Monday, July 25, 2005

I am giving Paul Hackett money

For winning Republican House districts, this guy seems like the best candidate ever.

“He’s Paul Hackett,” the local Democrats tell the crowd. “He’s just back from Iraq and he’s running for Congress.”

...On economic issues, Hackett is solidly progressive. The corporate-friendly bankruptcy bill, which passed the House with a fair number of Democratic votes, Hackett calls “garbage.” And he’s appalled that Democrats have let the GOP define the debate on the “death tax.” “We should call it the ‘anti-aristocracy tax,’” he insists.

On questions of values, Hackett’s libertarian tendencies take over. “When I elect someone to go to Washington, D.C.,” he says, “I don’t elect a spiritual leader. I get that from my minister on Sundays when I go to church. Congress isn’t invited into my personal life; they’re not invited into the decisions my wife makes with her doctor any more than they’re invited in to check out what guns I’ve got in my gun cabinet.”

Tasty! Hackett deftly positions himself as a multiple-gun-owning, churchgoing family man, and uses that as the background to express support for abortion rights and separation of church and state. If there's any way to win support from the people who vote against us on cultural identification, this looks like it. And can you imagine how awesome it'd be for Democrats to have the first Iraq War veteran in Congress? Paul Hackett would be uniquely positioned to express our views on national security issues.

Of course, this is a very hard district for Democrats. It's a district that Bush won 2-1 in the fall, so most likely the Republicans will still win the August 2 special election. But even if we don't win, we get a charismatic war veteran expressing the Democratic message in Ohio. So I am giving Paul Hackett money. Feel free to chip in if you like the guy too.


Blue said...

Dean is right that there are a lot of district that Dems should be winning because of ur substantive policy concerns, where we aren't even COMPETITIVE because how cultural issues get framed are kicking our tail.

OH-2 is NOT one of those districts. I lived there for 18 years and interned for that Congressman. I liked Rob Portman a lot (asst majority whip, btw), because I knew he was the best that district could get. It is a very rich, very suburban district.

I'm glad you put your money where your mouth is, but I just don't see that this is the place to do it.

Neil Sinhababu said...

No doubt it's going to be hard to win. But the party's done well in special elections lately, even in such unlikely places as South Dakota and Louisiana.

Another nice thing about running Paul Hackett in an Ohio special election is that -- compared to November elections -- we're in a relative news vacuum right now. So you're likely to see more coverage in the region. It's just the time when you want to run a charismatic candidate who will cast the party in a good light, even if he ends up losing.

Blue said...

My point was that SD and Louisiana are actual fertile ground, not OH-2.

Anyway, you're right that Hackett is a good guy, with a good message, about how Dems should take back moderate areas. He's becoming all things to all people, actually. And this is part of the problem.

Hackett is going to lose. He just is. It’s nothing wrong with him as the candidate, the district is just too rich and too socially conservative with too well organized a Republican party. And WHEN he does, this will become another tool that Democrats will paint their inter-necine enemies with.

The DLC will say “see, this means we can’t just inoculate ourselves with war heroes, we need real change. And abortion has to go.” The netroots will say “see, moderates still don’t play well”. Everyone will say Dean sucks. I mean basically the in-biting we’ve had the past two post-elections.

Which is what is so sad about a lot of the context free discussions of “what’s wrong with the Democratic party.” Sometimes you just run a great guy (not perfect, but great), but the factors are stacked against you and you weren’t meant to win. That may or may not have been true last November, but I believe it was. And I certainly don’t want libertarian democrats to suffer when things really get going because of too much attention to this one race.

Anonymous said...

Looks good, though I am irritated that TAP would print the sentence “The guy looks more like a Republican than a Republican does” in an article in support of a Democratic candidate, even if it's only a quotation.

Ah well.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I don't think the netroots will turn against Hackett if he loses. They will blame the centrists for not supporting him with more $, though.

In other news, Paul may have just eaten up 285K of Republican money. Chomp! Chomp! Aroooo!

Blue said...

Yes well getting the DCCC to spend money that won't win an election is also bad. And blaming the DCCC for not doing something when they know damn well they shouldn't, is also bad.

As for GOP spending money, well that's good I guess. Though in a war of monetary attrition they win. And (I wish I could find the post regarding it, but I can't, it's somewhere on TPM), our current fund raising strategies of internet and the populace are great for high-profile things, but bad for our low-profile things. Ie, the DCCC has less money to spend.

But I don't think you're even listening to me, and you really believe that eastern cincinnati is the same type of "lower class, cultural conservative, rural" district that actually has Democratic economic interests as what Dean is championing. I will say once again: it is not.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Tony, did I ever claim that the people of OH-2 would vote for Hackett on economic grounds? I'm not going Tom Frank on you here. National security is where I think Hackett can press an advantage. I should have clarified -- the guns, church, and family stuff is valuable not because it pushes toward "I'm just another trailer park boy like y'all" but because it pushes towards "I'm not a hippie."

Blue said...

Ok, there's no way I don't like this line:

Republican nominee Jean Schmidt, a former state representative, has criticized Hackett for saying several weeks ago that Bush was a greater threat to U.S. security than al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. “The people of this district couldn't disagree more,” says Schmidt, 53.

Hackett is unapologetic. “I've said that I don't like the son-of-a-b---- that lives in the White House but I'd put my life on the line for him,” he says.

Now if only he was running on OH-1, a district initially designed to be a union stronghold and has been held since 94 buy a guy who's claim to fame was being a House Manager in the impeachment trrial.

Blue said...

Then you disagree with Howard "we need to get guys with Confederate flag bumper stickers on their truck voting for us" Dean. It's been my impression that the strategy is to get districts who have economic interest in Democratic policies. Which includes most of LA and SD (both of which have pretty vibrant state Dem parties, btw). So you can see why I thought you were on that line of logic. Indian Hill (Hackett's neighborhood and mine) has every reason to be laissez-faire capitalist, and most of the district is suburban middle/upper class.

Of course if we could win a culturally conservative and economically libertarian district simply with good national security rhetoric and an attractive candidate, well, it'd be a goddamn miracle. (And any connection between an area's elected representative and their policy positions would be out the window.)

Stephen C said...

Run Hackett for Senator, Governor. He's the ticket for Ohio.

Although I'm far left of the Democringe Party. I still rue the debacle of 2004 when a Wesley Clark/Tony Zinni run would have squished Bush.

Of course, wisely or not, the Dems don't let me annoint their tickets.

Hackett's got the star power, the Bullworthian directness, and he obviously doesn't slip and slide too much.

...the whole package.

Stephen C said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.