Chuck Hagel makes joke Nader endorsement

Photo from Flickr user UNA-USA used under a Creative Commons license

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) delivered an address at Riggs Library earlier this afternoon. While his remarks focused on the perils on the financial crisis and continued US involvement in Iraq, Hagel was asked at the end of the speech, “Who amongst the candidates believes in [your] vision for the future?”

“Everybody is going to want to hear this,” Senator Hagel announced. “Ralph Nader.” And with laughter and clapping in the background, Hagel left for a meeting of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee to work out the details of the Wall Street bailout.

Photo from Flickr user UNA-USA used under a Creative Commons license.

26 Comments on “Chuck Hagel makes joke Nader endorsement

  1. Yeah, An Unreasonable Man is a great movie. I’d love to see a Nader Presidency.

  2. Hagel coming around to the sane teachings of Ralph Nader?

    Well the world is a spinnin’!

    Nader has my vote and my voice!

  3. It seems like it was a joke. Pretty ridiculous that a man who’s done so much for this country is treated like a punchline, but there you go.

  4. Yes, it seems half joke, but also half truth, one of those moments when politicians reveal a certain understanding of the complete absurdity of their world and situation. Hagel was no doubt answering honestly when he said that Nader comes closest to his traditional liberal stands, whereas Obama – alongside with the broader leadership of the Democratic Party – has thoroughly embraced the corporate program. But at the same time, his answer was a joke because its clear to everyone that principles and political honesty have no place in Washington politics, and if Hagel did go stumping for Nader, he too would have no future in Washington political circles.

  5. Pingback: Chuck Hagel endorses Ralph Nader? « BuelahMan’s Redstate Revolt

  6. I have more respect for Senator Hagel than almost anyone in Washington. The chickens running around our congress and the white house have shown they do not represent the people. They do not represent democracy.

    Thank you Senator Hagel!

    Vote Nader/Gonzalez to save our country!

  7. Wait just a minute, that’s not an ‘endorsement’ from Chuck Hagel, it’s more like a ‘slap’ at mainstream candidates. How do people draw these inferences regarding ‘endoresements’? BTW, Ron Paul didn’t ‘endorse’ Ralph Nader either, even though he had encouraged voters to NOT vote for Republicans and Democrats in 2008. Let’s not jump to wrong conclusions here, please.

  8. A sea change as citizens see their savings disappear.

    nader paul kucinich gravel
    Open the damn debates!
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    perot charts

  9. George, I agree with you. I don’t think this was an endorsement, but instead was a joke.

    That said, Mike Gravel all the way.

  10. I didn’t hear Sen. Hagel speak, but from comments here, his remark about Ralph Nader was a joke. I would like an explanation from Sen. Hagel. It is pretty obvious that Nader can think circles around most of our lackluster senators, Hagel being one of them. Please explain yourself Senator hagel.

  11. I think anyone would agree that based off of Sen. Hagel’s quip remark and even faster exit, the situation is very strange. If it were a joke, why would an elected public official make such a crude, crass joke at one of America’s greatest legends–whose amazing list of ground-breaking legislation Hagel could only wish to touch. If it were a positive remark on the parallel of Hagel’s ideals with those of Nader’s, it seems quite odd given Hagel’s extensive voting record. Most likely it was churlish slander–just what we hard-working Americans want to hear from the people we pay incredible amounts of our tax money to.

    Also, in the political world, don’t say someone “endorsed” so and so, unless the word is uttered literally. Ron Paul did not endorse Nader, but urged voters to cast their ballots for 3rd parties (i.e. Nader, McKinney, Barr, Baldwin, et. al.). In the primary season, Nader was praising both Edwards and Kucinich for their campaign promises and progressive platforms, but he never once said he “endorsed” them. I had people saying to me, “So who are you going to vote for now that Nader isn’t running?” I watched the videos on MSNBC and CNN and then replied, “Where on earth did you get that idea from?” He thinks they’re working hard to promote intelligent solutions to our most ailing problems. Give credit where credit is due!

