New York Sun Staff Editorial
May 4, 2007
Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Hagel had dinner on Wednesday night at the
Palm steakhouse in Washington, and we don't fault Mr. Bloomberg for
it. It's natural for him to want to take the measure of a potential
opponent in the presidential race. And since one of Mr. Bloomberg's
concerns as a presidential candidate is that he will be pigeonholed as
a New Yorker, it's natural for him to at least sound out a
fourth-generation Nebraskan to help balance the ticket. The two are
both successful entrepreneurs in the technology field; Mr. Bloomberg a
billionaire many times over from his start-up financial news and
information terminal company, and Mr. Hagel parlayed a cellular phone
company he started into a multi-million dollar fortune.
But while we understand the logic of a single meeting, Mr. Bloomberg
would be wise to avoid entangling himself or his presidential
ambitions much further with Mr. Hagel because of his record of being
weak on terrorism, a record we documented at length in our October 11,
2004 editorial, "Hagar the Horrible." It reported that on July 24,
2001, when the Senate voted 96 to 2 to renew the Iran-Libya Sanctions
Act, denying Iran and Libya money that they would spend on supporting
terror or acquiring weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Hagel was one of
the two `no' votes. It added that Mr. Hagel met in Damascus in 1998
with the terror-sponsoring dictator, Hafez Al-Assad, and returned to
tell a reporter about the meeting, "Peace comes through dealing with
people. Peace doesn't come at the end of a bayonet or the end of a gun."
Just last month, Senator Hagel appeared before an Arab-American group
to boast that his support of Israel isn't automatic. Not only is that
support not automatic, it's hard to detect much at all, which, if Mr.
Bloomberg is as politically shrewd as we think he is, will be enough
to disqualify Mr. Hagel from a spot on the Bloomberg-for-president ticket.