Chuck Hagel continues to prove he can be an impressive thinker and analyst when he chooses to. The question continues to be: Can he be an impressive United States Senator? As a member of the majority, he never seemed to find ways to use the power of his office effectively to reorient national policy. As a member of the minority, can and will he find ways to forge coalitions with liberal Democrats to push the kind of foreign policy he's interested in? Can he tempt other Republican members to throw Bush overboard? Little in his record inspires confidence that smart op-eds will lead to effective action, but he remains a very tempting figure the Republican who, from time to time, sees these national security matters much more clearly than his colleagues. And where's Dick Lugar gone off to these days?
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.