Monday, March 12, 2007

Chuck Hagel: What Went Wrong?

As I drove to work this morning, I was eager to hear Chuck Hagel's much-anticipated announcement on whether he will run for president. Ever since I saw him rout Joe Lieberman on Meet the Press, I've been a big fan.

Indeed, the senior senator from Nebraska boasts an 85.2 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. According to Congressional Quarterly, he voted with the White House more times in 2006 than any other senator. And he earned two Purple Hearts in Vietnam, where a mine blew out his eardrums and delivered a sharp burn up the left side of his head.

This is why Hagel's non-announcement announcement—that he won't make a decision until "later this year"—was so disappointing. In fact, it was downright bizarre.

Clearly, he has yet to make up his mind, which is fine. But surely postponement would have been better than publicizing such indecision in such a high-profile way. A commander-in-chief must be resolute, not vacillating. This is not leadership.