Politics The Contenders: Chuck Hagel
posted by March 1 at 15:18 PMon
Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.
In a presidential election pitting Republican Chuck Hagel against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Hagel would be considerably to the left of Clinton on the issue of the Iraq war. The Republican senator from Nebraska has repeatedly criticized Bush’s policies in Iraq, even sponsoring a resolution against “the surge,” and admitting that he and the rest of Congress have abdicated their responsibility to question the White House. He also criticized the president’s intention to go to war way back in 2003— immediately before he voted in favor of the Iraq war resolution.
Charles (Chuck) Hagel was born in North Platte, Nebraska, in 1946. His father died when he was 16, and not long afterwards both Hagel and his younger brother Tom were sent to Vietnam. Serving as an infantryman from 1967-68, Hagel was awarded two Purple Hearts, among other honors.
Upon his return from Vietnam, Hagel had a brief stint as a newscaster and talk-show host for radio stations KBON and KLNG in Omaha, before becoming administrative assistant to Congressman John McCollister (R-Nebraska) from 1971-1977. From ’77-’80, Hagel served as the manager of government affairs for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, and, in 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Hagel to serve as deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration. In the mid-1980s, Hagel founded Vanguard Cellular Systems Inc., a company that quickly made him a millionaire.
He then went on to several high-level corporate executive positions, notably as the deputy director of the 1990 G-7 summit and as chairman of the Board of American Information Systems (now Electronic Systems & Software—one of the four largest voting-machine manufacturers). Then, in 1996, Hagel ran a successful campaign for the Nebraska senate, beating the former governor of Nebraska, and winning a seat that had long been Democratic.
In his two terms as senator, Hagel has served as the chair of both the Senate Global Climate Change Observer Group and the Senate Oversight Task Force. He also serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; the Select Committee on Intelligence; and the Committee on Rules and Administration.
Hagel scored a 96 rating in 2005 from the American Conservative Union (McCain scored 80), and has voted with the president on nearly every issue (PATRIOT Act, Guest Worker Program, drilling in ANWR, partial birth abortions, etc.). He has also earned a pro-family score of 100 from the Christian Coalition. His voting record is more conservative than any other Republican candidate… except when it comes to the issue of the war in Iraq.
Hagel and his wife, Lilibet, live in McLean, Virginia, and have two children: daughter Allyn, 16, and son Ziller, 14.
Posted by Eli’s Intern: Sage Van Wing
Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, Sam Brownback, Christopher J. Dodd, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Huckabee, Tom Vilsack, Joe Biden, Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson, Ron Paul, James Gilmore III, Tom Tancredo, Wesley Clark, and George Pataki.