What You Need To Know: A Summary For You Lazy Asses
What You Need To Know: A Summary For You Lazy Asses
· In the Ohio U.S. Senate race, Democrat Paul Hackett, a superb candidate, has withdrawn under pressure from national Democratic Party leaders. Unfortunately, in the process of doing so he is extricating himself from politics altogether. The result is the Party, Ohio, and the USA losing someone who would have made a great politician.
The Democratic Party has suffered a great loss. In The Politics Of 2005 Part II: The Political Battlefields, I mentioned how the U.S. Senate race in Ohio was soured by the presence of two strong competitors in the Democratic primary, Iraq war veteran and attorney Paul L. Hackett III and Rep. Sherrod Brown (OH-13). Strangely enough, almost every high-profile Ohio Democrat, Brown included (on August 17 2005), had initially taken a pass in the race, setting Hackett up to be the unchallenged Democratic contender. But just days after Hackett announced he was entering the race (in late October 2005), Brown reversed himself and jumped into the race, angering Hackett and bringing to life the unpleasant situation of having two strong candidates competing in the Democratic primary. That situation ended two days ago when Hackett withdrew from the Ohio Senate race – and politics altogether, it seems – in spectacular fashion. His announcement:
Today I am announcing that I am withdrawing from the race for United States Senate. I made this decision reluctantly, only after repeated requests by party leaders, as well as behind the scenes machinations, that were intended to hurt my campaign.
But there was no quid pro quo. I will not be running in the Second Congressional District nor for any other elective office. This decision is final, and not subject to reconsideration.
I told the voters from the beginning that I am not a career politician and never aspired to be – that I was about leadership, service and commitment.
Similarly, I told party officials that I had given my word to other good Democrats, who will take the fight to the Second District, that I would not run. In reliance on my word they entered the race. I said it. I meant it. I stand by it. At the end of the day, my word is my bond and I will take it to my grave.
Thus ends my 11 month political career. Although it is an overused political cliche, I really will be spending more time with my family, something I wasn’t able to do because my service to country in the political realm continued after my return from Iraq. Perhaps my wonderful wife Suzi said it best after we made this decision when she said “Honey, welcome home.” I really did marry up.
To my friends and supporters, I pledge that I will continue to fight and to speak out on the issues I believe in. As long as I have the microphone, I will serve as your voice.
It is with my deepest respect and humility that I thank each and every one of you for the support you extended to our campaign to take back America, and personally to me and my family. Together we made a difference. We changed the debate on the Iraq War, we inspired countless veterans to continue their service by running for office as Democrats and we made people believe again. We must continue to believe.
Remember, we must retool our party. We must do more than simply aspire to deliver greatness; we must have the commitment and will to fight for what is great about our party and our country; Peace, prosperity and the freedoms that define our democracy.
I’ll state my opinion as clearly and succinctly as I can: all the potential contenders, Brown included, had taken themselves out of the running, and moreover had encouraged Hackett to enter the race. Therefore, it was incumbent on Ohio Democrats to unite behind Hackett. For no one does this apply more than Brown, who, after all, was among them strongly pushing Hackett into the race. Why get someone into the race only to jump in yourself days after he decides to run? It makes no sense.
Paul Hackett. Source: Hackett for U.S. Senate
The greater tragedy is that with the statement “Thus ends my 11 month political career”, Hackett, one of the most telegenic, straight-shooting, charismatic, talented men ever to run under the Democratic Party banner, and a rising star by all accounts in the Party, has left us. We have lost him. What could have been one of the most remembered and stellar of Democratic Congressional careers is now doomed to enter the annals of history as nothing more than a footnote mentioning him as a man who narrowly lost a House race.
Okay, here’s some complaints I’m expecting:
Sherrod Brown didn’t withdraw himself from consideration; he was just taking time to decide (because of family issues or whatever).
In this article, Brown claims he was “wrestling with whether to run because of family considerations” (the article’s words). That flat-out contradicts his statement which says he was running for reelection in the House (see the blog link above), and it mentions nothing along the lines of deferring a decision because of family considerations. (Btw, that article is a short but good read.)
Sherrod Brown was by far raising more money than Paul Hackett was.
