Chuck Hagel: Time for a new political party

U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel writes in a new book that the United States needs independent leadership and possibly another political party, while suggesting the Iraq war might be remembered as one of the five biggest blunders in history.

“In the current impasse, an independent candidate for the presidency, or a bipartisan unity ticket … could be appealing to Americans,” Hagel writes in “America: Our Next Chapter,” due in stores Tuesday. The Associated Press obtained an advance copy.

The Nebraska Republican, who announced last year he wouldn’t seek a third term or the GOP presidential nomination, had been widely mentioned as a running mate on an independent ticket with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg said last month he wouldn’t run.

Hagel said that despite holding one of the Senate’s strongest records of support for President Bush, his standing as a Republican has been called into question because of his opposition to what he deems “a reckless foreign policy … that is divorced from a strategic context.”

Hagel, who’s been a harsh critic of the war since 2003, writes that the invasion of Iraq was “the triumph of the so-called neoconservative ideology, as well as Bush administration arrogance and incompetence.”

The Vietnam veteran said he had hoped the lessons from that war would give the nation’s leaders perspective before troops were sent to Iraq.

“To the astonishment of those of us who lived through the agony of Vietnam, these lessons were ignored in the run-up to the Iraq War,” he writes.

Hagel said Vice President Dick Cheney and others “cherry-picked intelligence” and used fear to intensify “war sloganeering.”

During visits to the Middle East in December 2002, Hagel said, Israel’s top security officials asked, “Do you really understand what you are getting yourselves into?”

Hagel said Bush personally assured him that he would exhaust diplomatic avenues before committing troops to Iraq. The senator said he voted for the war resolution based on those assurances, but regrets the vote because it’s now clear that lawmakers were presented with lies and wishful thinking.

Last year, Hagel was the only member of his party on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support a nonbinding measure critical of Bush’s decision to dispatch an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq.

“There is no strategy. This is a pingpong game with American lives,” Hagel said at the time.


On the Net:

U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel:


  1. old_curmudgeon

    From my Northeast Kingdom viewpoint, I agree. The “system” was designed to support only 2 parties. One against the other. Ying and Yang. Regardless that the “2 parties” are dissimilar less than similar, the common man is locked (brainwashed) into the concept that they are different. They aren’t. They are both controlled by the same owners.

    The bailout of Bear Sterns is indicative of who controls whom.

    But, that’s just this old curmudgeon’s opinion.

  2. pollchecker

    Let’s give a big round of applause for Senator Hagel. I wish I could say I wish he wasn’t leaving the Senate but since he enabled so many of GW policies, I won’t be shedding any tears.

    But I do admire him speaking up and FINALLY telling the truth.

  3. dbumRob

    Yes, and the makings of such a bipartisan ticket have already been hinted at: Clinton and McCain. Hillary did claim they were the more experienced of the two. And she seems to have a lot of comments about the unworthiness of her own party rival, and little to say about McCain.

    But a bipartisan ticket of old timers in DC would be nothing more than business as usual of the last seven years variety. And perhaps the way to achieve that is to return to the old method of elections whereby the highest vote getter is Prez, and the second highest VP.

    This might be a better future idea. Right now the Republicans, based on their voting records, are not interested in anything that benefits Americans. Their values border on fascist, and unConstitutional. Or theocratic.

    So until the day Republicans and Democrats alike can remember that they serve Americans and not special interests, a bipartisan ticket would mean nothing.

  4. pollchecker

    Hagel didn’t call for a bi-partisan ticket. He called for another party. But I what I like most, is how he is now willing to talk about what’s really going on the the Republican party and their strongarm tactics meant to keep anyone elected under their banner in line.

    It isn’t a coincidence that a record number of Republican Congressmen and Senators are retiring. These are good people who want to get something done even if it means working with the other side.

    The problem is the Republican hierarchy will not allow it under any circumstance. It is their way or the highway and many of their long time members have decided to take the highway, led by Senator Hagel.

    John McCain learned this in 2000 which is why he has spent the last 8 years kissing their asses to the point the he even sounds like Bush and Cheney.

  5. pollchecker

    it can be done. Many have tried. But it cannot be done the way most think it should or will be done which is why it hasn’t been done yet.

    When it happens it will be a small and gradual thing that gains momentum like a snowball down a hill.

    It won’t happen this year. It could start as early as 2010 depending on who gets involved and how much money they bring to the table.

    But it always takes a one — a leader to step outside the box and make themselves a target. There are not many of those around anymore.

    Besides, this year more than ever we do not need anything to tip the scale in favor of the failed policies of Bush/McCain.

    One thing at a time. We can not be distracted from the matters at hand which are ending the war, turning our economy back around in the right direction and ensuring the rights of the citizens of this country. None of which I might add John McCain will pledge to do.

    At the end of this current election cycle we will see where we stand as a country and take it from there.

  6. griff

    Since the most any third party candidate was still, I believe, less than one percent of the vote, it seems to me that we need a massive third party turnout to wake these fools up.

    I think that if Ralph Nader were to receive, say 15% – 20% of the vote instead of the requisite 1%, he still wouldn’t win, but it would send a clear message to the elites that we have finally had enough, and next time maybe a more palatable and electable candidate would step forward.

    As it is right now, the Establishment has no fear of a third party candidate.

    Another problem is that most of the electorate goes back to sleep until the next election. Then they tune back in when the candidates have already been selected. This would have to be a daily endeavor, starting the day after this election.

