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Ohio: Fallout From Hackett Announcement

There are good and bad sides to today's decision by Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett to drop out of the Ohio Senate race.

On the bad side, Hackett's withdrawal statement made clear that he felt mistreated by Democratic Party leaders who believed Rep. Sherrod Brown is the stronger candidate to face Sen. Mike DeWine (R) this fall. "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," Hackett said.

Hackett told the New York Times that Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) had urged him to step aside and had made calls to donors asking them not to give to his Senate campaign.

The appearance of heavy-handedness from Washington is sure not to sit well with some in the liberal blogosphere who helped catapult Hackett to national prominence during his near-miss loss to Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) in an August 2005 special election for Ohio's 2nd District. (Take a look at Gary Hart's thoughts here.) But Daily Kos -- the most prominent member of the Democratic "netroots" --said today on his blog that Brown was the frontrunner for the nomination whether or not Hackett was in the race.

On the positive side, with Hackett out of the race, Brown can now husband his resources for the fall. Brown already held a massive fundraising lead over Hackett --$2.4 million to $230,000 at the end of 2005 -- but the May 2 primary was shaping up to be a nasty contest. Now Brown can spend the next eight months focused on DeWine, a luxury that should increase Democrats' chances of winning the seat.

To back up that premise, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released results of a survey conducted earlier this month by Peter D. Hart Research that showed Brown leading DeWine 44 percent to 41 percent. No ballot test between DeWine and Hackett was released.

Republicans are quick to note that Hackett -- on paper -- looked to be a stronger general election candidate, in part due to his support for gun rights, an important issue in the state. Along this line, the National Republican Senatorial Committee put out a release today featuring Hackett quotes about Brown that appeared in an October Mother Jones story. "You're not gonna throw out a sitting senator in a Republican state with a very liberal Democratic longstanding U.S Congressman," Hackett told the liberal publication.

Brown is clearly more of a traditional liberal than Hackett but is also a candidate who has run and won a number of races both in his 13th District and statewide. But will he be able to win votes from the conservative-minded independents who may well decide the race this fall? Time will tell.

Click "continue" below for a few updates on this post.

UPDATE, 5:45 p.m. ET: A few more interesting tidbits have come to light since my earlier post.

* The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a release this afternoon disputing Hackett's contention that Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) made calls to donors urging them not to donate to his campaign. "Neither the DSCC nor Senator Schumer reached out to donors to ask them to take sides in this race," said DSCC Communications Director Phil Singer. Singer extended an olive branch to Hackett in the next breath, praising his "statesman-like decision" to drop out of the Senate race.

* It appears as though much of the Hackett campaign was entirely in the dark about the candidate's decision to drop from the race. Hackett's campaign manager sent around an e-mail yesterday to a small group supporters assuring them that the rumors about the candidate dropping his challenge to Brown or switching to the House race were entirely wrong, according to one Hackett supporter who saw the e-mail.

Hackett's decision was so unexpected that his campaign pollster -- Mark Blumenthal -- had prepared a polling memo to be released today detailing a survey conducted Feb. 6-8. A copy of the memo was obtained by The Fix today.

While the initial head to head in that memo showed Brown with a 46 percent to 24 percent edge over Hackett, Blumenthal wrote that when a paragraph of only positive information about both men was read to voters, Hackett held a 43 percent to 41 percent edge. Among those who identified themselves as Democrats, Brown led 44 percent to 42 percent after voters heard positive information about both candidates. Among those who identified as themselves independent or other (Ohio has an open primary where independents can vote), Hackett held a 50 percent to 31 percent margin. The full text of each positive description is included in the memo and I'm posting that text at the end of this post.

While so-called "informed ballot" ballot tests are of questionable value, Blumenthal concluded that if Hackett could raise the money to simply introduce himself to voters, he would win the primary. Money, however, proved to be Hackett's undoing as he was unable to raise anywhere near the $2.1 million Brown had on hand as of the end of 2005.

