from his new website.
  • Senator Hagel has led the effort in the Senate to reduce the 30-year-old unfunded education mandate on our local schools by increasing funds for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Senator Hagel has worked to increase funding to support Nebraska's community colleges.
  • Senator Hagel voted against No Child Left Behind because it expands the role of the federal government in education and undermines local and state control of education.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bonus post for today - "Dark Horse Hagel"

If you have a minute check out "Dark Horse Hagel".

Hagel on the issues - AGRICULTURE

Once again, the information comes from his new webite.
  • Senator Hagel has worked to pass $4 billion in drought disaster assistance through a responsible and accountable legislative process in the Senate this year.
  • In July, Senator Hagel toured drought-stricken counties around Nebraska.
  • Senator Hagel worked with the Japanese government to re-open the multi-billion dollar Japanese market to U.S. beef.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hagel on the issues - TAXES

Here is part three in the series. The information comes from his new website.
  • Senator Hagel supported the President's tax cut initiatives in 2001 and 2003 and supports making them permanent.
  • Senator Hagel has co-sponsored legislation for 10 years that would eliminate the estate tax.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hagel on the issues - ENERGY

Part two of my series on Chuck Hagel on the issues. The information comes from his new website.
  • Senator Hagel has supported environmentally responsible energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
  • Senator Hagel has introduced legislation in the Senate to require that all gasoline contain 10% ethanol by 2010, and supports producing 25% of America's energy from renewable resources by 2025.
  • Senator Hagel has supported the increased use of nuclear power, off-shore drilling, and a wider and deeper portfolio of energy resources.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hagel on the issues - MILITARY

This week begins a series on Chuck Hagel on the issues. The information comes from his new website.
  • Senator Hagel led the fight to increase the size of the U.S. Army and Marines.
  • Senator Hagel sponsored legislation to increase the military death benefit and eliminate the fee charged to members of the American military to sign up for the Montgomery G.I. Bill.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"President Chuck Hagel?"

Check out a blog post, "President Chuck Hagel?" by Joe Leonardi. He makes some very good points and leads off with two great quotes. Thanks to mia for sharing it.

“Hagel is criticized for what many see as grandstanding on the Iraq war, but his critique of the problems we face there has been more right than wrong since our forces landed there.” “He may be right or wrong on Iraq, but no one can question his base conservatism or his devotion to a strong United States.”
American Conservative Union Chairman David A. Keene, quote from the Washington Times

“Beware those who cry for war the loudest, for they are those who have never known the horrors of combat.”
Marine Warrant Officer I served with.

"Hagel has what it takes: Integrity"

Here's a nice piece from Daniel Klimek that was in The Depaulia a while back.
Hagel has what it takes: Integrity
by Daniel Klimek
Staff Writer

After Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made her appearance before a bipartisan Senate committee last week, a day after George Bush presented his idiotic plan for war escalation in a nationally televised address, she ended up experiencing a lot of resistance in her attempts to purvey the president's newest foreign policy wishes.

The ubiquitous resistance against a plan that would send over 20,000 more American lives to the contemporary, war-infected tragedy that is Iraq was fervently dismantled, with the greatest opposition produced by no one other than fellow Republican Chuck Hagel.

An independent-thinking Maverick Senator from Nebraska, Hagel is one of those rare creatures in the American political world: an individualist who refuses to be corrupted by the blindness of partisanship in order to influence decision-making efforts.

Never one to shy away from criticizing his own party when necessary, Hagel once famously remarked, "I took an oath of office to the Constitution. I didn't take an oath of office to my party or my president."

That is why when one of the president's top officials made an appearance before him, Hagel did not fail to disappoint with his natural rhetoric, blasting away at an ill-fated policy and at the pawn sent to sell it.

"To ask our young men and women to sacrifice their lives, to be put in the middle of a civil war, is wrong," Hagel told Rice. "It's, first of all, in my opinion, morally wrong. It's tactically, strategically, militarily wrong."

Hagel, a decorated Vietnam Veteran who (unlike certain Republican leaders) knows what war means firsthand, went on to say, "Some of us remember 1970, Madam Secretary, and that was Cambodia, when our government lied to the American people. I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee."

