Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

Paul Hackett received jeers and boos at a candidate forum in Columbus today.  Apparently, Brown supporters booed Hackett for his uncompromising, personal attacks against Sherrod Brown.  I don't care how volatile the audience is nor how intensely in favor of your opponent they are, you don't incite that kind of response.  This political tone-deafness is indefensible.  Think Hillary Clinton making the plantation comment.    

Two weeks ago, Paul Hackett compared the religious right to Osama bin Laden, a huge rhetorical mishap.  First rule of politics: never make Nazi analogies.  Second rule of politics: never make bin Laden analogies.  Here we have a left-wing blogosphere going justifiably ape-shit over Chris Matthews comparing Michael Moore to bin Laden and not a peep about Hackett's comparison.  The hypocrisy in the response doesn't help the Hackett campaign; it signifies desperation.  

The problem is that Paul Hackett seems to think that pissing people off is candor, and furthermrore, that this is a virtue.  But tough-talk or candor in of itself is never virtuous.  It is a political trick- an appeal to the mythic personae which our current popular political culture deifies: the straight-shooting common man, the rugged individualist, the folk hero.  Candor is a means to an end, not a genuine pinciple.  When, instead of accomplishing an objective goal, candor alienates and embarrasses, then it ceases to be virtuous.  And the quicker Paul Hackett learns that, the better.  

My admiration for Paul Hackett is deeply felt. To put it this way, the prospect of him winning this Senate seat occasionally brings idealistic tears to my eyes, and hopefully, if you've felt that way about a leader, that admission will lessen in embarrassment.  Hackett is simply a warm-hearted, intelligent, and an inspiring leader.  From observing his run against Jean Schmidt, a woman who lacks all the qualities Hackett embodies, I gained a greater appreciation for the sacrifices of military service, and the possibility of democracy.  Most critically, Hackett "gets it." He understands the importance of profile and personality in politics, and he possesses both.  He comprehends the wrong in the dull Democratic Establishment way of inoffensively propounding the issues of jobs, economy, and healthcare while neglecting basic voter psychology.    

So, these qualities add up to a candidate who has the innate, intangible characteristics effortlessly bestowed upon him to beat Mike DeWine, and furthermore who has the heart and the brain to deserve to beat Mike DeWine.  A Hackett victory could singlehandedly help the Democrats take control over the Congress, and rebrand Democratic politics in Ohio as we know it, helping the Democrats win the presidency in 2008.  This kind of opportunity is at Paul Hackett's fingertips, and it cannot be taken lightly.  

The stakes are even higher because the alternative, Sherrod Brown, is unacceptable.  Brown may be a good man, and the more I read about him, the more I think that he is.  But a Brown victory in the primary is a guaranteed DeWine victory in the general.  We, as democrats, cannot afford to have Brown as our candidate because Paul Hackett let the pressure get to him.  We simply cannot afford for Paul Hackett to fizzle out because he felt like being impulsive one day or received careless direction from his campaign aides.

Paul Hackett often talks about his basic desire to serve the country on any capacity.  As a wealthy lawyer, he could have sat comfortably on the sidelines rather than put himself out here in the damaging political landscape, subject to judgment and punditry, such as the kind I am delivering right now.  But he is running for Senate because he knows that he has the skills and the qualities that could spur change in our government and serve the public.  I genuinely believe that those are his intentions.  Hackett simply needs to better grasp the enormity of the stakes and the enormity of his potential and let that understanding closely guide his decisions.       Time is running out, and, whether or not it is actively articulated by Hackett supporters, I suspect that concern is crystalizing.  

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Hackett given boo's in Ohio?

See blog here, and blog here. And from a source there, check it out:

Hackett did not go over too well with the crowd.  The news cameras showed up in time to record Hackett getting booed and jeered at by the audience.

The speaking part of his thing didnt go over well at all for Hackett.  He started out revising his story about Sherrod telling him in person that he wasnt running, again. Then, he spent a few minutes bashing the religious right.  Barely mentioned DeWine.  About 3 minutes into it, he started criticizing Sherrod. He got booed almost immediately, and when he asked a rhetorical question about what Sherrod brings to the Senate that Hackett doesnt, a number of audience folks offered suggestions like experience, competence, etc. He also got booed for criticizing Sherrods service in the House, when he talked about how Sherrod hasnt done anything.

During the lecture session, an older gentleman stood up and talked about how Sherrod came in and gave a very positive speech about what hell do as a Senator, while Hackett came in and attacked other Democrats. Hackett responded that if he loses, he'll support Sherrod, but Paul Hackett doesnt like to lose and hes got three months in the campaign--Direct quote (does he know he's gonna lost?).

Hackett was also asked about what he thinks should be done with regards to nuclear waste in Pike county. Hackett's response was I'm a candidate for the US Senate, not a nuclear scientist, but I think there's probably some new technology.

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A leap of faith

Crossposted at the very new Faithful Ohio blog.

About three years ago, troubled that the public face of Christianity often seemed to be  pro-war and anti-compassion, I started a web site called The Religious Left. Now that the voices of groups like Ohio Restoration Project and Reformation Ohio are growing louder and more strident, and seeking to use their numbers and influence to promote an agenda that is harmful to "the least of these", it is vital that other voices of faith speak out.

As you can see from the posts here, some have already begun to do so. Another group has started to meet, focusing not on fighting Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson, but by offering an alternative message.

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Why Ohio needs a Democrat

Last week, I pointed out the latest example of Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell's unethical behavior. His Republican primary opponent in the 2006 gubernatorial race, Attorney General Jim Petro, has complained about Blackwell. Yet, as Petro attempts to provide GOP voters an alternative to Blackwell, he better watch what he says. People in glass houses, as the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Sunday, shouldn't throw stones:

Two prominent Republican lawyers said their law firms lost virtually all of their state legal business after they refused to donate to Attorney General Jim Petro's campaign.

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On our Howard Dean reunion

Crossposted at Howard-Empowered People

Now that I've transcribed the speeches, it's time to finally write something about our experience at the events with Howard Dean in Columbus last week.

Unlike the blogger at Ohio 2nd, who wrote before the event "It will be nice to finally meet the person that inspired me to get back into politics.", this was not my first time meeting Howard Dean. I met him briefly at the first DemocracyFest in July 2004 and saw him again when he came to speak in Columbus in September of 2004. If you read my post the morning of Janurary 18, you saw that I was something other than cool, calm, and collected as I prepared to leave the house.

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