Here are two informational paragraphs read to voters as part of the Hackett campaign survey:

Hackett: Paul Hackett is a 43 year old Democrat, attorney and Marine Corps reservist from Cincinnati. Born in Cleveland, he attended Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University law school before serving in the Marines. Although he opposed the Iraq war, he reenlisted and volunteered for service in Iraq out of a sense of duty and responsibility. On returning, he ran for Congress and gained national attention by nearly winning a special election in a heavily Republican district. An outsider and political newcomer, Hackett wants to shake up the culture of corruption in government, saying quote, "if you like the way things are going in Washington, don't vote for me. If you think we need to completely change the way Washington does business, I want your support." He also says Democrats should stand up and fight for their beliefs on the war in Iraq, jobs, health care, education and the environment. Hackett says he will bring an honest, plain-spoken approach to the Senate.

Brown: Sherrod Brown is a 53 year old Democratic Congressman from Lorain. He first ran for office thirty one years ago and has served as a State Representative, Ohio Secretary of State and member of Congress. Brown says that in his thirteen years in Washington, he fought for his beliefs even when it meant bucking the political establishment. He consistently spoke out against the Iraq War and is proud of his fights against trade deals that sold out American workers from Clinton's NAFTA to Bush's CAFTA. Brown says the Republican team of Bush, Taft and DeWine have stood silently while Ohio has lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs, families are losing their health care and too many Ohioans are suffering from high prescription-drug and home-heating costs. Instead of public servants Brown says we have moneyed interests -- in Columbus and Washington -- who reward their friends, punish their enemies and shower money on themselves. Brown says we need a new direction.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 14, 2006; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  House , Senate  
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Next: Parsing the Polls: Surveys Spotlight McCain's Broad Appeal


I like your site.

Posted by: Dublin Hotel | March 21, 2006 5:38 AM | Report abuse

With Kenneth Blackwell and Diebold Inc. in charge of counting votes, no Dem has a chance of winning any election in Ohio!

Posted by: Larry | February 19, 2006 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I hope that you are digging a little deeper into this to find out exactly what happened cause I would love to know exactly who did encourage Hackett to quit.

Read up on it - it's all over the Democratic and lefty blogosphere. Hackett got screwed royally and even Markos of DailyKos is contradicting his own previous statements trying to make it not look like Rove-style political sabotage. It sucks. there are about two dozen diaries at DailyKos about it, some comments at Digby, etc. It SUCKS.

Posted by: Martin Springfield | February 16, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

You left out the really bad: Brown is toast and the Democrats are a laughingstock. They kneecapped the one guy with the guts to stand up to Bushco. Get a clue.

Posted by: martin_springfield | February 16, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The hijinks of the national Democratic party show why they've been on such a losing streak. They're out of touch with the thinking and feelings of people not of the ruling elite.

Posted by: Blueman 1 | February 16, 2006 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I just read a lot of Ohio Dems bashing the only experienced winning person to stand up and actually run against Senator DeWine.
Maybe Mr. Hackett would have been a better candidate than Sherrod Brown, maybe he wouldn't have. We will never know.
We will never know simply because Paul Hackett doesn't have the guts to stand up and fight like a man.
When I read all those comments from all you Ohio Dems about quitting and conceding to Mike DeWine before you even got a campaign going, I can understand Paul Hackett a little better.

NY dem

Posted by: robert chapman | February 15, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I am disappointed that Hackett didn't run. I see too many DLC types running for office on the Democratic ticket for President. Finegold has good creditials, but the rest carry too much baggage. I am tired of Republican light in the Democratic Party.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | February 15, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Having lived in in Oh-2 I am surprised Paul Hackett did so well. It was like living in Mexico, one party and paper and pencil ballots, just in case someone (a Dem.) might win. Why can't the voters of this state choose who we want in a primary? Why do Senators and congressmen from other states get to pick thier favorites? Jean Schmitt is a witch and I hope someone throws cold water on her. Politics is not for nice guys or good guys, just rich guys with special intrests. Yes, I will vote for anyone with a "D" behind their name but I am begining to wonder why. Paul Hackett should run for Gov. of Ohio we need change look where that took Bush.

Posted by: Candace M | February 15, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Not suggesting that at all. The fact was that he was making a huge leap and voters like to see a track record (in general). That is why you start local and build your network and gain experience.

Local politicians or those with no experience almost never win statewide races in Ohio, its hard enough when you are experienced and run, especially in their first try.

Ask Fingerhut and Hyatt on the former and DeWine, Taft and Voinovich on the latter. Run and lose first time out and win on the rebound. It has been a long standing mantra for Ohio politics.

