Let’s Hear It for Chuck!

Chuck Hagel, conservative Republican Senator from Nebraska, and potential candidate for President in 2008, may shape up to be the real thing.

In an interview with Wil S. Hylton of GQ magazine, Hagel said this about the Iraq war: “I am not willing to sacrifice more young men and women for a policy that isn’t working billions of dollars going into this hole. It will erode our standing in the Middle East and the world. It will destroy our force structure. It will divide this country in a bitter way not seen since Vietnam.”

No mealy mouthed equivocation here, as we’ve been hearing from Democrats who have thrown their hats into the ring. But GQ’s Mr. Hylton never asked Chuck Hagel the chippie question, “Do you want all US troops out of Iraq, now!”

I still don’t know how he would answer that one. But, Hagel’s pronouncements on the subject, thus far, are a lot better than anything I’ve heard from the front-running Democrats; Hillary Clinton (D) New York, who says anything Bush can do, she can do better, or Barack Obama (D) Illinois, who says, “combat forces should be out of Iraq by spring of 2008 to end ‘a foreign policy disaster’.

If the Iraq war is “a foreign policy disaster” why wait until the spring of 2008 to get our troops out?

It seems that both parties are tied up in knots. They’ve heard the voice of the people, loud and clear in the 2006 mid-term elections in which the Democrats won both the House and the Senate and were expected to do something-to act in some decisive way. The vote was a direct and unequivocal repudiation of Bush and his war.

The people want out!

Can’t their representatives in Congress get the message?

The trouble is, in this era, Congress is more the creature of Corporate America than it is the representative of the people. But that can change. There have been periods in our history when it has and it will surely happen again.

Conservative Republicans are beginning to break their ties to the Bush Administration and reclaim their heritage. Chuck Hagel’s stand may be an indication of the political tectonic plates beginning to shift beneath the surface. Senator John Warner of Virginia may be another. War has a transforming effect on political parties. They realign themselves with time and the state of the people’s clout. Remember the Whig Party? It flourished during the era of Jacksonian democracy and operated from 1832 to 1856. Just before the Civil War, the Whig party was shattered by the defection of the Northern Whigs over the issue of slavery. The Whigs supported the supremacy of Congress over the Executive Branch and could boast of such members as Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. How long would George W. Bush last if he had to stand up against men of that character, today? They’d cut funding for Bush’s war in a New York minute. Impeachment would be on the table. From the very beginning, Congress jealously guarded its constitutional right to declare war and certainly wouldn’t have given any president a blank check to go war. Abraham Lincoln was a Whig representative in the Illinois House of Representatives for four consecutive terms. When the Whig Party split, he left politics for a while but eventually came back as a Republican, was elected President and saved the union in the Civil War.

Can it be saved again? Considering where we’ve come from, a slave society in the 1860s, we’ve made some progress in a hundred and fifty years. We’ve had some strong democratic leadership during those years. For one, “Fighting Bob” La Follette (R) Senator from Wisconsin and a force behind the Progressive Party and the Farmer-Labor Party in the early 20th Century.

La Follette made some cogent remarks that are very applicable to today’s political climate [sic] “The underlying reason why both parties have failed to take the people’s side in the present crisis is that neither party can openly attack the real evils which are undermining representative government without convicting themselves of treachery to the voters during their recent tenure in office”.

We also had the mighty Eugene V. Debs during that period, labor leader, Socialist, political activist, Presidential candidate who ran four times, the last from prison and got over a million votes. And then there was the journalist, John Reed who documented the Russian Revolution in his book “Ten Days That Shook the World.

And we had the great John L. Lewis who organized the coal miners and during the Great Depression, the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizions), all part of the great American democratic tradition. More recently, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

The people of this country are yearning for a leader, out of our great tradition, one who will tell them the truth and lead them out of both the domestic and foreign policy disasters that the Bush Administration has brought upon us.

Can you live up to that, Chuck Hagel?

STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN, television writer-director-producer, spent thirty years in Network News at CBS and ABC, starting in 1953. In 1959, he participated in the formation of the renowned Murrow-Friendly “CBS Reports” series. In 1983, Fleischman won the prestigious Columbia University-DuPont Television Journalism Award. In 2004, he wrote his memoir. See: <http://www.ARedintheHouse.com/>www.ARedintheHouse.com, E-mail: <mailto:stevefl@ca.rr.com>stevefl@ca.rr.com



More articles by:

STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN, writer-producer-director of documentaries, spent thirty years in Network News at CBS and ABC. His memoir is now in print. See www.amahchewahwah.com, e-mail stevefl@ca.rr.com

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita