Taking the Hatchet to Hagel

Monday, February 28, 2005

Taking the Hatchet to Hagel

Much to the dismay of Christian conservatives, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) hasn't been willing to sing from their sanctimonious songbook. Up to now, this seemed to have earned Hagel little more than these groups' quiet scorn. But now that Hagel has voiced some presidential ambitions, these cultural conservatives are looking to "Ground Chuck" -- at least that's the headline of this pissy, hatchet job by George Neumayr in the American Spectator:
... (Senator Jim) Jeffords switched parties, and Hagel proceeded to blast the GOP to reporters in terms they like to hear.

"We need to take some inventory and to look into ourselves and our party and how we have handled things," he said. The party has "perception problem in this country, that we are a narrower-gauged party, that we are less tolerant."

Hagel proposed that the GOP pump air into the Big Tent by junking moral philosophy.

"The Republican Party should be a multifaceted party representing many interests and many views, but generally should be anchored with a philosophy about government," he said. "It shouldn't be a philosophy about morals."

... why should the conservative grassroots vote for an anti-Republican Republican who isn't in tune with them? In what looks like a half-baked Hamlet act, Hagel speaks of running for president to "redefine" a party that "has lost is moorings," a project unlikely to resonate with Red-State Republicans.

Like John McCain, Hagel is known as a Republican "populist" even though his agenda to reform the party appeals not to the grassroots but to the tony talk-show set.
This last sentence is a bizarre piece of analysis.

Does Neumayr seriously believe that a more moderate Republican message will appeal to the likes of talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham? Have I missed something?

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