Posted by: RMill | February 15, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I am bothered the apparently mislead Senator's did have a suitable agreement with Mr. Hackett. The last thing we need in this party is division. I hope Mr. Hackett changes his mind and will run for Congress and win by a landslide.

Posted by: Harry T. | February 15, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Not being too familiar with this situation I'm still get a vote, everyone does regardless of their intellect. Maybe the Dems should realize brains alone don't get it done. It also takes a lot of heart, which Hackett appears. It's really short sighted to have dealt with this so poorly that the Dems have alienated him. He was bringing new life to the Dems and hope for change. The Dems need change. Their old habits have not worked for years.

PS - If we don't clean up the vote, it won't matter who runs anyway.

Posted by: Gregor04 | February 15, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I hope that you are digging a little deeper into this to find out exactly what happened cause I would love to know exactly who did encourage Hackett to quit.
Also if I were Brown I would run a State wide ad saying something like that he is personally appalled by the influence of the DCCC in the affairs of Ohio, and that he wishes Paul Hackett the best. If he could even get Hackett to join him in the commercial that would be great. That may be a long shot but it would help to heal the divide this is causing in the Democratic party. I mean he is getting villified here and according to what I have heard he didn't do anything wrong. He's got 2.4 mil right, well now might be the time to start using it.

Posted by: Andy R | February 15, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

As someone who has met Paul Hackett, volunteered for his congressional race, and spent a few days with him, I can honestly say that he is a loose cannon who couldn't wait to drag Sherrod Brown through the mud for no other reason than that he was also running in the primary. Hackett is apparently unable to control what comes out of his mouth, and while it sometimes wins over voters, there is no question that it would eventually alienate both the electorate and his (God forbid) future collegues in the House or Senate.

Whatever the nat'l Dems role in getting Hackett out of the race, I congratulate them on getting Hackett to finally put his ego aside and make a rational decision. Hackett would be a disaster as a representative of Ohio. Having a short temper is not qualification for federal office.

Posted by: uvadem | February 15, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Old Vet:
I hope that you never get a chance to vote for Hackett as a Dim so save your money.
If I'm OH GOP Chair Bob Bennett I am on the phone to Hackett today welcoming back to his true political roots and offer support for a future 2008 run at a GOP office.

Posted by: Vivabush04OH | February 15, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The Democratic Party leadership that got rid of Paul Hackett is repulsive. He was a fresh voice, and an effective leader with impeccable credentials to speak on the primary issue of 2006 - the "war" in Iraq.

Contrast Mr. Hackett with the likes of Sen. Lieberman who represents Israel and insurance companies. Or with Harold Ford Jr. who dodged military service and sides with most of the rightwing social and financial policies of Bush. Or with Al Gore who goes to Saudi Arabia and complains about US treatment of Muslims in the midst of the most corrupt religious theocracy on the planet. Compare Mr. Hackett to Sen. Biden who can't stop talking and preening for cameras, or to Sen. Clinton who "supports" the "war" in Iraq, or to the others who lack the integrity and ethics to get rid of campaign finance and lobbying corruption.

I've been a Democratic voter for 42 years, and will never give another vote or dime of money to the Democratic Party, until the day when the entire Democratic Party stands up and supports Paul Hackett for high political office.

Posted by: OldVet | February 15, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I am convinced there is NOT a two party system in the US, but only one party with two faces. The Republicans, who lead the way, and the Democratics, who follow. If you're concerned about leadership in the Democratic party, do not look among the Democratics, but at the Republican party. There is but a few Democratic congressmen or women who have the courage to stand up to the right.

Posted by: Stan | February 15, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

This stuff happens with both parties ALL THE TIME--the difference is Hackett aired the dirty laundry for all to hear. Give him credit for that.

I'm a Missouri voter and I could care less who in Washington picks to run for Congress or Senate--it's all about who gets how much money, plain and simple.

