I've been thinking about the posts I made this morning, about how Democrats need to come out with a withdrawal strategy and soon or they might be beat to the punch by the Republicans. I cited comments by Chuck Hagel that appeared to support the idea of withdrawal as evidence that some Republicans are toying with the idea.
Crooks & Liars has video of an appearance by Hagel on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Hagel is continuing to sound a conciliatory tone towards the idea of withdrawal and towards Cindy Sheehan in particular.
Hagel is a possible candidate for the Republican nomination in 2008. Normally I wouldn't consider him a viable candidate. But if the support for withdrawal continues to grow at its current pace and if Hagel decides to take a more firm pro-withdrawal position then he might just pull of one of the great political upsets in recent times. Especially if Republican opinion on the mess the Bush's have got them into truly sours by that time. Hagel, if he takes this gutsy step, might steal any potential thunder the Democrats could have on this issue.
Indeed, it is likely that a Republican would have a better chance of making a viable withdrawal argument without being saddled with the "cut and run" label that any Democrat would face if they took the same position (it will be interesting to see the reaction to Russ Feingold's efforts in this area). I am certain that, if Hagel does make the case, and he gets the nomination, and the Democrats don't put forward a candidate who is equally sincere in their position pro-withdrawal, then Hagel will win the election in a landslide.
Democrats: you've been warned.