Chuck Hagel’s Bid for the Republican Nomination

The Politico‘s Jonathan Martin assesses the presidential chances of Senator Chuck Hagel, who is expected to announce his candidacy today. Essentially, the question is whether a guy with a “lifetime American Conservative Union rating north of 85” but who has little money in the bank and is his party’s most vociferous critic of its president on the most controversial issue of the day can beat the odds.

The answer is almost certainly No. While the Iraq War is widely unpopular, and is losing support even among Republicans, primary voters highly value loyalty to the team. Further, he’s doing his best to take John McCain’s title as “Republican Most Beloved by the Mainstream Media.” It’s going to be mighty hard to raise money, since the most ardent anti-war, anti-Bush forces are aligned with the other party.

The Unity08 nomination, on the other hand, is probably his for the asking. Indeed, it was practically designed around someone like him or Joe Lieberman. The question, then, is whether he’s willing to risk becoming the Ralph Nader of 2008.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I would love to see him run on the unity ticket. He would split the anti-war vote. The bigger part would go with the dems, but the part that says “Iraq sucks but I still don’t want a government bureaucrat deciding if I need surgery” would go with Hagel.