Posted by: jenniferm | February 15, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

You Obama supporters are so out of touch!! It clearly shows why we Dems are outside looking in. When you all stop talking to yourselves and offering self-congratulations, remember that he won
his Senate seat under very unusual circumstances where the opposition simply imploded. Race will rule here and I am incredulous at the belief that the vast swath of red states - and many ethnics in the blue states - will be prepared to vote for any minority/non-white candidate for President (not county alderman) in 2008. This is especially the case when the candidate's cerdentials are so slender. Just like Geraldine Ferraro, Harvey Gantt, and Tom Bradley, the Dems will nominate the politically correct candidate---and lose. We Dems needs to remember that most people are not minority (or at least do not self-identify as minority), poor, GLBT, or union members and that candidates too closely identified with any of these groups will lose in a national race. Sorry---but the country is just not ready for Obama.

Posted by: GaryDL | February 15, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

The Democratic leadership needs to get outside the Beltway and stop scratching either others' backs. The Old Boys (and Girls) Club also needs to think of some new questions to ask on the "opinion surveys" I frequently get. These always close with the question of how much money I will give to the party.

We need to widen the tent a bit. I'm tired of throwing good money after bad results. We need a fresh approach, and if I were an Ohioan, I would have voted for Hackett.

Posted by: Tom R | February 15, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the posting of slavin. I am very tired of this administration but I'm really pissed off with the Democrats and their old ways of doing politcs. I'm starting to beleive what the NeoCons are saying about the Democratics not knowing anything about what the American people want.

Posted by: Ron Jacobs | February 15, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I always think its a shame when primaries are scuttled for the sake of a victory. If the Democratic Party keeps choosing candidates from Washington instead of the states that they're going to be representing, they are setting themselves up for failure. I'm a NYer and Chuck Schumer is my Senator, I'm sorry to say. He cares about nothing more than seeing his name in the news, cultivating a little power base, and grandstanding during Supreme Court nominee hearings. Please note - I'm a Democrat and probably always will be, but if the Democrats keep up their current business practices, they will get hosed in November.

I agree with Daedalus above that Reid needs to go. For that matter, send Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, and Kerry with him. As for Bring on Obama, wait a bit on that. Let him get re-elected first. Dems in Congress need look no further than the states to see how they can win in places that traditionally would not support them.

Posted by: AndrewB | February 15, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Let's go back to AugustSeptember 2005 when Hackett decided to get into the Senate race. Before he jumped in Dim Senate caucus people asked Brown to consider running and he made a public statement declining the offer. At that point both Reid and Schumer decided that Hackett would make a great opponent(something I agreed with)and agreed to back him.

Then in early October Brown decides he's running, complicating things for the DSCC and Hackett. At that time there was already inter-party divisiveness leading to a near-unanimous Ohio UAW backing of Hackett.

You make it appear that Hackett was an upstart usurper who need not have even been in the race when in fact he was there before Brown and stood a chance of winning. Certainly the money would have been there.
It now appears that some Dem elements see this as a betrayal diminishing their zeal for the Dim senate candidate. I highly doubt they vote for Dewine but I wonder if they might commit their $$ and energy for some other candidate like Strickland?

Posted by: Vivabush04OH | February 15, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

While it may comforting to have a safe liberal running against DeWine (sp?) it's also the reason Hackett was running. Our traditional "lieberals" are clueless idiots who fear change because the guys in power would lose their seats to younger, much stronger contenders.

In my opinion we've just been let down again. I think we need a third party. At least I'd feel honorable voting again.

Posted by: Tom Aiken | February 15, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Hackett was overreaching. You can't turn losing a congressional race into winning a Senate race, especially in a complex political state like Ohio (unless you are independently wealthy).

There is a reason you "pay your dues". It builds networks for support and money. Party support and special interest group support only goes so far. If you have done your homework, then you can withstand these pressures and win without them.

The bottom line is Hackett was trying to capitalize on his "rock star" status as the darling of the party when nothing else was important in August of 2005. Now, the party has to calculate resources for hundreds of races across the nation and had to go with their best bets.

Posted by: RMill | February 15, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Jason, don't kid yourself, Sherrod Brown is hardly great for America or Ohio and thankfully he will be gone from our 13th District and replaced by Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin.
Brown is a left-wing, out of the mainstream career politician who has been handpicked by Democrat powerbrokers for the U.S. Senate.

Posted by: Vivabush04OH | February 15, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Howard Dean isn't really in charge of much but generally, DNC backs the play of the DCCC and DSCC in coordinating resources, etc. Dean didn't recruit Hackett so while some may have a perception that Hackett and Dean were philosophically aligned in some way, there is no split or factioning over Hackett, at least no more factioning in the Democratic Party than existed prior to yesterday.