The two-time Purple Heart winner continued: "So Madam Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous." Then, in one of those poignant moments that sees integrity challenging the authoritarian forces of power, Hagel followed with a set of words that would be repeated all week throughout the national networks around the country.

"As a matter of fact, I have to say, Madam Secretary, that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out. I will resist it."

Seldom does one hear the cheers of public applause at an American Congressional hearing televised on C-SPAN. But the moment could not have come at a more urgent time. Historically, Hagel's dissidence has caused him undeserving criticism. Members of his own party have gone as far as to comparing him to a Democrat. Which is not fair for such a comparison defames the good senator.

Far from a Democrat, Hagel's political liberalism is balanced with the proper amount of social conservatism. Unlike the ideological hypocrites on the Left who advocate the end to killing abroad in the name of peace, yet possess absolutely no shame in supporting similarly heinous actions on the domestic front in the name of "choice," Hagel's record shows a perfect recognition for the dignity of human life, opposing various forms of violence. When it comes to the great abortion debate, the senator shows equal respect for both mother and child with his pro-life stance. The Christian Coalition has given him a rating of 100%, representing a pro-family voting record.

Without question a prominent name considered for the 2008 Presidential Race, Hagel's supporters have developed a grassroots movement backing his candidacy. Though he has not officially announced it yet, the desire to recruit the senator for the '08 race has been established. Numerous unassociated online blogs and sites have been formed organizing efforts for a possible run.

The reason to support Hagel does lie in his individualistic integrity, embodied not only in the man as a politician but also as a human being. Perhaps yet the best example of this free-thinking independence exists in Hagel's response to the Israeli-Lebanese conflict which took place last summer.

While all mainstream politicians from each end of the political aisle�the Bush administration as well as self-proclaimed "progressives" like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi�supported Israel unequivocally as its military forces invaded Lebanon, killing over 1000 innocent civilians and displacing over one million people while labeling these atrocities as acts of "defense," only one high-profile senator spoke out.

Flirting with the possibility of breaking the unspoken, golden rule of American politics: do not ever cross the overly power Israel Lobby, exemplified so artfully in AIPAC (since doing so can result in political suicide), Hagel came before the senate floor in July, 2006, and declared that "The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now. This madness must stop." The latter point referring not only to the violence in the Middle East but also to the unequivocal support offered by both major U.S. parties.

Now that took some chutzpah�the kind necessary in 2008.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Political Reorientation

Senator Hagel spoke on Monday of our nation experiencing a political reorientation. What are your thoughts on what he had to say?

Also, take a look at The Hankster's comments on that. I'm not sure if his press conference on Monday signaled a run as an independent since he specifically addressed his Republican affiliation in the Q&A, but it's an interesting discussion. If you visit The Hankster, vote Hagel in the poll while you're there.

Friday, March 16, 2007

"Editorial: Hagel Will Sell Well In the Heartland"

Here's an piece worth sharing (from Huntington News in WV).
Editorial: Hagel Will Sell Well In the Heartland
In every presidential primary, Republican or Democrat, each party's dominant wing (right for Republicans, left for Democrats) are courted heavily. Take the Republicans. Even if the vast majority of Republican voters are not strongly conservative in the Republican primaries, those conservatives are highly prized because they always vote and are passionate enough to get others to vote.

So every Republican who wants to have a chance of victory is talking conservatives' language on social issues and foreign policy in anticipation of next year's primary contests. Even former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is trying to convince wary conservatives that his liberal advocacy on issues ranging from abortion to gun control to gay rights is behind him now.

What a relief for supporters of U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) that their man doesn't have to try so hard to convince conservatives that he is one of them. On abortion issues, Hagel has a sterling pro-life record in the U.S. Senate. The same is true on issues involving family values like marriage to a defense of the Second Amendment. Moreover, Hagel is a strong anti-tax Republican who wants a balanced budget. And as for his stand against some of the strategy leading up to the Iraq war and the blunders caused in it, Hagel always comes in the name of the soldiers themselves--and a more sensible, effective foreign policy to fight terrorism worldwide.

This is the kind of common-sense conservatism that appeals to both the social conservatives and the traditional, anti-tax conservatives in the Republican Party. More importantly for the GOP as it looks for a winner nationally in what will be a very close election in 2008, Hagel's common sense will resonate with the general voting public in both parties.

