When Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., visited the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board in February, he essentially predicted that Washington would end up where it is today. Asked whether an assault weapons ban had a realistic chance of passage, the longtime gun owner, Vietnam vet and Democrats' point man on crafting legislation in the wake of the horrific Dec. 14 Sandy Hook shooting replied, "You don't think this whole thing's going to get through?" His apparent assessment was that it would not.
"Chuck Hagel is out of the mainstream of thinking ... on most issues regarding foreign policy," says GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham. Neocon William Kristol concurs: Hagel is "out on the fringes."
On Monday, the U.S. Senate got its newest member and lost its most senior member.