Posted by: RMill | February 15, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

To the many Independents who are hunters, and thus not in favor of the Democratic Gun Control idealogy in Ohio, including the Reserve Marine outfit that lost a number of their Marines in Iraq, Whom do you think they will support in the next election, now one of the 'Old Guard'liberal Democrats was handpicked by the Democratic Power Structure. I don't blame Major Hackett from completely withdrawing from 'Politics'.
Semper Fi, Major Hackett.
Grunt Marine VN-'65-66-67'
An Independent Voter in Orygun who votes for Democrats that are not for Gun Control, ala Sen. Feinstein.

Posted by: Mike | February 15, 2006 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh, please stop making a big to-do about this. Both parties do this all the time when they can. I am supporting Sherrod Brown in the primary and anyone who would petty politics above the good of the party and the nation by not voting for Sherrod Brown is making a huge mistake. Sherrod Brown--great for Ohio; great for America!

Posted by: Jason | February 15, 2006 2:27 AM | Report abuse

I've already posted on this topic under "Hackett Switch Could Boost Ohio Democrats" and as an Ohio Democrat, I cannot begin to express the anger I feel that our candidate to challenge DeWine was not chosen by us, but by Schumer, Reid, Rahm Emmanuel and the rest of the Dem "leaders". No matter which the electorate chose, all Dems would have lined up to support him because it was the Democratit voters of Ohio who made the choice, not some professional politicos from New York, Nevada and Illinois. I went to the DSCC web site, got contact information and let THEM know how I feel. Griping to each other will do no good. I hope each of you contacts the people who orchestrated this debacle. The Republican party has done everything they can to wrest power from the voters. Now it seems the Democrats are doing the same. Tell them what you think of it!
At least one person in Ohio is happy about today. Mike DeWine.

Posted by: Marcia | February 14, 2006 11:46 PM | Report abuse

What exactly is a vote for? If we don't get a chance to decide who we like, if we can only choose from whomever is fed to us by the two party machines, then we really don't get a choice.
If we lived in some third world country where those in power maintained their power through subverting the system with money and connections...
Oh yeah, that is what we have.

Posted by: Cleveland | February 14, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it seems almost unconceivable that the
Dem leadership could be so entirely clueless and stupid! Oh, then again they this is the bunch of losers who let one of america's all time worst presidents beat them with nary a wimper.
I'm really ashamed to call myself a democrat today but worry i dont. The democrats will be in for a huge shock come 2008 when millions of moderates like myself desert them for a John McCain victory.

Posted by: will from wisconsin | February 14, 2006 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Having given it some thought I now realize why Schumer, Biden, and the rest of the "leadership" in the Democratic party was against Hackett. See, a rock star like Hackett would have cut down on their Sunday morning gab-fests with Russert, and their early morning phone calls with Imus.

Schumer's actions here lead me to believe that he either doesn't care about the future of the United States, or lacks the competence to properly lead the Democratic party's fight in November.

Posted by: Choska | February 14, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I can't see how anyone can use the word "stronger" when describing a candidate approved by the present bunch of incredibly weak Democrats. The stronger candidate would definitely have been Hackett, and that is precisely why they didn't want him to run. They like being the opposition that votes for war, Chertoff, Brown, Roberts, Alito, and is deluded enough to think that Democrats will get up and go out of the house on election day. What for?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 14, 2006 6:43 PM | Report abuse

This is the same Dem Leadership that touted John Kerry as electable? Well, we saw how that turned out. Let the people decide in Ohio, after all that's what a democracy is, right? The Dem Leadership is bankrupt of ideas as evidenced by all the shinanegans in Congress and the WH...this year's midterms should be, in the words of Tenet, "a slam dunk" for those challenging incumbents. The Dem Party now more than ever needs for a schism to happen.

Posted by: disgusted in va | February 14, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Parties are agents that consolidate power through collective action and coordination. This premise has been completely inverted by the overreaching of party elitists. Rather than telling the American people what they want, it is time allow them to dictate what they want, and for the Democratic Party to listen. As a former District 2 resident (now OH1), I am ashamed that a man I have met and respected is no longer given a chance to earn my vote, or those of other listening Ohioans.

