NE-Sen: It's Official, Hagel's Out

As expected, Sen. Chuck Hagel today announced both that he'll retire from the senate at the end of this term and will not run for president in 2008.

"I will not seek a third term in the United States Senate, nor do I intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008," Hagel said. "It has been my greatest honor and privilege to serve my country and represent my fellow Nebraskans in the U.S. Senate. My family and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and the trust placed in me by the people of Nebraska. It has enriched all of us."

Not only does this news set the stage for yet another possible Democratic pick-up (an announcement by former Nebraska governor and senator Bob Kerrey regarding his possible candidacy may come as early as this week,) but it also fuels a "Republicans are in trouble in 2008" narrative that keeps things like this on people's minds:

Ethics have hurt the GOP's image -- sex-related scandals involving Sens. Larry Craig of Idaho and David Vitter of Louisiana, a federal raid of Sen. Ted Stevens' Alaska home in a bribery investigation. Also, the Senate ethics committee is looking into claims that Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., tried to pressure a federal prosecutor in an election probe of Democrats.

And this:

In addition, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens faces a federal corruption investigation, and Idaho Sen. Larry Craig is expected to resign following his arrest in an airport men's room sex sting.

On a more short-term basis, one question that remains in the wake of Warner's and now Hagel's retirement, is will these men, as the well-respected veterans (and not coincidentally, war critics) they are, use their newfound freedom to try to bring about a real change in Iraq policy? Will they step up their criticism of Bush now that we're well into magical September and do more than talk tough (Warner) and vote tough (Hagel) but actually wield their considerable influence to try to change policy? I'm under no illusion that Bush would listen, mind you, but at this point, in the face of Democrats' unwillingness to de-fund, it seems the only thing that might actually have the potential to decrease troop levels in Iraq before what's now becoming magical April is a Republican revolt, something likely only Warner and Hagel have the power to incite.

Tags: Chuck Hagel, ne-sen, Republicans, Senate (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

The key effect will Democratic gains in the Senate

I really hope that Democrats can hand together and take the best advantage of what looks like a terrific opportunity in '08.  This war is not going to end.  Bush isn't going to de-escalate.  The fact is we need a Democrat in the White House to end this war.   Or at the very least 55 or 56 Senators.

If we lost the White House (which I don't think we will) we could still end it with a big Senate win in '08.  The Republicans left will be shaken and moderates will be looking to save their skins from '10 and beyound.

by dpANDREWS 2007-09-10 10:59AM | 0 recs
Kerrey vs. Hagel

If Bob Kerrey picks up this seat, that is a fairly substantial setback compared to Hagel on the war issue.

by NJIndependent 2007-09-10 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Kerrey vs. Hagel

That is one issue of how many?  And if we win the White House, Iraq is no longer an issue, because the president has the power to end the war.  

by JeremiahTheMessiah 2007-09-10 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Kerrey vs. Hagel

Does it matter how many other issues there are?  The comment I responded to was specifically referencing the war like replacing Hagel with Kerrey was a step forward on that issue, when in fact, it clearly is not.  There are plenty of good reasons for Kerrey to win the NE Senate seat.  Ending the war is simply not one of them.

by NJIndependent 2007-09-10 04:59PM | 0 recs
Kerrey or... who else?

unless Scott Kleeb runs, there's nobody else in the Democratic bench in Nebraska.

by johnny longtorso 2007-09-10 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Kerrey or... who else?

Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey . . . the guy that was being rumored on these blogs before Kerrey even hinted at running.

by Trowaman 2007-09-10 11:25PM | 0 recs
Re: NE-Sen: It's Official, Hagel's Out

With Bob Kerrey in the Senate it's a more progressive place, a more interesting place and certainly a less predictable place.  I don't understand why Kerrey is so awful on the war but he is the most progressive Senator to come out of Nebraska in a century.  Also, do any Nebraska Dems oppose him?  The few Nebraskans I know love Kerrey despite the war and his New York City move?  That's not a rhetorical question, I'm sincerely interested.  

by howardpark 2007-09-10 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: NE-Sen: It's Official, Hagel's Out

Allard, Warner, Craig, and now Hagel.  Any more Repub retirements/resignations around the corner?  Cochran, maybe?  How about Stevens?

by CLLGADEM 2007-09-11 01:42AM | 0 recs

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