Roll Call is reporting that conservatives are making the nuclear option a litmus test for 2008, which is putting the squeeze on some otherwise moderate faces, like Hagel.


Hagel's got to know that the conservative base is going to reject his candidacy. None of the other contenders, after all, provoked The American Spectator into penning a cover story on the liberal, internationalist tendencies that will disqualify them from conservative support in 2008. That edition hit newstands in 2004, four years before the next presidential election, and three before the Republican primaries. Hagel should heed the warning. His hopes for the nomination come with the independents, the McCainiacs, the New Hampshire middle. They don't lie with the conservative base. If Hagel refuses to play by partisan rules now, he'll set himself up for a more convincing bipartisan, maverick message come 2008. If he bows to their pressure, he'll begin to lose his independent, moderate status and still be rejected by the conservatives come 2008. His choice.