Posted by: Fedup | February 14, 2006 5:54 PM | Report abuse

As a Republican, I am thrilled by this outcome. This will allow the NRA and the Defense industry to firmly pick a side, DeWine. Hackett might not have won, but he would have made it a national story by challenging, energized the base, raised tons of 'new' money and pushed DeWine to define himself away from the slop that is DC ethics these days. Brown is just as emeshed as DeWine in the DC ethics slop and can't win in any year that isn't a monsterous landslide and anyone who thinks he will is deluding themselves.

The NRSC can count this as a safe seat, run against the candidate as too liberal and focus on the real tough races.

Posted by: TC in DC | February 14, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Intrepid Liberal. It may be business-as-usual for Washington to hand-pick a state candidate, but that doesn't make it good for democracy, Ohio, or Democrats.

Trust the voters to weigh the merits of a strong general election candidate against one whose policies are perhaps closer to their own. Probably the unknown strengths and weaknesses of the candidates will reveal themselves in the heat of the contest. It's impossible to imagine Bill Clinton becoming the candidate he became without his having run the uphill gauntlet of the 92 primaries.

Posted by: DLG | February 14, 2006 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Last week, I became an Independent (no party affiliation in California) after 35 years as a registered Dem. Why? Well, just look at the shambles that the Dems create for themselves. They are the trailer-trash of the political spectrum, and they prove it all-too-often. If there was ever a time for a new vox populi, now is it! They have shown they can be just as dishonorable and conniving as the Republicans and have to take a share of the blame for the sad state of the country.

Posted by: No longer a Dem | February 14, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, all of Hackett's "outrageous" comments were right on. I'm sick of the Democratics trying to win by being "safe." Safe doesn't win elections and safe doesn't move the country forward.

Posted by: Lilly | February 14, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Where is Howard Dean during all this? Hackett is a Dean kind of guy, and Howard Dean's old PAC has been aggressivily supportive of Hackett. Chris (or anyone who knows) is this the sign of a rift growing between Dean and the Schumer's of the party?

You can read Jim Dean's (Howards Bro) response to the whole fiasco at the democracy for america website.

Posted by: Andy R | February 14, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

ARRGH! Sometimes I think Harry Reid competing with Bill Frist for the blue ribbon in Misdiagnosis.

I like Sherrod Brown. He is a good man, and his track record in Congress speaks to his progressive values. Unfortunately, he is not a candidate who is going to win in Ohio. The Democrats are betting the race on high turnout the North. This essentially defensive strategy will not fly. They need to learn to be agressive and take advantage of situations like Ohio, where the GOP is awash in scandal.

Paul Hackett almost won a seat in Cincinnati, where Democrats are an endangered species. Sure, he makes incendiary comments, which he refuses to rectract. Last time I checked, the voting public admires that kind of thing. He could carry the North in any case, and, just maybe, help change the political momentum of a region in an important historical swing state.

Get some cojones guys.

Posted by: Cincinnatired | February 14, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, your logic is unfortunately far too logical because it exceeds the bounds of good judgement, good politics and what's good for me and the Ohio Democrats.

Get real? Excuse me -- the DemParty can hold their breath when they come looking for bucks from me.

To paraphrase John McCain, when we behave like Republicans, we become Republicans and we Americans are better than that!

Posted by: RedRover | February 14, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The whole affair is so tacky. Schumer couldn't have done more favors for Dewine if he'd endorsed him. See, this is how the institutional D leaders operate: someone comes in who doesn't fit their mold, and they go out of their way to crucify them. We have screwed up every chance the R's have given us to get them out. Why change now? Good lord. Way to alienate a rising party star, jerks.

Posted by: bamagirlinVA | February 14, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"don't cut and run"? Gervasio must be related to Schmidt. Did you not hear he keeps his word? More than I can say for Brown because he said he wasn't running at first. Brown has ten times amount of money because precisely he is part of the good ole boy network that is just as corrupt as the GOP. As a lifelong democrat I am ashamed of the ethics or lack of that the democratic leadership displayed. I used to believe we were better than that.

Posted by: narnia | February 14, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

To Glenn:

Why should he run for the House seat when he's promised the three other candidates he wouldn't get involved? If he did that, he would be another Sherrod Brown.

