“The Republicans as a whole lose because of these revelations,” said Steve Clemons, senior fellow and director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington. “If Chuck Hagel were running, he would be the beneficiary, but there’s no one like Hagel on the Republican side.” ~Helene Cooper

Yes, we get it.  Steve Clemons really likes Chuck Hagel.  A lot.  Remarks such as these are part of the reason why I am frequently so hard on Chuck Hagel: the man is built up by his admirers into a champion of a foreign policy vision that he has never, well, actually championed.  There is nobody like “Chuck Hagel” in the Republican Party, including the Senator from Nebraska named Chuck Hagel, because the Chuck Hagel you hear about from his boosters doesn’t really exist.   

Clemons also seems constitutionally incapable, both here and on his blog, of noticing that there is an antiwar Republican candidate in the race who has argued against targeting Iran, who has argued against illegal treatment of detainees, and who has argued against the entire aggressive foreign policy approach that Clemons also deplores.  Based on his policy views, Ron Paul is the most obvious political beneficiary of these revelations, but you would never know that from listening to coverage of the last week.  It is true that there’s no one like Chuck Hagel on the Republican side this cycle.  While Chuck Hagel was voting for the PATRIOT Act and the Iraq war resolution, Ron Paul was voting against them.  While Hagel was making critical remarks, Ron Paul was actually voting against failed policy.  While Hagel was making quips about “tough jobs” and shoe-sellers, Ron Paul was about to start running for President and providing a challenge to the GOP establishment on foreign policy.  While Chuck Hagel made jokes about being Mike Bloomberg’s running mate and appeared on the covers of men’s magazines, Ron Paul was representing the dissenting view in the Republican primary debates. While Hagel dawdled, Ron Paul spoke out and acted, and when Hagel started finally to speak out more forcefully Ron Paul started running his insurgent campaign to protest all the abuses that Chuck Hagel helped to create.