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.  

Tags: Ohio, Paul Hackett (all tags)

Comments

19 Comments

Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

1st rule of primary poltics verus incumbant Republican. Attack BUSH or BURNS or DEWINE. While focusing how your better than them. Bloodying other Democrats is never right. This goes right to the heart of how Gephardt and Dean lost in Iowa. One of the reasons Liberman got killed in 2004. attacking other democrats and increasing their name reconigtion at the same time.

Everyone in Ohio know Dewine in Montana it's Burns. Across the country next to no Republican can hide from being a BUSH rubber stamp. So attack them not another Democrat. I'm purly partisan and almost never an ideolouge. althought it's 52 to 47.
http://www.mydd.com/poll/1129830346_cyKe tbck

I got a fundraising call for Hackett. Every attack from the caller attacked Dewine. Hackett needs the discpline to do the same.

by Joshua Sperati 2006-02-04 10:12PM | 0 recs
Three cheers for Hackett!

Time is running out? When is the primary and why the hysteria?

Personally, I agree with Hackett's comparison of the religious right to Bin Laden and have no problem with him making it. Christian fascists are a threat that we take too lightly. Five states are preparing legislative abortion bans. Do you suggest we keep our powder dry until the last abortion clinic closes?

Do you have a direct quote of what Hackett said and was his statement as bad as Hillary's plantation statement?

Rumsfeld has compared al-Zarqawi to Hitler and very recently compared Chavez to Hitler. I'm fed up with the double standard that says Democrats have to walk on rhetorical eggs, but Republicans can say any damn thing they want about anybody.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-02-04 10:29PM | 0 recs
Godwin's Rule? Nice Try.

I'm with you, Gary- comparing the Christian Right to the Muslim Right (or Jewish Right, Hindu Right, etc) does not fall under Godwin's Rule, since they are apt comparisons. Do we really need a comparative theology class to show all the ways that fundamentalists of all religions are alike?

I'm sorry if it pisses the fundies off, but really, they can, and will, go to hell.  

by Alex Urevick 2006-02-05 07:10AM | 0 recs
What is this?

What is this? Paul Hackett weekend at MyDD? This has already been diaried.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but you folks need to work on making your campaign look a lot less like a bunch of junior high school screw-ups are running it.

Gee, someone boos at a political event. Yawn.

Freakin' amateurs.

by Michael Bersin 2006-02-05 02:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

I guess you figure that if one of your post on the same topic that's not enough- is this D Kos? Or is it because no one paid attention the first time around???

by bruh21 2006-02-05 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

I think Brown is the superior candidate. I like Hackett, but i'm not sure where you get off saying that only he can win this thing. When in reality I believe that Brown is the one the DeWine people fear more.

Hackett's is really beginning to show his lack of experience.

P.S. Gary and others, want to know why we should never make comparisons to Hitler or bin Laden? Because we spend the next week either defending the comment or repudiating it instead of getting OUR REAL MESSAGE OUT!!!

That's why.

by JackBourassa 2006-02-05 07:59AM | 0 recs
Brown has some problems here...

The way Brown is and is viewed. He is viewed as a Cleveland Liberal and a insider in a congress that is corrupt. I also don't like the filp-floping that he is getting into. How he annouced his candidacy and that said he wasn't running than decided he was and the Whole ANWR defense bill. And also i am angry at him for waiting till now to run for anything... we could have used a candidate in 2004 you know...

by Liberal 2006-02-05 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

Paul Hackett has slipped in the general election matchup with Mike DeWine and in the primary with Sherrod Brown.  This is because he isn't coming out against the general election opponent other than offering an alternative to national security.  This was a fine strategy at the beginning, but votes want something else to be offered, they want to see tax incentives, balance the budget alternatives, renewable energy, and help toward education.  Small and discipline pro-growth governmental policies as well as military issues. Right now he isn't speaking out enough on these issues, he is using his military record to stand up for him and that alone.

by mleflo2 2006-02-05 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

I have to disagree with you this time out Ann. The head-on assault of the Religious Right was and is the right thing to do. They are the greatest danger to our democracy, not the terrorists. De Magno Opere turned me on to this  http://watchodp.blogspot.com/  the account detailing the rise of Christian fascism in this country is devastating. And the stuff that Gary Boatright talked about in an earlier comment is right on the money too.