Posted by: Chance | February 14, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Hackett has literally nothing to show to voters who he expects to put him into the Senate. Sure, he was in Iraq and is an effective public speaker, but you need a little more than that to be a senator, I would hope. At least Brown has a track record as a house member. Oh, and if Hackett was such a great candidate and voters deserved a primary and he was the darling of the liberal blogosphere, why did Brown have 10 times the amount of money as Hackett? Baby steps, Paulie boy. He's a compelling story, but not a viable candidate. Get off your high horse and run for the House. Don't cut and run.

Posted by: Glenn Gervasio | February 14, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

There is a reason the Dems lose elections, our guys are less creative and less bold than their guys. If the Dems and the Repugs were both launching MP3 players, we would be MSFT and the Repugs would be Apple. They are simply vastly, vastly better at reading the culture. Schumer and Rahm sit back in DC and read each other.

The United States of America will remain adrift until the "leadership" of the Democratic party (Biden, Clinton, Schumer, Rahm, Lieberman, Reid, Warner, Bayh, and Pelosi) step aside for more aggressive, more imaginative, and more talented individuals.

Anyone want to guess on the over/under on when Clinton or Biden plunges the knife in Obama's back in an attempt to eliminate him as a dark horse for 08? My guess is that Obama gets nailed prior to November. How will they do it? Biden, Clinton, and their seconds will simply smear him over cocktails with Russert.(Imus already started the drum beat by calling him an "empty suit.")

Biden and Clinton will want to make sure that Obama is marginalized just in case the Dems take the Senate. That way they will have an excuse for giving him a crappy committee assignment.

BTW, I post regularly over at Kos, but I'm not a "liberal." A traditional liberal would be much more comfortable with Brown than Hackett. The truth is that the Kos posters are attracted to winners. We can smell fakes. Brown was a typical Democrat nothing until Hackett proved a Dem could win by standing up for Democratic principles.

All of that said, I will say that Hackett made some mistakes; he probably should have challenged Schmidt again.

Posted by: Choska | February 14, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I admire Hackett's honesty, integrity and ethics, but I am also a realist. Could he have survived the primary against an experienced candidate? I don't think so. But he shouldn't have shut the door on running again. His statement is so strong that if he changed his mind it would make him look really bad.

I don't have a problem with the national Dems forcing him to make a change or talking to his donors. Besides, didn't the GOP do the same thing to Kathleen Harris in Florida and they treated her a lot worse.

Posted by: jenniferm | February 14, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

If Hackett couldn't take a little heat in the form of less than flattering advice from the Democratic leadership without stomping off in a huff, how would he ever have survived a bruising campaign from an experienced GOP politico?

Posted by: slavin | February 14, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Once again the Democratic Party does not get it. Hackett gave his word to three fellow Dems that he would not enter against them in the race against Schmidt.

He is living by his word. Schumer's nasty little tricks are only going to backfire and demonstrate to the American people that they are a carbon copy of the Republican Party. If they did not want him to run there was a better way to handle it.

Also considering that many in the military tend to vote Republican because of the belief that Dems are anti-military, this move only proves their beliefs.

Keep running the same old tired horses, and once again, the Dems will be on the outside looking in.

Posted by: Iraqi Vet | February 14, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

to VaDemocrat, Hackett has said that he will not run for the House seat because he promised three Dems running in the primary that he would not run. Says the party powers told him that those sorts of promises are seldom kept. Hackett says he gave his word and he's honoring it.

Posted by: Rick in Cincy | February 14, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Paul Hackett dropping out of the race is great news for Sherrod Brown & Ohio Democrats. Hackett is too inexperienced politically to defeat a two term senator like Dewine. Brown has more political experience, can raise more money & mostly importantly - is less likely to say something stupid like Hacket was been proned to do. Ohio Democrats should be very happy with their chances to pick up this senate seat & the governor's mansion with Brown & Strickland.

Posted by: Andrew | February 14, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I am an Ohio Democrat disgusted by our damn leadership. What the hell? I can't believe why anyone would force out Paul Hackett a better general election candidate. I am disgusted. I will not help Sherrod Brown out nor will I vote for him in the general election.

Posted by: Blue88 | February 14, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, this precisely illustrates the difference between how we would like to see things and how they really do happen. Money and perceptions of electability are used to manipulate the system and candidates operating within.

