- The Washington Times - Monday, July 9, 2007

New objectives

Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, said yesterday he thinks the White House will be forced to give up on any hopes of establishing a Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq.

“I think there’s going to be pressure on the administration, and I think rightfully so, to take a look and assess the objectives that they have established,” Mr. Hoekstra told “Fox News Sunday.”

“I mean, one of the objectives that I think we need to go back and re-evaluate is the president continues to talk about establishing Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq.”

“I think he’d settle for less than that now,” moderator Brit Hume responded.

“I think he would, too, and I think Congress would, saying that we need to focus on security and stability,” Mr. Hoekstra said.

Nonetheless, he said he doesn”t think Congress will cut off funding for the war and that a full withdrawal will be tough to justify after the release of a new video from al Qaeda, Eric Pfeiffer of The Washington Times reports.

“I don’t believe that Congress will vote to cut off money for the war,” Mr. Hoekstra said.

“For my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who believe that or maybe even some Republicans who believe that this effort in Iraq is separate from the war with radical jihadists, I think they’re going to find out that they’re wrong.”

Sticking with GOP

Sen. Chuck Hagel says he isn”t planning on quitting the Republican Party to run for president, but he thinks an independent campaign could have potential.

During an appearance on NBC”s “Meet the Press” yesterday, the Nebraska Republican was asked whether he was putting aside any plans to switch parties for a 2008 White House campaign. “For right now, I am,” he said. “And what the world looks like next year, I don’t know. But I have no plans to change parties or run for president as an independent.”

He added: “That doesn’t mean, by the way, that I don’t think an independent does not have some renewed possibilities next year.”

Mr. Hagel, who has repeatedly disagreed with the administration and fellow Republican lawmakers over Iraq policy, said he must also decide whether he will seek election to a third term in the Senate.

“And then if there might be a place for me along the presidential road somewhere to try to have some influence and change the course of this country, then I’ll look at that. But the decision needs to be made soon, and I’ll make it soon.”

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