Sunday, September 05, 2010

Hagel on the Tea party revolt: "They'll Let This Nonsense Play Out. It's Like a Bad Storm".

Chuck Hagel has always spoken his mind and I find myself in total agreement with him when he talks of the present day Republican party.

Speaking of breakdowns, Hagel said the Republican Party — of which he remains a member — is in the midst of a severe identity crisis, if not a total meltdown.

Hagel said he became a Republican standing on the edge of a rice paddy in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War when he voted for Richard Nixon for president, and followed that choice with Republican selections straight down the ticket. At the time, he said the Republican Party stood for fiscal conservatism and engagement with the world at large. Now, he’s not so sure what it stands for. That’s why he decided against running for president in 2008, even though some moderate Republicans — and more than a few Democrats — encouraged him to run.

“I was out of touch with the Republican Party,” Hagel told The Diplomat. “There was no way I could have run in a Republican primary and had any hope of representing the Republican Party. I wouldn’t disconnect from my beliefs. I would have been wasting the party’s time, voters’ time, my time — at least that’s what I thought a couple of years ago. The current leadership of the Republican Party is just not one I identify with.”

Of course, he would have been wasting every one's time. The Republican party had to place Sarah Palin on the ticket to please it's radical base. And, strangely, having lost decisively to Obama, it is that same extremist base - masquerading as Tea Party activists - who have now taken over the entire party.

But Hagel remains confident that what we are currently witnessing in the Republican party is an aberration.

For now, however, Hagel remains an anti-abortion, pro-business, pro-gun Republican. Nevertheless, he makes no effort to hide his disdain for the current crop of potential presidential contenders, especially those (he’s looking at you Sarah Palin) whom he accuses of championing a dumbed-down, “Hee Haw” articulation of American values.

But Hagel has no plans to renounce his membership in the party and says he remains confident it can “come back to its senses.”

“The Republican Party will find a new center of gravity,” he predicted. “I think they’ll let this nonsense play out. It’s like a bad storm — it just has to go through.”

In the meantime, he’d like to see new ideas instead of predictable opposition among the conservative congressional ranks and think tanks.

“I don’t see them presenting any alternatives, any new options or any new thinking,” Hagel said. “If the Republicans get back in power, what are they going to do? There is no articulation. It’s just a ‘no no no, I’m against Obama because he’s a socialist and he’s taking America in the wrong direction.’ That’s certainly an opinion, but what about you, Mr. Republican? What would you do?”

The Palinisation of the Republican party is a disaster for them. Where are the thinkers in that party these days? Where are the Colin Powell's? Where are the people who will attract independents to their brand?

They are nowhere to be seen. Instead, we see an increasingly radical bunch of loons who find solace on Fox News but fall apart whenever their increasingly extremist views come under any kind of scrutiny.

That's not a political movement, that's a collective breakdown. And the very fact that this movement is being led by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, should tell you all you need to know.

Click here for full article.

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