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Run Chuck Run!

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.

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Comments (2)

Paul Hamilton:

I voted for John Anderson in 1980 and was a very early member of United We Stand America, which was Ross Perot's fan club, back in 1992. I agree completely that the system needs a shakeup, but I question whether starting at the top would be the best way. Even if a third-party candidate could get elected -- and it's a real uphill struggle in many states just to get on the ballot -- he we would unite the Pubs and Dems as never before to make sure he was defeated the next time around.

I think the best way to start any political movement is from the grassroots. Get some folks who aren't affiliated with the Big Two on city councils and other local offices and show the people they can do the job as good or better than the regular candidates. And work your way up.

It might take 50 years this way, but when it finally makes it's way clear to the top, the candidate will be a viable one.

Paul Hamilton:

Good analysis. The NeoCons hijacked the party about a decade ago and the PaleoCons clearly aren't happy about it nor should they be. I'd like to see imperialism rejected by both parties and get back to a time when Republicans are conservative both socially and fiscally and Democrats are liberal in both aspects. Right now, both parties are beholden to the special interests.


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