Here is a GREAT article from the Cyclone Conservatives:
Is Hagel The Credible Conservative Candidate?
There seems to be a lot of media discussion lately claiming that the GOP has not yet found a top tier conservative candidate to rally around yet. Personally, I think that discussion would fold away if Newt Gingrich got into the race, but that is either unlikely to happen until this fall or not at all ever.
The candidate that everyone thought would have that mantle was George Allen from Virginia. But the now former Senator nearly completely killed his political career by making one major gaffe last summer.
Now, we've got Mayor Rudy Giuliani who seems to have a tough hawkish stance on foreign policy which many red blooded conservatives really like but he's got a plethora of social issue problems which red blooded conservatives really don't like.
John McCain actually has a pretty conservative record on social and fiscal issues, but it is his tendency towards being a maverick and his 'moderate' media created tag that has scared off many. Joining with Ted Kennedy on immigration, Russ Feingold on campaign finance reform, and leading judicially comprimising 'Gang of 14' has a lot of conservatives uneasy. However, he's also probably the toughest hawk on terrorism in the race and that is where he is gaining a lot of traction.
Mitt Romney could be the guy and then again many conservatives still don't know who he is and if the Mitt from the debate footage from 1994 and 2002 is still the Mitt of 2007. He claims that he was wrong then, but that hasn't settled a lot of fears and for right now, his campaign hasn't been picking up as much momentum as it could be as a result. Additionally, the Mormonism is likely to still be dogging him.
Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Sam Brownback of Kansas are still relatively unknown to a lot of people nationwide and therefore they just have not been getting the kind of media coverage that the others have been. Brownback tends to be one of the more conservative members of the United States Senate, though he has now become a lot more of a dove on foreign policy and that is causing him problems. Huckabee could by dynamic but he's got some immigration problems and there are plenty of questions about whether or not he'll be able to raise the kind of money it takes to win.
Tommy Thompson is perhaps as thorough of a campaigner as anybody but he just hasn't gotten that 'buzz' yet. There's no doubt that Thompson could be the most all around conservative candidate in the race but he, like Brownback and Huckabee, has not yet captured the national attention. I am convinced that Thompson is going to do well in Iowa because he's very folksy, looks like a common Iowan, and is extraordinarily intelligent. Thompson is still just 2nd tier for right now though he is moving up the ranks faster than anyone.
Tom Tancredo is definitely conservative but he has yet to fully introduce himself to Iowans and there are many who wonder if he is just getting into the race in order to force a more aggressive debate about our immigration policies.
Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul are both well respected members of Congress but are they just don't have the buzz nor have they been to Iowa much. For now, they are back in the pack a little bit.
John Cox and Jim Gilmore are definitely very conservative guys but they are constantly surrounded by question marks as to whether they have the name recognition to win.
So, there is definitely no ideal candidate out there...YET.
And so that brings into the equation Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. If conservatives can be calmed about his dovish tendencies toward Iraq, then Hagel might be the most well-known conservative in the race.
Recently, the National Journal released their 2006 liberal/conservative scores for Senators and Congressmen. After taking into account votes based on economic, social, and foreign policy; a formula is created and the votes are plugged in.
The Result? Of the 2008 Presidential aspirants already in the race or names that are floated, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is the most conservative U.S. Senator. He just outflanks Brownback by a little bit.
Sure, Hagel bucks the President on foreign policy; but on most other issues, he totes the party line better than any of the other Senators in the race.
I, for one, would like to see Hagel get into the race. I've met Senator Hagel and heard him lecture at Iowa State in 2005. He's a very intelligent man who would bring a lot to the foreign policy debate and future of the party.
Back in December, I wrote about the Nebraska Senate Race should Hagel retire or run for President and I am confident that seat would be very safe for the GOP no matter who is running on the Republican ticket so that is not a worry for the Republicans.
I hope Hagel makes a decision soon because he quite possibly could be the credible credentialed conservative candidate to watch.
Publisher's Note: Check out those lists and see where members of the Iowa Delegation fall.