I also have to disagree about the "personal attack". It was on-topic as one can get. If someone attacked my beliefs or my family then I might construe that as personal attack but from what I've heard Hackett merely asked what Brown has done while the GOP was taking over Ohio. That seems pretty tame and a fair question to ask. If making nice and not making waves was the primary objective of the forum then Hackett committed a minor faux pas.

by Americain 2006-02-05 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

I wonder how many of the people who post on the Brown v. Hackett race are Ohio Democratic voters? As one such voter, this is how I see it: one will win the primary and one won't. I like both candidates, but Brown seems to have a much superior organization and has more political savvy. That being said, however, in the final analysis this primary won't be won on the internet, it will be won in the voting booth in May.

by mrgavel 2006-02-05 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

I'm an Ohioan, and every politically active person I've talked to is a Sherrod supporter.  The number of Sherrod stickers and buttons in the crowd at yesterday's event was great.  Aside from Hackett's paid staff, it didn't seem like he had a single supporter there-he certainly didn't have many after his speech.  

by ratdg1 2006-02-05 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

Come on ratty. I talked to you at the event and I'm not a paid Hackett supporter (given how much you follow all the blogs I must assume you knew that). You were standing right there watching as people were coming up to talk to Hackett.

Yes, there were a lot of Brown people in the audience. You could tell them cause they were the one's giving Brown a standing ovation and booing Hackett.

BTW, since Brown supporters think it's cool to heckle candidates when they stump this should make it a real interesting primary.

by ignatzmouse 2006-02-06 05:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

Sorry, I didn't mean to leave you out; I was referring to the rank & file audience members, ie the folks who hadn't clearly made up their minds one way or the other.  Sorry if I insulted you.

And given that Brown gave a hell of a talk, I can't say I'm shocked that he got a standing O.  Given that Hackett decided to attack other Dems, I can't say I'm shocked he got booed.  

There were a lot more folks wearing Sherrod Brown stickers than not, though.

by ratdg1 2006-02-06 04:00PM | 0 recs
Questions are the problem

Discussing a problem shouldn't be an issue, the problem is the problem.

From what I've read, Hackett did not use "uncompromising, personal attacks" against Sherrod, he just pointed out that Brown hasn't been very successful in the house. That is something that should be talked about. The problem isn't talking about a lackluster record, the problem is a lackluster record.

Of course, Sherrod has spend his whole life as a politician so he had cronies in the audience who rudely booed Hackett. Who cares? The ODP is has been fucked up for years, if you aren't pissing off some of the deadweight, then nothing is going to change.

Same with the theocons, what Hackett said is true.

I'm glad to see a candidate who speaks the truth, even if the audience might not like it. That is why Hackett did so well in the special, not because he was following the 'rules' of politics. The people who booed Hackett did so not because he asked a question that shouldn't be discussed, but because they knew the answer would hurt Brown's "it's my turn" bid. Less discussion isn't the solution, but could be part of the cure to the culture that keeps losing elections in Ohio.

by blogswarm 2006-02-05 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Questions are the problem

No, the people who booed Hackett booed him because he acted like a jackass.  

You're afraid because you realize Hackett has no answers.  All he can do is attack, and everytime he speaks, more people realize that.

Bob, Sherrod discussed policy and gave answers yesterday.  Hackett said that he's "a candidate for US Senate, not a nuclear scientist."   I realize that you think policy is bullshit, but policy is important.  Sherrod understands that the point of public service isn't getting in the headlines, it's fixing things.  Hackett needs to learn that lesson real fast.  

by ratdg1 2006-02-05 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

Hackett is the man I have been looking for. Anyone who calls W a son-of-a-bitch in a public speech has my financial support and undying admiration

by marya135 2006-02-05 01:04PM | 0 recs
I still haven't seen a link

This entire diary and all the hearsay and cheap shots against Hackett are garbage. If there was anything to it there should be link that provides direct quotes of what Hackett actually said.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-02-05 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

This topic is taking on new relevance now that Brown staffers have been leaking a smear against Hackett (that he used to be a Republican). After last weekend's event it looked like Paul Hackett had a tin ear or a bad day. But now with these new revelations about his own staffers feeding right wing blogs misinformation about Hackett, it underscores the straightforward and honest manner that Hackett deals with people...if he has something to say he'll say it to your face. Unlike Brown who claims that he won't say anything negative about Hackett but turns his staff loose to surreptitiously spread smears in an anonymous fashion. Hackett is looking better day after day.

by Americain 2006-02-10 04:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett Needs To Step Up

I absolutely agree, Americain.  I much prefer Hackett's approach than Brown's sneaky and underhanded way of smearing his opponents.  Sherrods needs to fire Phillip de Villis.  He plays dirty, he's ineffective, and he's a liability to the campaign.  But Sherrod obviously likes what he sees which is why he kept de Villis on even after he was caught red-handed attempting to create a false consensus following Brown's freakout at Tim Russo.  Sherrod needs to understand this current online operation of smearing Paul Hackett reflects upon his personal character.  

by Ann Driscoll 2006-02-12 12:02PM | 0 recs

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