Chuck Hagel: nothing more than your typical Republican

(originally posted at Deny My Freedom and My Left Wing)

There's been quite a bit of buzz in the media lately due to a rarity: a congressional Republican has been openly criticizing the Bush administration on a number of issues as of late. Chuck Hagel, a Republican senator from Nebraska, has been at odds with his party over various foreign policy-related issues. A few weeks ago, he criticized the Bush administration's handling of the Mideast conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Then he went and compared Iraq to Vietnam, something that's not too popular an opinion with the right wing. Today, he comes out and says that the GOP has lost itself:

Republicans have lost their way when it comes to many core GOP principles and may be in jeopardy heading into the fall elections, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. says. Hagel, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, said Sunday that the GOP today is very different party from the one when he first voted Republican.

"First time I voted was in 1968 on top of a tank in the Mekong Delta," said Hagel, a Vietnam veteran. "I voted a straight Republican ticket. The reason I did is because I believe in the Republican philosophy of governance. It's not what it used to be. I don't think it's the same today."

Hagel asked: "Where is the fiscal responsibility of the party I joined in '68? Where is the international engagement of the party I joined -- fair, free trade, individual responsibility, not building a bigger government, but building a smaller government?"

The obvious question to ask, of course, is this: if that's what Senator Hagel truly believes, why doesn't he switch to the Democratic Party?

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The Politics of War: Then and Now

An unpopular war raged but the president refused to acknowledge error or change course. A talented and ambitious congressman continued to support his president in spite of private doubts and even misgivings from his own children. He largely supported the president's domestic agenda and as a Washington insider received many briefings from the Pentagon, State Department and CIA.

They all told him the administration's policies were working and a premature withdrawal was tantamount to weakness. The war was of course Vietnam. LBJ was in the White House. And a Massachusetts congressman named Tip O'Neill was on a collision course with President Johnson after years of steadfast support.

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Focus on the Family's New Advertisements

Focus on the Family will air advertisements in 13 states in an attempt to pressure Senators who have opposed or have expressed opposition to the federal Marriage Protection Amendment.  Here is Focus on the Family's list of advertisements and the Senators they plan to target:

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The War Powers Act and Iran

In 1964 the U.S. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and provided President Lyndon Johnson the legal cover he needed to prosecute the Vietnam War. Partly, the Tonkin Resolution stemmed from the expansion of presidential powers that took place during World War Two under FDR and the Cold War under the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy Administrations. The threats to our national security were real and Americans believed whatever their presidents told them.

That changed when Presidents Johnson and Nixon sundered America's honor and confidence to pursue an un-winnable and immoral war. The body counts multiplied and social unrest intensified as "peace with honor" eluded the grasp of Johnson and Nixon. Congress was stuck with a mistake it couldn't undue and never wanted to repeat again.

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