Rural states similar to Nebraska, like West Virginia, are as much traditional as they are conservative. Their voters want someone who understands rural issues. Given West Virginia's rise to prominence in the electoral college tally in 2000, putting George W. Bush over the top, look for candidates like Hagel to put in some time in states like West Virginia where they have natural common ground. Hagel can do well nationally, both in the primaries and the general election, in rural states like West Virginia. Hagel's straight-talking yet always-respectful style will be appreciated here.

The American people may be ready for a "Steady Eddie," a fresh face with a solid record of achievement in the U.S. Senate, and a seasoned leader with an intimate understanding of our nation's military, foreign policy, and what makes the private sector hum. If so, the Republicans would be wise to put forward a midwestern statesman this time around for President: U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Bill Wineke: Hagel would make the best president"

Here's an article that's worth taking a look at: Bill Wineke: Hagel would make the best president. Here's an excerpt:
I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Hagel is the best person to run this country for the next few years.
Hagel is one of the most conservative members of the Senate and I disagree with him on virtually every issue. I even disagree with him on the war in Iraq. I don't think we can just walk away from the mess we created.

So why would I suggest Hagel is the best person to run our country?

Because this country has a lot of big problems to solve and it is doing precious little to solve any of them.

I'm not at all sure it makes any difference whether our leaders follow liberal policies to solve those problems or follow conservative policies. There are different paths to solving problems. But for the past 16 years, at least, we haven't followed any path; we've just spent all our time fighting.

Hagel, I think, has the opportunity to pull the country together. He is a war hero who was wounded in Vietnam. That should mollify the hawks. He opposes the war in Iraq. That should mollify the doves.

He built a business from scratch. I have never heard any scandal associated with his name. He's not running around the country trying to convince fruitcakes that he's one of them.

In short, Chuck Hagel is the conservative Republican everyone thought George W. Bush would be - but wasn't.

Hagel gets a great deal of respect due to his competence.

Leadership, Vision, and Experience - that's why I support Hagel for '08.

Also, please donate today.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Donate now!

The new official Hagel campaign website is up and running and can accept donations on-line. The donations go to his Senate campaign war chest, which can be directly transferred to a presidential campaign fund. Let’s build some momentum and get some money into Chuck Hagel’s campaign coffers. Please donate today at , even if it is just a little (though of course more is always better). Let's show America what kind of grassroots support Senator Hagel has.

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Official Site Launched Today

Chuck Hagel has launched a new campaign website today, Head over there and sign up, and perhaps even contribute. Senator Hagel left his options open today in his annoucement and said that he plans to do some fundraising, which will help should he decide to run for President or reelection to the Senate.

What we can do while we wait

Chuck Hagel announced today that he is going to focus on the important issues of today rather than focus on a campaign right now. We commend him for that. He left open the possibility of running for President in 2008 and we want to see that happen.

The grassroots effort to support Chuck Hagel is already underway and we invite you to join it (or to become more active). Here are some ways we can work to support Chuck Hagel now.

One of the key things that must be done is networking. A grassroots movement is being built and it needs to grow. To further that, fill out the form on the right hand side of this page. To get involved join one of the many Chuck Hagel for President groups (listed at the right side of the page - some at Yahoo, Google, Myspace, and Facebook). Also, visit DraftHagel08 and sign the petition.

Fundraising is critical, so donating money certainly helps. Two ways to do this are to donate to his PAC, and/or to his Senate campaign. Any money in his Senate campaign can be transferred to a Presidential campaign.

A key element is simply spreading the word. Talk to people about Chuck Hagel and discuss why he will make a great President. Also, share your reasons for supporting Chuck Hagel here; we'd love to hear why you like Senator Hagel. You'd be amazed at how much impact just talking to people has.

Also, buy merchandise and get his name and the idea of him running for President into people's heads. At this point getting people to think about the possibility is critical. Also, getting those people that are likely to volunteer on a campaign or donate money to think about Hagel for President is important, as they are more likely to be thinking about it earlier than your average voter.