    Stop by to see what the Nader/Gonzalez ticket offers you. Also, if you’ve got a minute, email Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, and ask that Nader be included in the debates:


  12. Why is it that people feel the need to qualify Hagel’s statement. Even people who freely admit they were not at the news conference are now advancing the proposition that Hagel was goofing off. And what if, and that’s a big if, Hagel did offer the endorsement in a context of sardonic wit ? What that is saying is from Hagel’s point of view the Dominant Party Candidates are so bad that even Ralph Nader is a superior choice. A very interesting take !


  13. Since there seems to be some confusion over the proper way to interpret Hagel’s remarks, I’ll give you my opinion as the person who actually witnessed the event. Sen. Hagel came to Georgetown to talk about his new book. However, he rarely referenced the book and focused the address on the financial crisis, the Iraq War, and US foreign policy. His remarks were extremely critical of the Bush administration, and he outlined a foreign policy vision that would be more consistent with proposals put forward by Senator Obama or even Mr. Nader. He was critical of the hawks who would advocate “staying the course” in Iraq, and although he did not mention Sen. McCain he name he strongly implied that the choice of McCain would be unfortunate in this respect. As the question and answer session came to a close, it was announced that there was time for one quick question. At this point, an elderly man in the front row walked to the microphone and asked Sen. Hagel, “Who amongst the candidates believes in [your] vision for the future?” This was a hint that Sen. Hagel could say “Barack Obama” (who was complemented previously) without providing a formal endorsement. Hagel has repeatedly declined to seriously endorse a candidate in the Presidential race presumably because he will retire soon and does not want to go down as a political traitor. As a joke (and I can assure you it was a joke), Senator Hagel replied, “Ralph Nader.” I do not believe he meant to disrespect Mr. Nader. I am personally a fan of Mr. Nader, and I’ve read a number of his books. With all that being said, Senator Hagel did not seriously endorse Ralph Nader. However, having witnessed the speech, I can also assure you he will not endorse his GOP colleague Senator McCain. I hope this provides some clarification.

  14. My apologies. The eighth line should read, “Sen. McCain by name.”

  15. Thanks for clarifying, Eric. It looks like Hagel was joking, but his joke was about his inability to endorse Obama, not a diss at Nader.

  16. He wasn’t joking at all. Obamacons can try to spin it that way all they want, but the fact is, Obama has no credibility as a progressive or anti-war candidate anymore. Obama’s vision of U.S. Foreign Policy is more unprovoked attacks against Pakistan, a nuclear power, an increase in the military budget and a shift of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, Africa and Georgia, and coming soon no doubt more flare-ups in Korea and across the Taiwan Strait. Military encirclement of China is the only way corporate candidates can think of to prevent China from barbequeing the U.S. dollar by leveraging its half trillion dollars worth of U.S. Treasury Bonds. They are incapable of diplomacy. Hagel was simply stating a fact, Nader’s vision of America is the vision nearly all Americans have, a nation without imperialist tendencies, a beacon of freedom and a safe harbor where justice for all is woven into the fabric of our daily lives. U.S. imperialism and the financial collapse of our long-decaying manufacture-base-depleted joke of an economy are two ends of a downward spiral that Ralph Nader has been singularly exhorting and rallying and organizing pockets and strands of sanity in our society to work against, from health and safety regulation in the sixties to civic watchdog organizing in the seventies to sanity over nuclear waste “containment” fantasies and direct democracy for insurance-justice and S&L scam exposure in the eighties, to anti-NAFTA and the Battle in Seattle anti-globalization campaigns and labor justice and populist pro-family individualism to counter corporate anti-family utilitarianism in public education and the judicial system and “none of the above” voting in the nineties, to his all-out Jeffersonian democracy revolution to kick off the 21st Century with campaigns to reinvigorate the heart and soul of the America we were all taught to believe we lived in. Anyone who says Nader’s vision of America is NOT their own has got to be the one who is joking, or seriously depraved.

