For the first time in a long time (at least since the days of Bob Kerry) I am actually proud of a Nebraska politician. The big surprise here is that the politician in question is not the "Democrat" Ben Nelson, but our Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.
Hagel is far from perfect -- he voted for the Bush economic agenda (i.e. tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%) for example -- but on the Iraq War, Hagel has been the strongest and most vocal critic of this debacle. Today, during a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hagel chastised his fellow Republicans for blindly following the administration when it is clear that they are not following any real plan. "I don't think we've ever had a coherent strategy. In fact, I would even challenge the administration today to show us the plan that the president talked about the other night. There is no plan.... There is no strategy. This is a ping-pong game with American lives."
Finally, someone in the GOP calling it like it is! If Hagel decides to run for President (which I hope he does), he could be a non-Democrat that I would consider voting for. Hagel is the true maverick -- not John W. McCain, who is little more than an establishment toadie. Republicans, of course, hate mavericks. They like their candidates to suck up to right-wing special interest groups. Therefore, Hagel will not be able to get the nomination for his party, which could lead to an independent or third party run. A division in the GOP would make it easier for a Democrat to win in 2008. Then, the new president can name Hagel as Secretary of Defense and all would be right with the world.