Senator Chuck Hagel is on the verge of an announcement that he will reportedly make some time during the next two weeks -- perhaps sooner rather than later -- in which he will indicate whether he will run for President of the United States and whether he will run again to keep his seat as Senator from Nebraska.
I would like to see him run for President, but sources close to him indicate that that is increasingly unlikely. In my view, his views on how to better manage America's deteriorating national security portfolio are vital for the country -- and whomever runs with the policy template articulated by Chuck Hagel is likely to be the next President of the United States, whether Republican or Democrat.
But if Hagel elects not to run for President, it's even more important that he remain an active national security and US foreign policy voice in the US Senate. But there too, Hagel is considering calling it a day and ending his tenure.
I think that this would be an enormous loss for the country at exactly the time when Americans need to hear from Members of Congress who will speak candidly and honestly with citizens about what really needs to be done to not only extract ourselves from a worsening situation in the Middle East -- but who also has a vision of what we need to do to get America and its foreign policy on a constructive track.
I want Chuck Hagel to run for President. But if he doesn't, America (and Nebraska) need him to run for the Senate again in 2008. This is really serious -- because his voice inside the Republican Party is one of the most important in getting America back on a track of principled American engagement in global affairs that is both ethically inspired and focused clearly on American national interests.
I don't often encourage readers to get on the phone or send letters, though I did in the John Bolton battle.
But Hagel stepping down would be a colossal loss for those who are trying to organize a recovery strategy to deal with America's precipitous decline in global military and polical affairs.
Call him or write to him. . .really, please.
Tell him "Don't Quit the Senate."
If you feel inclined, tell him to run for President. I used to think Hagel and McCain had a "look" on national security policy that overlapped too much -- but not any more. They are in completely different spaces, and Hagel's vision is one that sensible Americans concerned with our crappy foreign policy condition -- Republicans, Democrats, and Independents -- could support.
Here is the contact information and page for sending Senator Hagel your comment that he ought not quit the Senate:
Senator Chuck Hagel
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-4224
Fax: (202) 224-5213
Here is a page to send him a note directly over the Internet. I just sent mine:
Many thanks for taking time to do this.
-- Steve Clemons is Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note.