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October 25, 2005

OH-Sen: Hackett realpolitik

Mike the Mad Biologist wonders why so many progressive bloggers love Paul Hackett:

Can anyone tell me why the Democratic blogosphere is going bannanas over Hackett's entry into the Ohio Senate race? I like the guy: anyone who calls Bush a chickenhawk can't be all bad. But can we stop kidding ourselves? Hackett isn't a 'progressive': he's a conservative Democrat. For much of the Democratic blogosphere, Sherrod Brown is much better on the issues.

Progressive bloggers love Hackett because he is our partner in a radical plan to reshape political power in America. Politics makes strange bedfellows. But, when you get down to brass tacks, Hackett is an invaluable ally: he loves the blogosphere, understands how to harness the power of the blogosphere, and perhaps most importantly, he owes the blogosphere. Hackett is also the perfect R&D project for people who want to use netroots to execute the 50 state strategy.

The reason to support Hackett over Brown is simple--if Hackett wins (and he can win), the progressive blogosphere makes history. A small, widely-dispered network of highly motivated amateurs and semi-pros will have delivered a US Senate seat. Hackett's election would mark a radical power shift in American politics, even if the candidate is less radical than some of us would like.

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» A Good Point on Hackett from Simianbrain
Majikthise has an excellent point about Paul Hackett's candidacy:Progressive bloggers love Hackett because he is our partner in a radical plan to reshape political power in America. Politics makes strange bedfellows. But, when you get down to brass tac... [Read More]

» Yes and no. from Upper Left
Comments on some of the latest fallout in the Brown/Hackett brouhaha in Ohio... [Read More]

Comments

Hasn't the point already been made about the power of netroots with his showing in an extremely safe Republican district? Seeing as we're talking about 1 of only 100 Senators now, I think (if I were an Ohioan) that I'd go with substantive politics over symbolic point.

I'm sure Brown would win my support if it were based soley on a checklist of issue postitions. But the thing about Hackett, besides the merely neat and cool netroots stuff, is that the guy's got pizazz. I mean it. Pizazz counts. PH is a straight shootin', hairy chested, bare knuckled, "bite me" war vet.

After Kerry, a fabulous resume and issue dude, we NEED some "I paid for that microphone!" candidates.

I think Paul Hackett is getting the netroots support because he stood up and fought back. He made his positions clear with blunt talk. And many of us have been waiting for a Democrat to do that. Just stand up and say it like we feel it. And while he is not as progressive as I am, he fights for the Democratic Party and that puts him way out front in my book.

That said, I would rather he were running for the House seat again in '06. I think America would be better off with him in the House and Brown in the Senate.

Peace

If the netroots only gets conservative Democrat/Republican lite candidates elected, who needs it?

It's all well and good to get exercise in the process, but someday I would like to have a candidate I feel good about.

I think I'm going to be sick. You're supporting a conservative (yes) because he's sold liberal bloggers a bill of goods and kisses your ass once in a while?

This is a sad moment for the "progressive" blogosphere.

Dadahead, please present evidence that Hackett is a conservative. Remember, "(yes)" does not count as evidence. Hackett is a moderate with charisma who is willing to fight the neocons in blunt language that liberals & moderates in Ohio respond well to. I'm convinced that he has a better chance of carrying the state than does Brown, and not particularly concerned that the chai crowd finds him ideologically impure.

I'm not sure I understand. The guy is clearly the less liberal candidate. Why would so-called progressive bloggers support him in the first place? More importantly, is there a reason why I should care about progressive bloggers making history? If all we're talking about is the old argument that liberals should vote for moderates because they're supposedly more electable, well, I'll vote my opinions on policy, not my crystal ball.

You guys raise several valid points.

1. Can the netroots deliver like they did in OH-2? That's an interesting question. It's true that in 2006 Hackett won't be the only candidate vying for online support. However, he's a netroots name brand in a marquee race. In OH-2 Hackett had virtually no institutional support until the final days of the race, after the online contingent had already made him a contender. This time around, he'd be running against one of the most vulnerable Republican Senators in the country in a big state. If there's competition for online dollars, Hackett is as well-placed as anyone to compete for them.

2. Didn't we already make our point in OH-2? We certainly sent a strong message to the Republicans and the Democratic establishment, but we can't coast on those accomplishments indefinitely.

3. Wouldn't Sherrod Brown become the new netroots darling if Hackett were defeated? Probably, but by the same token, Hackett would probably inherit a lot of Brown's institutional and organization support if he won the nomination. Here's the key difference: Bloggers and blogger consultants have a central role in Hackett's campaign and his overall project--he's campaigning as an outsider with other outsiders. Brown's going to campaign as a distinguished progressive Congressman with deep roots in the institutional Demcratic party. If Brown gets the nod, I know the progressive blogosphere will do everything it can to help put him over the top, but it's not the same thing.