That’s probably only because Brown was in the race; I’m sure had he not been, Hackett would be raising enough money to be competitive. Even if that weren’t so, it’s not an excuse to jettison the candidate.
You’re just bitter because you were a Paul Hackett fanatic.
Okay, I admit I just put that complaint in to clarify something: While I think Hackett is fine in terms of ideology and stances, Brown is by far closer to me ideologically and going by ideology would be my obvious choice. But I think he should have stayed out of the race because he had already said he would.
Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH-13). Source: toledoblade.com
Sherrod Brown is the better candidate to win the general election.
Is he? Both candidates have their strengths and flaws. Like I said, Brown is close to me and most other Democrats ideologically – meaning he’s a left-wing progressive/liberal. For me that’d in and of itself win my wholehearted support, but it might not fly that way in rural southern Ohio. (Hackett is fairly progressive/liberal but deviates from the Democratic line on a few social issues – most notably gun control – and is more moderate rhetorically.) Republicans are already calibrating their political weaponry to paint Brown as the far-left liberal loony of the race. Hackett – or any other Democrat, really – would have been subjected to the same treatment, of course, but with Hackett as the nominee Republicans would probably focus on what they perceive as Hackett’s verbal missteps and unpatriotic ranting. Hackett, in turn, would parlay that as proof of straight-shooting and firm convictions, something that would speak volumes in an election cycle dominated by news of Republican dishonesty. And Brown would (hopefully) parlay his liberal voting record as everything such a record should be sold as – unabashed belief in the responsibility of the federal government to maintain an activist role in the maintenance and improvement of the nation and its citizenry, and the power of the federal government to make a difference in the lives of all Americans, including the most destitute (this is part of what I called Breakthrough Strategy). (Hopefully, as the Democrats’ de facto nominee, this is what Brown does, instead of running on a wishy-washy wimp “I’m not for big government!” platform ala John Kerry.) My point in all this is that I think both candidates were good Democrats, would be fine U.S. Senators and would defeat Republican incumbent R. Michael DeWine. But the difference is, Brown withdrew from the race and then Hackett entered (with Brown’s support) so Hackett should have been the Democratic unity candidate.
Paul Hackett is just being a whiny loser by complaining about party manipulation and not running for the CD-2 seat.
I do think that Hackett was making a mistake by taking himself out of politics, and was disappointed that he’s not running for the CD-2 seat (or any other seat). That said, Hackett is by no means a favorite for winning the CD-2 seat, or, if he does win, holding onto the seat for more than one term. It’s certainly possible, but whether or not it will happen is an open question that ultimately only Hackett could answer, and clearly Hackett did not think he would win. Also, according to him he had promised other Democrats running in that district that he would not run, and his commitment to keeping his word is nothing short of admirable. More importantly, in regards to the Senate race I think Brown’s standing is equally questionable insofar as reversing himself on a decision he had already made, and in doing so opening up a divisive primary where none had existed before and where it could’ve been avoided. From Hackett’s point of view, Brown promised to stay out of the election – a claim Brown denies – but regardless of whether Brown actually made that promise the fact remains that Brown had took himself out of consideration and was actively encouraging Hackett to run. To do that, and then find your Party turning against you, makes me feel really sorry for him. I have the feeling – though maybe I’m just being incredibly naïve – that Hackett’s statements were a genuine expression of his emotions; after all, what does Hackett have to gain practically from bitching about Party shenanigans? It seems that Hackett did not want to be your usual calculating politician – notice how he goes on a limb to say all kinds of outlandish things and greatly values forthrightness and fidelity to promises – and the “machinations” of national Democrats really turned him off to the entire political process. Viewed from that context, I would argue that Hackett had a legitimate complaint about the conclusion of this whole sorry mess.
Bottom line is, the Democrats now have a liberal candidate in position to be the next U.S. Senator from Ohio (I hope fervently that Brown runs on a full-throated big-government liberal platform and does it well, and I hope whatever Democrat replacing Brown in the Thirteenth District does the same) but at the cost of one of their greatest rising stars. I had serious bad feelings when Brown and Hackett both declared themselves candidates and knew this was not going to end well. Sadly, the conclusion is messier than I feared. This is truly a political tragedy.
February 15 2006 edit: Added the pictures.