John Nichols, Nation - In 2002, as the senator from Nebraska, Hagel voted with the Bush-Cheney White House on that one, despite overwhelming evidence that the war was unnecessary and unwise, and that the pre-authorization was antithetical to the constitutional premise that wars must be declared by Congress.
Twenty-three senators—almost a quarter of the chamber—got the issue right. Their number included not just twenty-one Democrats but also a Republican (Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee) and a former Republican serving as an independent (Vermont’s Jim Jeffords). The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, opposed the legislation. So too did the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Florida’s Bob Graham. In the House, 133 members, including six Republicans from across the ideological spectrum of the party (moderates, conservatives and libertarians) voted “no.”