Another thing that people can do is drive the Internet Buzz surrounding Chuck Hagel. There are numerous ways to do this. Everyone can vote for Chuck Hagel in online polls. Also, everyone can comment on blogs, expressing their support for Senator Hagel. If you have a website or blog, add a banner or a link to this site ( and others that support Chuck Hagel. If you have a blog, post about Chuck Hagel.

If anyone has other ideas, please share them.

Hagel going to focus on the Senate for the time being

Senator Hagel DID NOT announce that he's running for President today. He said that he wants to focus on the important issues that confront the nation today without being distracted by a campaign.

However, he did keep open the option of running for President by entering the race later in the year.

Here is the text of his statement:

"America stands at an historic crossroads in its history. It is against this backdrop that I find myself at my own crossroads on my political future. Burdened by two wars, faced with dangerous new threats and global uncertainty, beset by serious long-term domestic problems and divided by raw political partisanship—America now reaches for a national consensus of purpose. America’s response to the challenges and opportunities that confront us today will define our future. Finding solutions to these challenges and capitalizing on these opportunities will not wait until the next election.

I have worked hard over the last ten years on foreign policy and national security issues, climate change and energy, education, entitlement reform, especially Social Security reform, health care, veterans benefits, GSE reform, and immigration reform. This year will be an important year for these critical issues– and I intend to offer new initiatives on each of them. I want to give these and other subjects my full attention over the next few months. I believe it is in the interests of my Nebraska constituents and this country that I continue to work full time on these challenges.

America is facing its most divisive and difficult issue since Vietnam—the war in Iraq, an issue that I have been deeply involved in. I want to keep my focus on helping find a responsible way out of this tragedy, and not divert my energy, efforts and judgment with competing political considerations.

I am here today to announce that my family and I will make a decision on my political future later this year.

In making this announcement, I believe there will still be political options open to me at a later date. But that will depend on the people of Nebraska and this country. I cannot control that and I do not worry about it. I will continue to participate in events across this country, raising money for my Political Action Committee to assist Republican candidates, and raising funds for a Senate re-election campaign.

In conclusion, I would first like to commend my colleagues who are currently seeking their Party’s presidential nomination. I admire each of them for their willingness to put themselves on the line and pursue their strong beliefs and ideals.

I believe the political currents in America are more unpredictable today than at any time in modern history. We are experiencing a political re-orientation, a redefining and moving toward a new political center of gravity. This movement is bigger than both parties. The need to solve problems and meet challenges is overtaking the ideological debates of the last three decades—as it should. America is demanding honest, competent and accountable governance.

A global political readjustment is also in play today...and will respond to America’s leadership. What is at stake for the future of America is larger than just American politics. Politics is simply the mechanism democracies use to affect responsible change. The world is not static, it is dynamic.

At the beginning of my remarks I said that America is reaching for a national consensus of purpose. We will find it because Americans expect it and will demand it. I do not believe America’s greatness is lost to the 20th Century. There are chapters of America’s greatness yet to be written. I intend to continue being part of America’s story."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

"EDITORIAL: Hagel Will Make 2008 an Adventure"

Here's an editorial from Huntington News in Huntington, WV that sums up why many want to see Chuck Hagel in the White House.
U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) has led what some would call an adventuresome life: helping to fight the Vietnam War, some serious success as a businessman and entrepreneur, and one of the most respected, independent political voices at the nation's capitol.

He could cash in his chips right now and leave a hero. Or perhaps opt for a significant appointment in the next administration like Colin Powell chose to do, perhaps to his regret.

But increasingly, Senator Hagel sounds like a Republican Presidential candidate, and when one surveys the field of likely candidates in parties, no one else has the blend of experience, the understanding of war, and the pulse of the American people like Senator Hagel does.


Hagel was the first Republican to question whether the Iraq War was heading in the right track. He courageously asked questions nobody else would ask -- in either party -- of this administration's key foreign policy decision. Having seen war up close, Hagel is neither afraid to prosecute a just war, nor is he patient with bland excuses for warfare that seems to be listless and meaningful only in the number of casualties.

The man who is both comfortable with power but responsible and judicious in its use is who American needs now. Like George Washington, who always returned his power back to the people who gave it to him, Senator Hagel appears to have the integrity to be trusted with power in next year's election and beyond.

