Hagel on Bush & Cheney: “They Have Failed the Country”

The Nation, November 29, 2007

It is too bad that Chuck Hagel decided against running for the Republican nomination for president. While it is true that Texas Congressman Ron Paul is saying much of what the Republican senator from Nebraska would have said about the madness of the war in Iraq, Paul is actually too polite about the madness of the president and the vice president.

Hagel minces no words.

In an address to the Council on Foreign Relations this week, Hagel told the crowd of foreign-policy wonks that he would give the Bush-Cheney administration “the lowest grade of any I’ve known.”

“I have to say this is one of the most arrogant, incompetent administrations I’ve ever seen or ever read about,” said Hagel, according to a report on the meeting that appeared in the Washington Post.

Speaking of Bush, Cheney and those around them, Hagel said: “They have failed the country.”

There is much talk about the prospect that Paul might exit the GOP to mount an independent or Libertarian Party bid for the presidency in 2008. But Hagel’s willingness to express his fierce disdain for Bush and Cheney in the bluntest of terms offers a reminder that an outsider bid by the Nebraska senator — either at the top of an independent or Unity Party ticket, or running alongside New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, with whom Hagel again met this week — remains the more intriguing possibility.

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