    Keep an eye on Ron Paul. His work is not done. All that he has predicted has come to fruition. We have 800,000 supporters still working night and day to reclaim the Republican party regardless of the odds. If the Republican Establishment continues to discount this movement, we have the infrastructure and the ability to raise massive sums of money and parlay this into another party.

    Many people simply do not understand the primary process, and in particular, the caucus system. Caucuses are merely a straw vote for electing delegates. These delegates then move to a state convention where the party platform is decided. Although a candidate may have lost the caucus, the number of delegates acquired will have an impact on the party platform.

    For instance, in Greene County, MO, 72 of the 112 delegates going to the state convention are Ron Paul’s. In Jackson County, MO, Ron Paul received the full slate (180) of delegates and several reolutions passed, including no Real ID.

    Phelps County – 17 of 17 delegates.
    Douglas County – 7 of 7 delegates and 7 of 7 alternates.
    Lawrence County – 16 of 16 delegates, 8 of 16 alternates.

    There were hard fought battles in many more counties where the Establishment had to rally and compromise due to the overwhelming number of Paul supporters. Many county chairs have been won by Ron Paul supporters.

    This is how you effect change. You don’t ask for it nicely, you show up and demand it!

  7. DejaVuAllOver

    If Hillary is nominated, Nader will be the only (marginally) ethical choice. Hillary and McCain are both fascist wing-nuts. And of the two, McCain is the better human being because at least he’s honest about his warped ideology.

  8. griff

    My point wasn’t in support of Nader over Clinton or McCain. He was just an example because he’s running third party.

    The point is that if a third party is to be a viable choice in the future, then people will have to start voting for one in larger numbers, even if Obama is the Democrat nominee.

  9. SEAL

    I see absolutely no reason why a third political party could not be established with the power of the current two parties and be ready for the 2012 elections. Call it something simple and true like the American or Independent Party. Only two things would be required:

    1)A group of currently well known political and national figures, all with the same philosophy, would have to appoint themselves to organize and spearhead it.

    2)A group of wealthy individuals would have to commit to finance it for a necessary period of time until the fundraising arm could support it.

    The new party would have to take on the most obvious issues that have been ignored for many years such as:

    Do away with the electoral college.

    Resestablish a voting system run by an independent agency with paper trail verification and a simple low cost challenge system that would be paid by the challenger. Once purchased, all voting machines and their codes and passwords would be established and under the control of the agency.

    Abolish all laws or administrative orders that allow the collection of any information about private citizens without first acquiring a warrant from a federal court of law (possibly with the FISA exception). Reestblish habeas corpus regardless of circumstance just as it is set forth in the Constitution. All law enforcement or investigative, intelligence gathering procedures must conform to the protections mandated in the Constitution.

    No riders may be attached to bills. Only single bills may be voted on.

    Lobbyists must present proposals to a committee for consideration. The committee decides whether to bring it to the floor for a vote.

    Legislators must be in attendance on work days and vote on all bills. No more speaking to empty chambers. No more being out fundraising and campaigning when they are supposed to be working for the people.

    A balanced budget is the LAW.

    Abolish signing statements. A law is a law whether the president agrees or not.

    Establish a national lottery to pay off the national debt. Design it to have several smaller millionaire winners rather than one huge one. You might want to do this on a regional basis with one multi-millionaire winner for each (maybe 10) region.

    Scrap the present income tax system and entitlements and design one that requires every person and business to pay the same percent of income.

    Design a system to properly oversee, regulate, and control “green” incentives under a massive alternative energy program run by scientists.

    Launch a program to rebuild the nation’s infastructure which would create millions of white and blue collar jobs.

    Write into law the womans right to decide abortion.

    Require all foreign trade to be an equal exchange.

    Apply import duities on overseas manufactured products to balance competention with “made in america.”

    Solve the illegal immigration problem by requiring all employers to provide PROOF of citizenship or legal work staus of ALL of their employees on a one, two, or three month basis with severe penalties for failure or fraud.

    Medicare works for those over 65 so, there is no reason why it would not work for everyone. That would insure every person in the country, eliminate exclusions and dramatically improve health care, plus reduce the cost of healthcare through preventive medicine and by eliminating the middle man, the insurance companies.

    Those are only the basic items for a third party program and I’m sure you could think of more. But, if a new party were to come out with that I would bet the farm they would have a bigger following than the democrats do by 2012 and perhaps even the party of bible thumpers.

  10. Ardie

    We need a new party. Let’s do it the modern way by having something like American Idol. Nope that won’t work.

    Okay, if we need a new party don’t we also need a new electorate? I mean those who voted for Bush–what were they thinking? Was it something like this:

    “Ya know, we need a black-out drunk for President; a guy whose dendrites are far and few between. Yep, I have decided, I am going to vote for a moron like me.”

    I think we need a new electorate. So the pertinent question is how do we begin to educate a better electorate who possess some thinking and reasoning skills? Maybe that is the key: teach thinking and reasoning skills. Let’s stop teaching to the test. Let’s turn our high school graduates into jr. statesmen. Then we might have a chance.

  11. staunchdem

    You all have forgotten that crazy old coot Ross Perot.
    He got a hell of a lot more than 1% of the vote and he was right about NAFTA, etc.
    Remember him talking about the “Giant sucking sound of our jobs going South”?
    Hagel’s right on the war but was pretty much a lapdog for the chimp on everything else so he gets a grudging D for his time in the Senate.