Hagel Supporters On the Web: Early Activity
(Aug. 8, 2006 grab)

Chuck Hagel for President in 2008
A grassroots movement to encourage support for a Hagel candidacy in 2008.

Started by Charles Hinderliter of South Carolina in February 2006 (first postings on Feb. 17).

Charles Hinderliter provided some observations in a Sept. 12, 2006 e-mail:

>What prompted you to start this blog back in February?

I've long been a Republican but with my particular interest in U.S. foreign policy I have been very unhappy with the direction this administration has taken us.  I began to look ahead to the 2008 elections and wanted to see who best fit my views and what I could do to help with a potential campaign.  Rather than wait and vote for one of a small handful that I may or may not like, I wanted to be able to do what I could to support the candidacy of the candidate that was the best fit for the direction that I want our country to head in.

>Have you done other blogging or web activity prior to this?

My wife and I have had a personal blog since June of 2004 and I have had a personal website off and on since 1997.

>Have you met Sen. Hagel?  Are you a political veteran; have you worked or volunteered on any political campaigns?

I have never met Senator Hagel.  While I was in D.C. this summer I did meet with someone from his PAC.

I am not a political veteran; I have never worked on a campaign.  I have served as an election judge, though.

>What do you do in "real life"?

I am a Ph.D. student in Political Science (I'm in my third year of the program).  I also do research on the side as well as I work with a civic education program.

>What are some of you preferred sources of information (be it print/radio/tv/online) that you turn to most frequently?

I use a few sources daily for finding material for the blog.  I use Yahoo alerts, the Senator's website (for press releases), his PAC (https://www.sandhillspac.com/ ), this site for news clippings:  http://www.patrickruffini.com/2008wire/index.php?c=Hagel, and I search blogs using Google blogsearch.  When I have time I also read other blogs that I have set up to be read using bloglines.  Unrelated to the blog, during the week I try to read the New York Times, the front page of the Wall Street Journal, selected news from Yahoo, and listen to NPR.

>Anything interesting you've learned from running the blog?  For example have any postings prompted an unusual response, have you noticed anything about coverage of Hagel,...?

It's always entertaining to see how much the traffic on my site goes up when Senator Hagel is in the news.  It has been refreshing to see how much he is respected by many Republicans and Democrats, but disheartening to see how much he is vilified by elements of the right due to his (in my opinion, very reasonable and appropriate) criticisms of the Iraq war.

So far he has gotten a lot of play in the media for his foreign policy views, but much less so for his domestic policy work.  Part of the struggle will be merely informing people about who Senator Hagel is, what he stands for, and what he has done in his career (both political and otherwise).

>Could you state in four or five sentences why Sen. Hagel is your preferred choice?

Foreign policy has become central to the role of the President and I think that Senator Hagel is best suited to conduct the global war on terror, keep the United States economically competitive, and to rebuild our relationships with other nations.  He has a focus on balancing the budget that is critical today, as well as the ability to work with people from both his own party and from the other side of the isle as well.  He is a social conservative, which is important to me, but that is not the focus of his political career.  His leadership, civility and bipartisanship are needed in today's political environment.

>Does it concern you that Sen. Hagel is not doing much in the Iowa/NH realm and the whole dynamic with Sen. McCain?

Senator Hagel has been to Iowa and NH, but not nearly as often as other potential candidates.  At this point it doesn't concern me because he hasn't decided whether or not to run yet.  Others are certainly laying the groundwork, but it's still early enough in the process that it is not fatal to wait till after November to start in full if he does indeed decide to run.

The dynamic with McCain will be interesting, and I'm really not sure how it will play out.  Their friendship could affect whether or not Hagel runs, but if they both run I expect they will be very civil towards one another.  Hagel will start in the shadow of McCain, whether or not that is deserved.  Senator Hagel is more conservative and has done less to irk the conservatives and will more easily win their support if they can get past their anger at him for criticizing the Bush Administration over Iraq.
Copyright © 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action