Chuck Hagel states in an interview appearing in the April edition of Esquire that there are ways of making rogue Presidents accountable:

“The president says, ‘I don’t care.’ He’s not accountable anymore,” Hagel says, measuring his words by the syllable and his syllables almost by the letter. “He’s not accountable anymore, which isn’t totally true. You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment. I don’t know. It depends how this goes.”

The conversation beaches itself for a moment on that word — impeachment — spoken by a conservative Republican from a safe Senate seat in a reddish state. It’s barely even whispered among the serious set in Washington, and it rings like a gong in the middle of the sentence, even though it flowed quite naturally out of the conversation he was having about how everybody had abandoned their responsibility to the country, and now there was a war going bad because of it.

“Congress abdicated its oversight responsibility,” he says. “The press abdicated its responsibility, and the American people abdicated their responsibilities. Terror was on the minds of everyone, and nobody questioned anything, quite frankly.”

Not for one minute do I believe he is serious about an actual impeachment trial in the Senate. Not yet, anyway. I think this is more posturing for a potential Presidential run where he can position himself as the foremost anti-Bush candidate. Or he may simply be like his good friend from across the aisle, Joe Biden, willing to say anything to keep his seat as a regular on the Sunday talk show circuit.

Nonetheless, I don’t think he will be the last Republican who will wave the “bloody shirt” of impeachment in the coming days. I predict that any GOP Senator or Congressperson whose election in 2008 may be imperiled will soon be weighing his or her options as to whether to bash Bush now before the rush. Because make no mistake: if a Republican candidate is in a tough race next year he or she will run away from the Bush administration as fast as they can. You can take that to the Bank.

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