Tom Bevan writes an interesting piece about Fred Thompson and Chuck Hagel - but he's more interesting in speaking about the latter. He says there's little room for a successful Presidential bid by Hagel either as a Republican or an Independent:
The final twist in the story is that Hagel gave a few hints on Monday that he may be positioning himself to run as an independent. But it's hard to see how Hagel would be able to muster much support going that route either. The lure of an independent bid is a candidate who takes moderate, mainstream and/or unorthodox positions on a variety of issues. Hagel is more or less a down-the-line conservative who happens to be an apostate on Iraq. Those who are adamantly against the war will most likely vote Democrat, and those who lean conservative but are frustrated with Iraq will most likely stick with the Republican candidate -- especially if that candidate offers a legitimate hope of prosecuting the war with more competence and better results than the current administration. That leaves a very small pool of voters for Hagel to draw from.
But even though he won't have a serious chance of winning, Hagel may still take the plunge as an independent. Therein lays an ironic subplot to the story: If the race between the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees does turn out to be close, a third-party bid by Hagel might result in a most unhappy ending for Republicans in 2008.
Bevan's implication is absolutely correct: Hagel may siphon off enough conservative voters for a Democrat to win with a plurality (but not a majority) in 2008. But my sense is that he would be more likely to split the anti-war vote with the Democratic candidate, and make it easier for the eventual Republican nominee (whoever it is) to run as a strong proponent of aggressive prosecution of the War on Terror. In such a case, Hagel would make it easier for a Republican to win.
Of course, if Hagel has any sense, he won't run a Presidential campaign he's likely to lose badly.