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MadVlad

Sen Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska to retire

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Sen Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska is set to retire when his term is done Jan 2009. He is the second (John Warner R-Virginia) GOP Senator to decide not to run for re-election in so many weeks. Hagel has been outspoken about the war in Iraq, being one of the few Republicans to be set against the war (he voted to invade Iraq, but has been increasingly critical as time has worn on). I think we are starting to see some of the GOP staples start to fly off. Not sure if they are becoming increasingly frustrated with their own party or just disenfranchised, but it signals a shift of some sort. With Sen. Craig's Senate seat a possibility in an upcoming election, the Democrats seem to be getting more and more availability to gain ground. Let's see if some of the soon-to-be retirees start breaking from the establishment and start actually using their voices as they see fit instead of voting the party line.

Discuss.

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I can see why Warner retired, he is 80 years old. Hagel on the otherhand is a bit of a surprise and one wonders if the GOP put the evil eye on him for breaking ranks with the party in regards to the war.

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Ha!! The evil eye, that's funny. Maybe you're right, though I could expect someone that is strong willed such as Hagel to buck the party and just stay in, but maybe I'm underestimating the skeletons he may or may not have in his closet. "Hey Chuckie, remember playing footsies in the Capitol bathroom with Craig that one time?" Ouch.

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Hagel and Warner are both moderates. While I'm happy to see these safely Republican seats potentially open to Democratic candidates, I worry that losing such voices of reason will only drive the Republican party even further to the right.

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Yeay... another Democrat will come into office and do absolutely nothing different than the Republicans.

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Former Senator Bob Kerrey is seriously considering running to take Hagel's seat, and would be the front-runner. Victories by Kerrey and Mark Warner in Virginia would give the Democrats two more seats in the Senate. Republicans are definitely looking at another bloodbath in 2008, but they aren't doing anything to change course and address the root causes of their unpopularity. They're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

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I wouldn't say "blood bath". We had the big power shift into the Democrats' favor. But not much has resulted from that power shift. In fact what has transpired since the last elections have shown the American people or at least me that we have only two choices; the devil or the deep blue sea when it comes to the two major parties. So unless something really drastic happens I don't think this election is going to be as drastic of a power shift as the last one.

Former Senator Bob Kerrey is seriously considering running to take Hagel's seat, and would be the front-runner. Victories by Kerrey and Mark Warner in Virginia would give the Democrats two more seats in the Senate. Republicans are definitely looking at another bloodbath in 2008, but they aren't doing anything to change course and address the root causes of their unpopularity. They're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

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It is reasonable at this point to assume we may see a 3-4 seat net gain for the Dems in the Senate which would be enough to give the Senate Democrats real control over the body. Currently with the slim 51 majority the Democratic Caucus possesses, via the two Independents who caucus with them, makes passing any legisation nearly impossible if the Senate Republicans can maintain decent party unity. If the Dem/Ind. coalition majority grows to 54-55 as a result of the 08 elections then its a lot harder to for the Minority party to keep the 4-5 Republicans needed by the Dems from splitting off and joining the majority in voting through legislation. The Republicans have no problem if 4-5 of their members split off now again now in the curent 51-49 Senate, but in a potential 55-45 Senate that sort of break in party unity creates a major problem and one the Democrats faced from 2004-2006 when the Republicans held a similar majority.

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I wouldn't say "blood bath". We had the big power shift into the Democrats' favor. But not much has resulted from that power shift. In fact what has transpired since the last elections have shown the American people or at least me that we have only two choices; the devil or the deep blue sea when it comes to the two major parties. So unless something really drastic happens I don't think this election is going to be as drastic of a power shift as the last one.

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Warner's 80 years old, so, as metro noted, it's not surprising he's retiring.

I'm still a little confused as to why Hagel's retiring. He's not particularly old when compared to many of his fellow senators. I wonder if his anti-war stance had something to do with it. Maybe he's grown tired of the entire Washington politics thing. However, I don't think most Republicans would consider him a "GOP staple" any more--mostly because of his stance on the war. Most Republican commentators I have read seem to be particularly happy at his departure (reactions on Warner, though, are mixed).

Bob Kerrey's certainly a possibility (a very formidible one at that) as far as Democratic candidates go, but the GOP could probably field a decent candidate if it works fast. I'm not necessarily saying that candidate'll win (he could), but he'll be able to put up strong opposition.

Idaho, even with all things considered, is still in Republican hands.

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If Hegel is retiring because of his anti-war stance, would that mean one less voice against the war in Washington?

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If Hegel is retiring because of his anti-war stance, would that mean one less voice against the war in Washington?

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Most of what I call honest pundits out there, (the ones that one does not normally see on the cable news channels) on both the democratic and republican sides, think the GOP is going to be gutted in a manner that hasn't been seen by that party since the the days of Hoover (when their policies blamed for the depression). Hagel may be leaving to avoid the coming blood bath including the fact the GOP, his own party, may have run a candidate against him in the Nebraska primary. It's a rather interesting move as he was once thought of as a good candidate to run for US President.

I also think the bunch of idiots that are running for the GOP presidential primary are doing more to hurt the party than help it. There is no hope for the future here. Instead we are getting "stay the course" with "change the subject" every single time one of them appears in the media. Most of the American people, are not buying it and are looking somewhere else to help America pull out of the general mess that we are in these days.

