Hagel, who has recently gained national visibility as a critic of President Bush’s Iraq policy, has been exploring a run for the White House. He faced a possible primary challenge from the right if he sought a new Senate term.Hagel joins Warner, Allard and Craig who will not be seeking re-election. "Wide Stance" Craig will be resigning at the end of September due to his bathroom antics in Minneapolis.
Bypassing a run for re-election would give Hagel more freedom to chart an independent course during the remaining 15 months of his term. He has been among a handful of Senate Republicans willing to challenge Bush by supporting Democratic efforts to legislatively force an Iraq troop withdrawal or put pressure on the president to agree to a withdrawal timetable. Hagel, a Vietnam combat veteran, voted to authorize military action against Iraq but later turned against the war.
Hagel was one of two Senate Republicans who voted in March 2007 for a war funding bill (HR 1591), which Bush later vetoed, that would have set a March 31, 2008 goal for withdrawal of troops. In June, Hagel was among four Senate Republicans who backed an unsuccessful effort to limit debate and bring to a vote a withdrawal timeline offered as an amendment to the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill (HR 1585).
Hagel, who has a conservative voting record on most other issues, is a member of the Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Rules and Administration; and Select Intelligence committees.
It is being said that Bob Kerrey, the former Senator from Nebraska, may seek the seat. This will force the Republican party to spend campaign funds on a race that would have been safe.
The republicans have only themselves to blame for their current mess. It was Karl Rove's plan to make a permanent Republican majority. It now looks like exactly the opposite will happen. The Republicans are out of touch with normal Americans but were able to keep fooling the voting public, but as the nitwit President once said "There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."