FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail