Friday, August 29, 2008


While all the political calculations about Sarah Palin go on, you have to wonder what's going on in the mind of, say, Chuck Hagel. Here's a Republican U.S. Senator who seems genuinely torn on who to support for President: his old friend and fellow GOPer, John McCain, or Barack Obama, who he traveled to Iraq with, who he has defended against scurrilous attack, and who he agrees with on a number of issues.

Did Sarah Palin just make up his mind? Responsible Republicans who care about foreign policy issues, the defense of the country, the role of America in the world, must be appalled by this choice. And the judgment will come down, not on Sarah Palin, but on John McCain for choosing her to be a potential heartbeat from the presidency, when that heartbeat belongs to a 72 year old with a history of cancer.

Chuck Hagel--and Colin Powell, and perhaps others--may forgive McCain many things, but can they forgive him this?

Bush-Cheney marginalized Republicans like Hagel, Powell, Lugar. McCain, who was once closer to their point of view than Bush-Cheney's, may have pushed them completely out.

This may not matter much. I'm not sure how many votes Chuck Hagel brings with him to whoever he supports. And though he and Powell may wind up supporting Obama in public, it's not clear that many others will follow, in public. After all, responsible Republicans have stood by while Bush-Cheney have shredded the Constitution, institutionalized torture and domestic spying, and de-professionalized the Dept. of Justice and who knows how many other departments with neocon Evangelical loyalty tests. They might just stand by as John McCain demonstrates contempt for the office of President.

Then again, they might not.

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