  17. There is an incongruity in the political logic being sold by both Obama and McCain. Throughout either candidate’s platform, supporters are left with weak defenses and the irritation that neither candidate is speaking the truth. Both are ducking the hard issues and neither are offering the solutions their parties would normally embrace, because to do so would risk suicide — a slip of just a few percentage points will cost them the election. Simply put, this nation has difficult problems the solutions to which are painful and not vote-fetchers. Nader, on the other hand, has nothing to lose by speaking the truth and offering actual solutions. He is not neck-and-neck in fear of losing a vote in Columbus Ohio. I find this refreshing, and I am new to the idea, I must admit, but I condemn any person who blames Nader for “spoiling” the election when both Obama and McCain are drooling the same inoffensive non-solutions while this country goes bankrupt.
    Unfortunately, to see this and say Nader is offering honest solutions is considered a joke.
    I didn’t hear Hagel but he seems like the kind of fellow who very well might value honesty higher than party loyalty. Hagel is looking at a bill for nearly a trillion dollars, after all, to bail out huge corporations. Hagel has spent years quibbling about mere millions, and here he and Congress are basically being told to fork over a trillion or the world economic collapse will be on Congress’s shoulders. Not a pretty picture, is it? So, do you think he really was joking when he wished anti-corporate Nader would be elected President? I don’t think so. I believe it was wishful thinking.

  18. It is sad to hear the obama group, so desperate to be endorsed only to find that their commrade, Hagel endorsed NADER.
    NADER is the ONLY logical choice as he is the only one who was right in respect to this financial fiasco.
    Let the ignorant who do not want us to get out of this mess continue to be led by the nose behind NObama or McCain. The rest of us who have lost much and experienced layoffs will no longer stand with you!
    We are taking the country back and hope Hagel joins us.
    BTW, some of you have a low opinion of this man Hagel. You seem to belivieve that he has the level of disrespect common in the NObama. You should really find a better class of people to hang with if you believe that Nader is someone who merits laughter instead of respect.

  19. Pingback: Vox Populi » Uncle Sam wants YOU to vote for Obama

  20. We are at a point in society that demands OUR PARTICIPATION!
    I believe in the ideals that Ralph Nader champions, the belief that we are all “The People”, and that when corporate funds are accepted, strings ARE attached. I can only hope that our divided, distracted, diverted populace does something other than electing one of the
    corporate shills running, we’ve had 200 years to have a representative government, and still have a corporate power structure that has run us into the ditch YET AGAIN! Let Nader in the debates, the worst that can happen is public embarrassment of the corporate
    candidates McPalin and O’Biden.
    Lets do something different this time, Vote Sanity, Vote Nader.

  21. Hagel didn’t endorse Nader; Hagle said that Nader would endorse Him, his ideas.

    “Who amongst the candidates believes in [your] vision for the future?”

    “Everybody is going to want to hear this,” Senator Hagel announced. “Ralph Nader.”

    He basically said Nader would endorse/believe in him.

    Reading skills need to be developed ……… and used.

  22. This (REPUBLICAN’T) clown was most definitely joking only but what is not a joke is the fact that the WHITE SUPREMACIST/ISRAEL JEW HATER (SAY NO TO MCCAINE) or a candidate that was not even born in this country and as a result according to my research is not even qualified to be the next president of American’t (NOBAMA) is going to be the next president of American’t for the next 4 years because the majority of us refuse to VOTE never mind campaign and fight for the only SAVIOR of the poor and middle class [RALPH NADER] to be the next president for the next 8 years and as a result of this the worst is yet to come literally for the POOR and MIDDLE CLASS only in the home of the cowardly and land of the mental slave (American’t),you feel me?

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