Outgoing Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel has again gone on the attack against the Bush administration, this time tossing in criticism of the GOP — and conservative talk radio.
Appearing at a forum at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the Nebraska legislator — who did not run for re-election this year — said sarcastically:
"We are educated by the great entertainers like Rush Limbaugh. You know, I wish Rush Limbaugh and others like that would run for office. They have so much to contribute and so much leadership and they have an answer for everything. And they would be elected overwhelmingly.
“They try to rip everyone down and make fools of everybody but they don't have any answers."
Hagel offered what amounted to a plea for the next administration and Congress to find a way to work together.
"Eighty-seven percent of the American people said America is going in the wrong direction," he said in remarks reported by the Huffington Post.
"You don't need to know another number about anything, and so the election was pretty predictable: the American people don't like what is going on ... They want us to start doing what leaders are expected to do, address the problems, find some consensus to governing. Get along. There will be disagreements, sure ... but in the end we can't hold ourselves captives to this raw, partisan, political paralysis."
Reflecting on the Bush administration, Hagel declared:
"Yes, there have been some differences and some pretty significant ones in [the Republican Party]. But when you ask the question: 'Has [our approach] worked?’ I don't think many people will say it has worked."
Criticizing the GOP's approach to foreign policy, Hagel said: "Engagement is not appeasement. Diplomacy is not retreat. Somehow too many in this town and in this country have disconnected all of that."
On a lighter note, Hagel quipped about financier Warren Buffet, who seems to have weathered the current financial meltdown.
“There is news today that [Obama] is in serious negotiations with Warren Buffet for Buffet to buy the entire United States government," Hagel said.
“I am seeking the job of Buffet's driver. He is the only one who has money.”
Hagel’s remarks on Tuesday were not the first he has leveled against the Bush administration. He has criticized the Patriot Act, spoken out against the “surge” of troops in Iraq, compared the Iraq war to Vietnam, and in November 2007 said: "I have to say this is one of the most arrogant, incompetent administrations I've ever seen or ever read about."
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