We hope he runs--for the sake of our country and the world. Those who have the audacity to question Senator Hagel for merely raising the most obvious of questions about a failed strategy need to get a serious reality check--and to check out the continued drumbeat of the public opinion polls.

Hagel is a man whose time has come -- because he's one of us. He understands the price of war and how to prosecute a necessary military conflict effectively. How?

Because he does his homework and casts a wide net for advice.

Friday, March 09, 2007

For those who want to catch the announcement live...

The Leavenworth Street blog has the details on how to catch Chuck Hagel's annoucement live on Monday:
For those of you who can’t wait for the online news updates to Chuck Hagel’s 10:00 AM CDT Monday “announcement”, three of the local Omaha TV stations will provide streaming video of the event live on their websites.
They are:

In addition, you can listen to the announcement on your computer as well via radio stations KFAB or KKAR’s websites.
I know what I'll be doing Monday morning.

Guest post - Chuck Hagel: A brief history as I recall

This evening we have a guest post by Mary Wittler.


Chuck Hagel

Yesterday, the local news was making a big todo about the Chuck Hagel announcement coming on Monday from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. And rightly so. I remember the last time one of Nebraska's own made a run for the top job. Bob Kerrey created a lot buzz and a pretty big stir when he threw his hat in the ring for a relatively short run. I don't expect that to be the case this time around. This one's gonna be interesting. I can attest to that because I've been watching Senator Hagel from the farmhouse for quite a while now.

A brief history as I recall.

Before Chuck Hagel came into the picture, his senate seat was held by Democratic Senator James Exon. James Exon was a much beloved and highly regarded Nebraska politician having won five consecutive state elections and never having lost. He was a popular two term governor before taking on the Senate. He retired from politics in 1997 at the age of 76. Enter Ben Nelson. Another very popular two term Democratic governor and odds on favorite to succeed Senator Exon. Also enter Don Stenberg, a very popular Attorney General, and Republican party golden boy.

Everyone was eagerly anticipating the showdown between Nelson and Stenberg as if it were a sure thing. It was set up to be a knock down drag out. The Democrats held that seat for decades even through the Reagan years and the Republicans wanted it badly. Out of the blue, and I mean that like..."Where the heck did he come from and who is this guy?"...along comes Chuck Hagel. Everyone's first response to the plain spoken man from North Platte was one of writing him off as an "also ran".

Being from North Platte which is in the panhandle country of Nebraska is like being from the Upper Peninsula if you are a Michigander. There is Omaha and Lincoln and their surrounding areas...and then there is the whole rest of the state. The Omaha/Lincoln crowd pretty much run the show in Nebraska.

Well, the plain spoken man campaigned tirelessly. He talked to people not at them. He sounded like them. And what he said, made sense to them. There was no lawyer speak, or polished phrasing. He kept it simple. Think John Wayne as opposed to Dick Powell. That was the difference between Chuck Hagel and Don Stenberg. Add to that the times. The prevailing thought was that there were already too many lawyers in Washington. The voters responded. Chuck Hagel won the primary. Eyebrows were raised. No one saw this coming...but they should have, and would have if they had been paying attention. They had just "assumed", and Stenberg grossly underestimated not only Hagel, but the voters. Ben Nelson wasn't about to make the same mistake.

The election of 1996 was a humdinger. It got heated in a big way. The two men obviously didn't have much use for each other, and the feelings that were born out of that election continue to this day. Remember those Pace Picante sauce commercials? I remember that Ben Nelson used them to try and cast aspertions on the fact that Chuck Hagel had left Nebraska to enter big business...and that his values were no longer Nebraska values, but rather from New York City.....that's NEW YORK CITY! Still cracks me up.

However, Chuck Hagel's base served him well. As a child his family had moved several times all around Nebraska. He knew LOTS of people and those people all vouched for his Nebraska values. Not only that, Chuck Hagel was a bonafide decorated army veteran, having served as a grunt during Vietnam. Those were some huge props that served him well with the military folks. In addition, he had graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha...not the Lincoln school. The Omaha college was the working mans school. There were no on site dormitorys. It was not a frat school, or a party school. This was a school were you went to get the degree that would help you move up in the world.