4. Wouldn't Hackett for Congress/Brown for Senate have been a better outcome? Maybe, but that's not in the cards.

5. Who wants to support the netroots if they don't back progressive Democrats? That's a fair point. We're facing a real tradeoff--but it's not style over substance, it's form vs. matter. Assuming that Hackett and Brown have equal chances of unseating DeWine, I feel that as a progressive I ought to support Hackett because his victory would have better overall ramifications. I think that the institutional Democrats are strangling progressive politics in America. Now, instead of putting up with it, or wasting our votes on a third party candidate, the netroots are giving us a chance to put the squeeze on the Democratic establishment.

Let's be clear, Hackett's no Joe Lieberman. He's staunchly pro-choice and he opposes the war in Iraq. (We all want more specifics on how he would get us out, of course.) He's a strong supporter of the Establishment Clause, and privacy rights. I think it's fair to assume that as a former personal injury attorney he's vehemently opposed to the systematic disenfranchisement the Republicans call "tort reform."

Hackett is radical in the sense that he's prepared to pursue power outside the usual channels.

The reason to care about progressive bloggers making history is because these are the people who seem to have hit upon an incredibly powerful strategy for communication, organizing, and fundraising. The beauty of the netroots model is that it is based on small independet players instead of large institutional forces. The traditional path to power is to raise enough money from large donors to buy advertising from large media outlets. The netroots alternative is to attract support, both financial and ideological, from a much broader base. That's a significant difference.

Nobody is saying that the netroots approach is infinitely scaleable, nor that online activitiy will ever replace the old way of doing things. Still, the netroots community is way to the left of the institutional Democrats and any political power they manage to acquire is a net gain for progressives.

"I'm not sure I understand. The guy is clearly the less liberal candidate. Why would so-called progressive bloggers support him in the first place?"

Would you have wanted Adlai Stevenson to have tried a third time in 1960? He was much more liberal than JFK.

I'm not an expert on Ohio politics, but I know it is not a liberal state. Sherrod Brown is very liberal. While there are other factors that add to Brown's electability, such as experience, his liberalness is a burden in the general election. It shouldn't be, but it is. While electability should not be the only guideline - don't nominate a crook or bigot just because they can win - Hackett seems to be a decent man.

Also, as an outsider, I don't care what this senator may or may not do for Ohio. I just want this senator to be the 51st Democrat in the senate. That is selfish of me. I don't care. Ohio has a whole state full of people to speak its side of the issue. Brown, as the more experienced politician, would almost certainly be better for Ohio than Hackett. But that is immaterial to the discussion for most posters to this forum.

This is oh-so-reminiscent of the argument over Howard Dean. Yes, by rights, Howard Dean should not be the darling of the left, because he's a moderate (balanced budget, 100% rating from the NRA).

But Howard Dean is willing to fight for the Democratic Party. Period. And I'm willing to take a guy who's not quite as "liberal" on paper who won't just roll over and let the Republicans ass-fuck him in the name of "civility" as I fear Sherrod Brown would.

Does that make sense now?

please present evidence that Hackett is a conservative. Remember, "(yes)" does not count as evidence. Hackett is a moderate

To the extent that Hackett even takes a clear stand on issues (and he goes to great lengths to avoid doing so), he is a garden-variety "moderate", as you put it, in an overall conservative party.


Although Hackett initially opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq as a pre-emptive war that "set a bad precedent," he now says: "We're there now. My Marines are over there fighting. We can't cut and run .... I want to see what we're doing in Iraq work out."


Schmidt and Hackett both espouse fiscal conservatism and limited government, although she goes into more detail with proposals such as eliminating estate and capital gains taxes and instituting a flat tax.

A Hackett TV commercial that began airing this week opens with a clip of President Bush saying: "There is no higher calling than service in our armed forces." Hackett also recounts his decision to volunteer last year to serve seven months in Iraq.


This isn't about "ideological purity," or the "chai crowd" (thanks for helping to spread GOP stereotypes, BTW). But ideology does matter.

"And I'm willing to take a guy who's not quite as "liberal" on paper who won't just roll over and let the Republicans ass-fuck him in the name of "civility" as I fear Sherrod Brown would."

That comment shows a shocking ignorance of Sherrod Brown. Hackett isn't the only fighter in this race.

'm willing to take a guy who's not quite as "liberal" on paper who won't just roll over and let the Republicans ass-fuck him in the name of "civility" as I fear Sherrod Brown would.

Does that make sense now?

