Leading From The Middle

by | Feb 3, 2007

“I want every one of you, every one of us, 100 senators, to look in that camera, and you tell your people back home what you think. Don’t hide anymore; none of us. That is the essence of our responsibility. And if we’re not willing to do it, we’re not worthy to be seated right here. We fail our country. If we don’t debate this . . . we are not worthy of our country.” -Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) during a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Hagel tells it like it is. I like that about him. But before I get too thrilled with his truth saying, another truth begs to be observed. This time, it’s from Huffington Post writer Matt Browner Hamlin.

Chuck Hagel’s voting record is clear. He votes with Bush and he votes the way conservatives want him to vote. Hagel votes against abortion rights, against civil rights, and against environmental protections. Hagel’s beliefs are squarely in line with the Republican Party platform. Period.

Please, the next time you hear Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, or even a Republican blogger claim that Hagel is a moderate, a maverick, or any other adjective that paints him as an anti-Republican figure, remember that it simply is not true. He remains a purebred Republican despite his correct positioning on Iraq.

Hamlin makes a good point. But I’m not as willing, nor as quick, to downgrade the man. Despite his voting record, Iraq is the central issue of the day and he’s right on Iraq. Just as importantly, he’s also right about another critical issue of our day–that’s it’s our duty as Americans to think critically, then stand up and be heard. He’s totally consistent on this issue. In fact, I’ve posted twice before about his opposing stance to the President and his administration.