And the Winner, With 1551 Delegates, Is… Chuck Hagel!


Just saw Sen. Chuck Hagel speak at a Cato-sponsored event in the Hart Senate office. Hagel sounded like most senators probably feel today—bone-tired and pessimistic. He took around 50 minutes to make mostly familiar points about the failure of Washington to engage the rest of the world. There was one question about Hagel's 2008 plans and the most interesting wrinkle was how much Hagel knew about the primary calendar and about convention rules. Without being prompted he sketched out a scenario where the four frontrunning candidates get deadlocked and… well, uh, who knows?

I actually think Joe Lieberman has a better shot at winning a deadlocked Twin Cities convention than Hagel.

Speaking of which: There was only time for four questions from the room and I asked Hagel why, if he was concerned with the tenor of the Iran debate and wanted to talk with Iran to reform the Middle East, he voted for Sen. Lieberman's amendment to study and call out Iranian influence in Iraq. "I don't see how the two positions are contradictory," he said. "Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, we know that. That doesn't mean we can't talk to them." I'm unconvinced—knowing as we do that Lieberman favors an attack on Iran, you have to consider whether amendments that ask for study of Iran's meddling in Iraq are an attempt at a casus belli. Anyway, my rambling question and his answer are here.