What makes you think Hackett would be less likely than Sherrod Brown to "roll over"? Because he wore a uniform? Because he killed Iraqis? Do you know anything about Brown's history?

Besides, the GOP often wouldn't need to get Hackett to roll over, because he's likely to already be where they want him to be.

Let's be clear, Hackett's no Joe Lieberman.

Is that the standard?

But Howard Dean is willing to fight for the Democratic Party. Period.

This means nothing unless we have a Democratic Party worth fighting for.

Let's just hope the candidates are more civil than some of the non-Ohioan commentary I've seen (many of the Ohio threads at Daily Kos, MyDD, etc. are amazingly poisonous, and probability dictates that a good deal of the vitriol comes from outside the state). Not Lindsay, of course; at least she's putting forward a positive case for her preferred candidate to win. If any Ohio voter jumped ship or became apathetic in the general election because the other candidate won the primary, that would just be sad.

Would you have wanted Adlai Stevenson to have tried a third time in 1960? He was much more liberal than JFK.

Would a President Stevenson have invaded South Vietnam?

'PH is a straight shootin', hairy chested, bare knuckled, "bite me" war vet... we NEED some "I paid for that microphone!" candidates.' (Jon Moyer)

Yes, we need sensitive liberal candidates who look and swagger like macho conservatives. Ronald Reagan, Jesse Ventura, and Arnold Schwarzenegger would have won their elections with platforms opposite to what they campaigned on. Americans have always voted for whichever candidate looked more like a football coach.

But I still want a liberal.

"the netroots community is way to the left of the institutional Democrats and any political power they manage to acquire is a net gain for progressives." (Lindsay)

My impression is that the internet in general and blogosphere in particular lean heavily to the right. otoh off-center voices aren't as suppressed as in mainstream media.

Is there strong evidence that internet fund-raising naturally favors the left? Strong enough to make me prefer a candidate who clearly doesn't represent me as closely as his opponent?

Oh, now Hackett is attacking Brown for being too liberal.

Seriously, just admit you were wrong and be done with it.

Howard "let's run anti-choice candidates" Dean is a success story?

First, I don't think it's possible for the Democratic Party to actually take a progressive stand on anything. The Democratic Party has been committed, for the last 70 years, to demolishing every progressive movement that arises in the US.

Second, if it were possible for the Democratic Party to be progressive, supporting a conservative Democrat would be a move away from that.

Third, supporting a candidate on the basis of the candidate's interest in blogging would be unprincipled, if it weren't comically pathetic. It's like choosing a candidate because she uses a cell phone instead of a land line. There's nothing "grassroots" about this that wouldn't have fit in the operations of Tammany Hall.

on hackette being conservative.

on his last radio interview, his stand is primarily economic (people need work) On social issue he says 'hands off' (religion, women's right/reproduction issue, unfortunately including gun ownership)

ON those particular issues he seems to express somewhat libertarian POV.

His AAR interview cut is not up yet. But should be in this link. (otherwise download archive. 10/25 Majority report from archive site)

http://www.majorityreportradio.com/data/op-ed/archives/002988.php

>> Posted by: Dadahead | October 25, 2005 at 07:54 PM

Sirota is on Brown payroll. (admitedly I haven't read the article, so I can't really say about the content. heh...sorry)

~~~Posted by: Dadahead | October 25, 2005 at 07:54 PM ~~~

I think Sirota work for Browne campaign. (haven't confirmed it yet. so...)

~~~Is there strong evidence that internet fund-raising naturally favors the left? Strong enough to make me prefer a candidate who clearly doesn't represent me as closely as his opponent?
Posted by: Gary Sugar | October 25, 2005 at 06:25 PM ~~~

from his radio interview. He seems fit all the usual liberal bill (except guns ownership.)

He supports worker/union/ his primary platform seems to be economic opportunity in Ohio (after Iraq) He support fair trade. (VERY BIG one IMO, considering just about ALL long time players are into 'free trade bla bla')

I am not sure what other big liberal issues he is facing aside from gun. (environment? but it's not on anybody's top list right now. It's Iraq/Job/economy/healthcare.

~~~Is there strong evidence that internet fund-raising naturally favors the left? Strong enough to make me prefer a candidate who clearly doesn't represent me as closely as his opponent?
Posted by: Gary Sugar | October 25, 2005 at 06:25 PM ~~~

from his radio interview. He seems fit all the usual liberal bill (except guns ownership.)

He supports worker/union/ his primary platform seems to be economic opportunity in Ohio (after Iraq) He support fair trade. (VERY BIG one IMO, considering just about ALL long time players are into 'free trade bla bla')

I am not sure what other big liberal issues he is facing aside from gun. (environment? but it's not on anybody's top list right now. It's Iraq/Job/economy/healthcare.

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