It looks like Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel might toss his hat in the GOP ring. The decorated combat veteran would be the only anti-Iraquagmire/anti-Bush candidate in the GOP prez wannabe roster. That would really twist the Right into knots. (The Politico):

A bid by the Nebraska Republican would further jolt an unsettled Republican presidential field and a GOP already under siege in the wake of President Bush’s unpopular troop surge plan and a steady drumbeat of other bad news for the administration.

Some analysts say Hagel, who will announce his intentions in Omaha, faces an impossible task in courting the party’s conservative base considering his own vociferous opposition to the war in Iraq. Given that, they say, his best course may be to run as an independent.

It’s unlikely that he’d get the party’s nod, but in reality, a top-of-the-ticket Hagel could siphon off those centrist votes that Hillary Clinton prizes. However, he’s not a moderate Republican:

  *  Voted YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)
  * Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
  * Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)
  * Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
  * Voted NO on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998)
  * Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)
  * Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
  * Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)

He also directly answered the marriage equality question in GQ:

No. Personally, I think marriage is between a man and a woman, but that’s because I see it as a religious union. As a legal contract, marriage should be up to the states. If a state wants to change the rules, that’s up to them.

Fun fact: Hagel wants manure off list of hazardous substances.


“I think people are somewhat disillusioned. I think a lot of people are cynical out there. I think they’re looking for something different. … and I think that they’re going to be open to different things.”

Seeing the weak and pretty compromised GOP field out there (flip-flop Romney, too-liberal and too-divorced Giuliani, a tanking McCain, and a second tier of politically impotent fundies and anti-immigrant prospects), Law & Order actor and the former Senator from Tennessee Fred Thompson could have a shot.

More after the flip.(AP):

Thompson, who plays district attorney Arthur Branch on NBC’s drama “Law & Order,” said Sunday, “I’m giving some thought to it, going to leave the door open” and decide in the coming months. “It’s not really a reflection on the current field at all,” he said.

“I’m just going to wait and see what happens,” Thompson added. “I wanted to see how my colleagues who are on the campaign trail do now, what they say, what they emphasize, what they’re addressing, and how successful they are in doing that, and whether or not they can carry the ball in next November.”

The bottom line is that while the guy has star power, he’s a conservative that the CPAC crowd would like. Some of his positions:

* Forced birth advocate: believes the Roe v. Wade decision was “bad law and bad medical science.”

* Opposes gun control: Thompson agreed with last week’s federal appeals decision that overturned a long-standing handgun ban and said “The court basically said the Constitution means what it says, and I agree with that.”

* The Bush Iraq “surge” plan is AOK in his book:  “Wars are full of mistakes. You rectify things. I think we’re doing that now,” he said. “Why would we not take any chance, even though there’s certainly no guarantees, to not be run out of that place? I mean, we’ve got to take that opportunity and give it a chance to work.”

* He would pardon convicted felon and fall guy Scooter Libby: Thompson is a fundraisier for Libby’s defense, btw. He would like Bush to pardon him now versus waiting for all Libby’s appeals to be exhausted.

* On marriage equality, note that the man holds the same position as the top tier Dem candidates: he would let states decide on civil unions. “Marriage is between a man and a woman, and I don’t believe judges ought to come along and change that.”

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding