The Nation's John Nichols asks why it's a Middle American Republican who's "taking the lead on the issue that played such a pivotal role in putting Democrats in charge of the House and Senate":
Right now, [Sen. Chuck] Hagel is sounding more realistic and responsible than most if not all of the Democrats who are positioning themselves for 2008 presidential runs. Indeed, with Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, the first senator to call for an withdrawal timeline, out of the running, Democrats could use a candidate who speaks as directly as does Hagel about the need to get out of Iraq. While it is true that Illinois Senator Barack Obama, who may or may not be running, is a Democrat who has started to make some of the right noises, Obama has not begun to equal the directness of Hagel's declaration that: "The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation—regardless of our noble purpose."
[Via David Beito.]