Again, Chuck Hagel spoke to the people and addressed the issues that were their issues. His campaign message was that he wasn't trying to get elected to serve himself, he was trying to get elected to be their voice. And they believed him and believed in him. And that's why Chuck Hagel got elected and Ben Nelson didn't. Voting machines aside...the exit polls verified that the people thought that Chuck Hagel represented Nebraska in more ways than one.

So on Monday, when Chuch Hagel makes his announcement whatever it is (I'm bettting he'll go the exploratory committee route) from the University of Nebraska at Omaha....he starts out on this journey with the same foot and the same message. That message is that I am one of the common folk, who started out with nothing, served my country when my country called, went to school to get my degree right here at this school not some Ivy league elite school, worked hard, started a family, and made some money the old fashioned way. I care about all the things you care about especially this debacle in Iraq...because I am just like you. Let me be your voice.

If you think there aren't voters that are going to respond to that...think again. Oh and one more Nebraska Chuck Hagel is even more popular with Democrats than he is with Republicans. Try figuring that one out.


Originally posted yesterday at the author's Yahoo360 blog.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Republican Leadership Council

Check out the new Republican Leadership Council's website if you have a moment today. Be sure to vote Hagel in their 2008 poll while you're there.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hagel to announce plans on Monday

The end of the wait in is in sight! Chuck Hagel will annouce his future plans on Monday morning. Now if we only knew what that was....

Hagel to Hold News Conference Regarding His Future Plans
U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel will hold a news conference Monday, March 12, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. CST. The news conference will be held in Bootstrapper Memorial Hall at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s William H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center.
You can read about it in the Omaha World-Herald as well.

Esquire Magazine's profile of Chuck Hagel

Esquire Magazine has a profile of Chuck Hagel for their upcoming April issue. Be sure to check out the full article.

"Chuck Hagel's historic moment, and what it means for a declining presidency."

The article give an excellent look into the person of Chuck Hagel, giving an excellent background on his family, experience in Vietnam, and how he came to where he is now. There's also some nice photos in the piece as well.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

"Is Hagel The Credible Conservative Candidate?"

Cyclone Conservatives has a great post titled "Is Hagel The Credible Conservative Candidate?"
There seems to be a lot of media discussion lately claiming that the GOP has not yet found a top tier conservative candidate to rally around yet.
So, there is definitely no ideal candidate out there...YET.

And so that brings into the equation Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. If conservatives can be calmed about his dovish tendencies toward Iraq, then Hagel might be the most well-known conservative in the race.

Recently, the National Journal released their 2006 liberal/conservative scores for Senators and Congressmen. After taking into account votes based on economic, social, and foreign policy; a formula is created and the votes are plugged in.

The Result? Of the 2008 Presidential aspirants already in the race or names that are floated, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is the most conservative U.S. Senator. He just outflanks Brownback by a little bit.

Sure, Hagel bucks the President on foreign policy; but on most other issues, he totes the party line better than any of the other Senators in the race.

I, for one, would like to see Hagel get into the race. I've met Senator Hagel and heard him lecture at Iowa State in 2005. He's a very intelligent man who would bring a lot to the foreign policy debate and future of the party.
I hope Hagel makes a decision soon because he quite possibly could be the credible credentialed conservative candidate to watch.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Vote in on-line polls

Don't forget to head out and vote Hagel in on-line 2008 pollls. Here are a couple:

Cyclone Conservatives
Oval Office 2008

Please let me know of others going on around the web (email me or post as a comment).

Press release on the National Guard

Chuck Hagel's Senate office released this press release Thursday:
Hagel Statement on Congressional Commission on National Guard and Reserve’s Report that 90 Percent of Army National Guard Units are rated “not ready”

March 1st, 2007 -
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) released the following statement today regarding a report published by the Congressional Commission on the National Guard and Reserve’s Report that concluded 90 percent of Army National Guard Units are rated “not ready.” The report details the Guard’s struggles with equipment, recruitment and retention, training and funding. The Commission estimates that the National Guard would require $38 billion for equipment to restore domestic Army and Air units to full readiness:

“This report serves as a clear indication of the damage we have done to the National Guard over the last four years. As I have said, we are stretching the National Guard beyond the breaking point. It is unacceptable to ask the National Guard to take on missions for which we have not prepared or equipped them. The report’s recommendations should be seriously considered and the Administration and Congress must act now to fix these problems,” Hagel said.

