Dana Milbank's column in the Washington Post today considers the potential for a Chuck Hagel campaign for President as an independent (read here).

As Milbank notes, Hagel keeps hinting he will run. More puzzling is the fact that pundits keep reacting to this flirtation as if the question had some relevance to the 2008 race.

A better question: Who would vote for Hagel?

Hagel is currently vying with Ron Paul for the dubious distinction of Republican least-likely to succeed with Republican voters. Paul is on top right now as a result of name recognition following this week's debate--but, if Republicans knew Hagel better, there is no doubt that they would despise him just as much.

And then there are the Democrats, who, for the first time in a generation, feel confident that they are on the brink of a fortuitous electoral swing back in their direction. Why would they embrace Hagel? True enough, Democrats enjoy his attacks on the President, and he is something of an anomaly as a defeatist Republican, but given the opportunity to vote for John Edwards or Barack Obama or any number of truly retreat-oriented Democrats, Hagel immediately loses his uniqueness.

There are no votes out there for Hagel. Why do we keep talking about this guy?