That big announcement Sen. Chuck Hagel was going to make today? Here it is:
America is facing its most divisive and difficult issue since Vietnam—the war in Iraq, an issue that I have been deeply involved in. I want to keep my focus on helping find a responsible way out of this tragedy, and not divert my energy, efforts and judgment with competing political considerations.
I am here today to announce that my family and I will make a decision on my political future later this year.
Someone out there is going to compare Hagel to New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who famously fretted and dithered and finally passed on a run for the Democrats' 1992 presidential nomination because he couldn't make up his mind. The comparison is unfair to Cuomo, as he was the frontrunner. Hagel's support for 2008 peaked in an August 2006 Fox News poll, where he scored… 3 percent. Rep. Duncan Hunter scored 5 percent. So what the cable networks plugged into today was a stunt by a fringe candidate. Hagel could stop being a fringe candidate, of course, if he 1) actually proposed an Iraq withdrawal plan or 2) started running for president.
There might be room for an eloquent anti-war Republican in the 2008 race. There's no room for a meglomaniacal glory hog who cares more about column inches than troop movements.