The International Association of Firefighters

According to Hotline, "It's the first bipartisan forum with the major '08 presidential candidates." On March 14th The International Association of Firefighters will be having an annual meeting and Chuck Hagel will be there to speak (he's scheduled for 1pm). For the full story check out the short piece at Hotline on Call.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Your reasons for a Hagel Presidency (Part 8)

Josh (from Kansas City, MO) has given his answer to our question: "Why do you want Chuck Hagel to be our next President?"
Chuck Hagel represents the utopian Republican right now. He's firm on Repubican morals, and accountability, but he's also willing to hold firm to his beliefs that America can do better in the area of Foreign Policy. No one is satisfied with the current situation in Iraq. What happened in the past is past. Chuck Hagel looks to the future. Instead of the typical Congressman's response of "If we knew then what we know now," Chuck has come up with a viable workable, and more importantly a bi-partisan solution. What more could you ask for? He's a great choice, because he truly represents Republican values, and is a viable option for those moderate Republicans and Independents that aren't yet willing to concede the White House to the Democrats. I hope that Chuck decides to run, if so it's going to be up to us to help him out, and I'm willing to take that step.
Thanks, Josh!

Two articles making the case for Hagel

There are two articles out today making the case that Chuck Hagel is the right choice for the Republicans. They both note (as I have heard many times) that Republicans are not excited about the 2008 field.

The first is "Long-Shot Hagel May Be Republican's Best Bet" by Margaret Carlson. Here are some excerpts.
With no Secretariat in the stable, there's room for a dark horse. Galloping in is Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel.
If party activists could see past his sharp criticism of Bush's foreign policy, they would like his life story. Hagel's father died when he was a teenager, and young Chuck helped look after the other children and worked as a carhop at a hamburger joint. He and his younger brother joined the infantry and nearly died in Vietnam. He worked several jobs before starting a hugely successful cell-phone company. It made him a millionaire.

Although he's often referred to as McCain without the attitude, Hagel is hardly an economic populist. He is an ardent tax cutter and fiscal conservative who votes with Bush, as he reminds me, more than 90 percent of the time.

He's not an evangelical (he's Episcopalian), but they could hardly fault his voting record, which garners a pro-family score of 100 from the Christian Coalition.
He's not the only Republican to turn against Bush on the war, just the one who most annoys the White House.
It's hard to make smears like ``you're emboldening the enemy'' and ``sending the wrong message to the troops'' stick to Hagel, who still carries shrapnel and burn scars from pulling his brother to safety in Vietnam.
The second piece is "Hagel's the only real right stuff" by Brett Arends.

Conservatives should stop complaining about their choices for president. They already have a serious candidate who is to the right of Ronald Reagan - and who could actually win a general election.
Despite his current liberal vogue over the Iraq war, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) has a 100 percent lifetime rating from the Christian Coalition. One hundred percent. He has a 0 percent rating from pro-choice pressure groups. He has a right-wing record right down the line, from gun rights to gay marriage to ANWAR petroleum drilling to tax cuts. He even opposed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which President Bush signed.

He’s also an expert on foreign relations and intelligence. Oh yes, and he’s a decorated veteran who served his country in Vietnam.
The irony is that Hagel is the sort of conservative candidate who could win over a lot of independents in a general election, even if they may not agree with him on some issues.

The man has moxie - enough to stand up to the Bush administration in 2005, when even many Democrats were still hiding in their bunker. He has been proven correct on the handling of postwar Iraq. He has the foreign policy experience, through his work on non-governmental organizations and on the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees. And finally, Hagel’s conservative principles even extend to a burning issue for independents: the Constitution.
Grassroots conservatives have to ask themselves a simple question: Are they really conservatives or just loyalists to the party leadership?

Video: Hagel on the '08 race

Senator Hagel talked about the 2008 race with a local news station in Nebraska and you can watch the video on their website. They discuss the blogs encouraging him to run (such as this one) and the grassroots movement in the clip.