I do, however, believe Hackett is walking the walk, just his walk. He said he was not in this for a career. Convinced, by whatever means, he would not win, he is walking away and going home to run his business.

Posted by: RMill | February 14, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Hackett has talked the talk, but he needs to walk the walk. He should run for Congress again. By conducting a hard hitting, no nonsense, and effective campaign, he stands a good chance of winning. This would be his best way to give a boost to us little democrats, a segment of the electorate seeking only honest and competent government.

Posted by: bncthor | February 14, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Paul Hackett admirer. Perhaps he would have lost to Brown but that's not the point. It's the principal. Ohio Democrats should've been permitted the choice. This is the sort of manipulation that results in people clamoring for a viable third party. I would prefer the Democrats get their act together and not shy away from healthy, competition. Creative tension generates interest and strengthens the party. Politics at its best is an intense competition inside the marketplace of ideas.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 14, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Andy R, Not very original thought and since the democrats have been hand picking from DC for years not likely you will win in court legal, public opinion or otherwise.

Posted by: hamiltonfan | February 14, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Hackett represented the new blood we have all been crowing about. He is not one of those types who have brought disdain to the word "politician.""

Baloney. Hackett's only claim to fame, besides serving in Iraq, was he used plenty of extreme rhetoric. Voters usually prefer problem solvers like Brown to loudmouths like Hackett. Almost Everyone who would have supported Hackett will vote for Brown in the general election.

"Bring on Obama."

To his credit, Obama at least knows how to make a plausible argument and not just spew invective. You could say that about Hackett.

Posted by: JoMama | February 14, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The key negative is that the bad taste left in Hackett's mouth makes it unlikely that he will do any favors for the DCCC and challenge Schmidt in a re-match for Ohio's 2nd District.

Had this been handled properly from the beginning, the GOP would be expending much needed resources to protect an otherwise safe seat.

Posted by: RMill | February 14, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Chris you make a very good point there. But what I don't understand is why doesn't Hackett run for Congress. I can understand him being frustrated with the Washington establishment, but the fact of the matter is that the only way you can change it is by being part of it. If he were to win in Congress he would then be able to be a prominant voice for Democrats who are sick of the same old Celebrity-Politicians.

Posted by: VaDemocrat | February 14, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I am curious, according to you what is the bad side? You present alot of reason's why it was good thing for Democrats except for the backlash on the blogoshere which you seem to not take very seriously (suprising since it is why the Washington Post pays you).
I think this has a much larger negative impact then you are giving it. First it gives Dewine some serious ammunition in the form of labelling Brown "hand-picked by the Washington powerbrokers" Usually I think you give a pretty good fair assesment but you missed it this time.

PS To anyone in the Dewine campaign if you use that line I will sue you.

Posted by: Andy R | February 14, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Brown has not won a statewide race since 1986 when he won re-election for secretary of state, a position he lost to the less than great Bob Taft in 1990, the year the GOP took over the state.
In 1994 when Brown was challenged for 13th Dist congressman by Lorain County prosecutor Greg White, he barely won re-election, 49-48% in a heavy Dem, union district and has never been challenged since. Red Ohio is hardly reflective of the 13th District which has a chance to go GOP this year now that Brown is gone.

Independent voter? Though they outnumber both Dims and GOPs combined, their turnoutout is less than either group and below 40%.

Dewine will try to appeal to these but Bush won in 2004 because we turned out the conservative independent as well as the GOP voter in excess of 70%.
I know how to win this for Dewine.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | February 14, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of hearing about the "liberal" blogosphere. We aren't the "liberal" blogosphere, we are the "Democratic" blogosphere who is sick and tired of the establishment Dems playing their elitist political games. We are sick and tired of them not listening to the new generation of Democrats, who may not have the money yet to contribute large sums to the party but who have the energy and the drive to mobilize those who do. Except we don't want to use that drive to elect "leadership" that won't listen to us. It's as if they WANT to lose. Frankly, I'm tired of losing.

Hackett represented the new blood we have all been crowing about. He is not one of those types who have brought disdain to the word "politician." Hackett is suffering from the same disillusionment that we all are feeling now.

We are the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and maybe it is worth losing another election to get people like Reid OUT of office.

Bring on Obama.

Posted by: Daedalus | February 14, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

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