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I truly think that we need more independants in Congress. The Democrats have accomplished NOTHING that they promised when they took power, and the Republicans want to keep us in this war that we have no business being in. DC is a mess, and it will take a lot of people from outside the current 2 parties to fix it. Maybe, the answer to ending the status quo is term limits. Limit each office holder to 1 term, therefore, they can't play politics to try and get re-elected.

It's interesting though to see the bleeding of the Republican party. Actually, I liked Haegel though. It seems neither party has much room for moderates anymore. Lieberman gets ripped by people in his own party and Haegel and Chaefee did in the Republican party.

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^ States that have adopted term limits have lost a lot of efficiency in passing effective legislation as they lose institutional memory in regards to parliamentary procedure and the legislative process. Or in other words as soon as elected officials get the hang of the process they have to quit and new batch of inexperienced parliamentarians come in -leaving the old elected officials the option of moving up in office or changing to another level of elected office and thus creating a musical chairs enviroment. Plus, there are options for term limits every two, four, or six years, depending on the office, when we have elections anyway.

I am not sure why folks are upset with the Democrats, they barely have a working majority in the Senate and only a small majority in the House, so getting anything passed is an accomplishment with a President willing to veto anything and everything because he is non-responsive to public pressure. Most other Presidents respond to public pressure and will allow the opposition to pass legislation more in their favor, this President is willing to force legislative showdowns which at this point can't hurt him politically - I mean how much lower can his approval go? The Democrats don't have the votes to over-ride vetos so at the end of the day they can only pass a portion of what they would like. If the people want the Democratic agenda to pass the nation will have to vote in more Dems to Congress in the fall of 08....and most importantly elect a Democratic President who will sign the bills. A reasonable Republican who is responsive to the electorate and would sign bills from a Democratic Congress would work too.

The fact is Democrats in the House, where their majority is workable, have passed a lot of their agenda out of their chamber....the problem is in the closely divided Senate and the Presidential veto.

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I'm not a huge fan of the idea of term limits, but one term seems a little draconian by even most proposals that I have seen.

Anyways, I've read a few news articles and press releases on the subject. It seems like he's tired of Washington from what I;ve read.

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Just as a FYI, term limits are a relatively new idea relative to the history of the USA and were not part of the original Constitution. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, FDR, Nixon, Carter, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush are the only presidents that have been subject to it.

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Well let's hope the current regime isn't the one who finds a way to change that and steal another half dozen elections. It's reached a point where there is NOTHING I won't put past this "president."

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^ States that have adopted term limits have lost a lot of efficiency in passing effective legislation as they lose institutional memory in regards to parliamentary procedure and the legislative process. Or in other words as soon as elected officials get the hang of the process they have to quit and new batch of inexperienced parliamentarians come in -leaving the old elected officials the option of moving up in office or changing to another level of elected office and thus creating a musical chairs enviroment. Plus, there are options for term limits every two, four, or six years, depending on the office, when we have elections anyway.

I am not sure why folks are upset with the Democrats, they barely have a working majority in the Senate and only a small majority in the House, so getting anything passed is an accomplishment with a President willing to veto anything and everything because he is non-responsive to public pressure. Most other Presidents respond to public pressure and will allow the opposition to pass legislation more in their favor, this President is willing to force legislative showdowns which at this point can't hurt him politically - I mean how much lower can his approval go? The Democrats don't have the votes to over-ride vetos so at the end of the day they can only pass a portion of what they would like. If the people want the Democratic agenda to pass the nation will have to vote in more Dems to Congress in the fall of 08....and most importantly elect a Democratic President who will sign the bills. A reasonable Republican who is responsive to the electorate and would sign bills from a Democratic Congress would work too.

The fact is Democrats in the House, where their majority is workable, have passed a lot of their agenda out of their chamber....the problem is in the closely divided Senate and the Presidential veto.

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^ You have to work your way up through most organizations so you can learn the ropes, why should government be any different? Usually if you elect new members to the majority party in power they tend to get treated fairly well and get taken care by the older members, so the freshmen Dem Class of 06 in the House and Senate have tended to get most of things they wanted and/or needed for their districts and states. The minority party tends to try to the best they can for their freshmen as well.

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^Why should government be any different? Are you serious? Ever had a boss who was a control freak and didn't want to listen to your ideas, even though they would have made your organization more efficient? I'm not saying term limits are the answer to this issue, but having elected officials and government act like corporate America sounds like a night terror to me.

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^ The House and Senate don't work like that. The House and Senate both work like legislative bodies, which means the caucus leadership of the parties are determined by internal caucus elections. Leadership as a result tends to listen to its members in regards as what they need to serve their constituents and tries to meet as many of those needs as possible in order to keep the members satisfied with leadership. Now minority party members, esp. freshmen, are at the mercy of the majority to some degree in regards to what their leadership can provide, but thats to be expected in partisan legislative bodies.

In regards to seniority in legislative chambers. Its an objective tool that leadership can use to help determine who should be considered and placed on what committees and in what chairmanships. Why should a freshman with no legislative experience in taxation or key government programs such as Medicare and Social Security be considered for a position on the powerful Ways and Means committee?

Back to Senator Hagel, I think his retirment probably had little to do with pressure from caucus leadership, as he is a reliable vote on most Republican issues and without a primary would be a safe re-elect, and more to do with him not wanting to fight a tough primary just to serve in the minority in the Senate. This situation actually hurts Republicans in the Senate since former Governor and former US Senator Bob Kerrey is posed to potentially enter the open seat race and make what would otherwise be a safe Republican seat competative.

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