Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, in an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation, made louder noises today about running as an independent for the Presidency:
A credible third-ticket, third party would be good for the system. It would force both parties that have been hijacked by the extremes of their two parties. And, I think we would want something like that. I would hope this country would have some options like that. I hope it would shake the system up. The system needs to be shaken up. This country's in trouble. The world is in trouble. The world's always in trouble when America is in trouble. And we need some new fresh independent ideas to lead this country forward.
That certainly sounds like someone who is laying the groundwork for an independent run. When asked if he could envision joining New York Mayor Republican Dick Bloomberg on a Presidential ticket (in no particular order) he said:
"It's a great country to think about - a New York boy and a Nebraska boy to be teamed up leading this nation."
A Hagel/Bloomberg ticket would be unlikely to win the election but it could have a profound influence on the nature of the debate. Rather than having one anti-war candidate (the Democrat) and one pro-war candidate (the Republican), it would be 2 against 1. That could especially change the tenor of the Presidential debates and would also more closely reflect the opinions of the American people on Iraq.
Third-party tickets in the past have had a similar effect on Presidential elections. Ross Perot's independent campaign in 1992 forced both major party candidates to more directly address the issues of the budget deficit and free trade. George Wallace's run as an American Independent in 1968 and Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat campaign in 1948 altered the nature of the debate in those elections.
A Hagel/Bloomberg ticket could also peel critical votes off of the Republican ticket in key battleground states like Missouri and New Jersey. We saw a similar impact in the 2000 election which would have been won easily by Al Gore had Ralph Nader not mounted a campaign on the Green Party ticket.
So I'm all for it. Whatever helps us to defeat the Republican Presidential candidate in 2008 and give the Congressional Republican candidates another shellacking at the polls is worth doing. We'll never get this country back on track unless, as Hagel said, we shake things up.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!