Be warned gentle reader (and at this point, I think I am back to having just one reader), the link above is to an online report in Mother Jones Magazine.
I was looking for a place where I could buy oni-giri, but instead I found this report about how the Democrat leadership forced Paul Hackett out of the race for US Senate.Democratic Senate candidate and Marine Corps Major Paul Hackett is accustomed to waging quixotic battles and taking his hits. He just didn’t expect the lowest—and fatal—blows to come from his own party.In an announcement that stunned many in Washington and even some in his campaign staff, Hackett declared on February 13, 2006, that he was dropping his bid for U.S. Senate in Ohio, ending his 11 month political career. “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,” he said, only hinting at what had gone down. The day after his withdrawal from the race, he told me about the backroom battles that forced him out.
Too bad, I would have preferred to see Hackett in the race...his rhetoric was so incendiary that Mike DeWine (who is about as low key and gentle a person as you will ever find) would have wiped the floor with him, electorally speaking.Hackett’s scorching rhetoric earned him notoriety and cash on the campaign trail. He declared that people who opposed gay marriage were “un-American.” He said the Republican party had been hijacked by religious extremists who he said “aren’t a whole lot different than Osama bin Laden.” Bloggers loved him, donors ponied up, while Democratic Party insiders grumbled that he wasn’t "senatorial."
Obviously, the Dems recognized this too, and also recognized that Hackett would appeal to the Kos-o-maniacs for the same reason (even though I think that Kos himself has disassociated himself from Hackett). So, the Dems engaged in a campaign of rumors and lies to get Hackett out of the race. The Dems call this "Swiftboating." But I don't know if this is a fair description of what happened. There was TRUTH to what the Swiftboat vets were complaining about.Swift boats soon appeared on the horizon. A whisper campaign started: Hackett committed war crimes in Iraq—and there were photos. “The first rumor that I heard was probably a month and a half ago,” Dave Lane, chair of the Clermont County Democratic Party, told me the day after Hackett pulled out of the race. “I heard it more than once that someone was distributing photos of Paul in Iraq with Iraqi war casualties with captions or suggestions that Paul had committed some sort of atrocities. Who did it? I have no idea. It sounds like a Republican M.O. to me, but I have no proof of that. But if it was someone on my side of the fence, I have a real problem with that. I have a hard time believing that a Democrat would do that to another Democrat.”
Oh please, "Swift boats soon appeared on the horizon." I guess the term "Swift boats" will join "Borking" in the political lexicon.Hackett backers suspected the smear was being floated by Sherrod Brown’s campaign. A senior Brown staffer angrily dismissed the charge this week as “ridiculous.”
N'yuck n'yuck n'yuck.With the very real prospect of a smear against him going public late in the campaign—a la the Swift Boating of John Kerry—Hackett knew that dollars would be especially important for him. “If I don’t have the $2 million or $3 million it would take to respond in the final weeks, to influence the battlefield with my message, then I would just be reacting and I’ll get trounced,” said Hackett. Hackett had demonstrated his ability to shake money from donors during a January fundraising roadshow in California and New York. But he soon discovered that top Democrats were attempting to cut off his money. The hosts of a Beverly Hills fundraiser for Hackett received an e-mail from the political action committee of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) that concluded, “I hope you will re-consider your efforts on behalf of Hackett and give your support to Sherrod.” Waxman’s chief of staff, Phil Schiliro, said the e-mail was only sent to a handful of people and that “it probably came from a suggestion from the Sherrod Brown campaign.”Michael Fleming, who manages Internet millionaire David Bohnett’s political and charitable giving, was one of the recipients of the Waxman email. Bohnett has given to hundreds of progressive candidates, but Fleming says, “This was the first time I had ever gotten an email or communication like that. I find it discouraging and disheartening. It’s unfortunate that the powers that be didn’t let the people of Ohio figure this out. We should be in the business of encouraging people like Paul Hackett and viable progressive candidates like him to run. The message instead is don’t bother, it’s not worth your time.”Sen. Schumer was also reported to be trying to turn off Hackett’s cash spigots. No one would confirm this to me on the record. But veteran political activist David Mixner, who described himself as “a fanatically strong supporter” of Hackett and who helped sponsor a New York fundraiser, confirmed that he “received calls from a couple people in Congress urging Paul Hackett to withdraw or not to contribute money to his campaign. The reasons ranged from he can’t win, to he’s too controversial, Brown has more money, is more centrist, and more appealing. It was that inner beltway circle crap,” said Mixner. “They are people who have no idea what’s going on in the country but believe they know everything.”
Brown is a centrist? Really? He is a Dem party hack from the liberal stronghold of Cleveland. I guess he is a centrist for Cuyahoga County...but that is like being a centrist in P'yong Yang, North Korea.Hackett was infuriated by the subterfuge. “I felt like I got
[expletive deleted] by the Democratic Party because they enticed me in and then they pulled the rug out from beneath me. It sounds eerily familiar to sending in the military to Iraq, which was a misuse of the military, and then not giving them what they need to fight.” In what is being called the Valentine’s Day Massacre, Paul Hackett threw in the towel, and insisted he would not be running for elected office anytime soon. He declined requests to switch races and run again in the Ohio Second Congressional District against Rep. Jean Schmidt, saying he had promised the candidates currently in that race that he wouldn’t run. “My word is my bond and I will take it to my grave,” he declared.As word spread about the intra-party intrigue that helped bring down Hackett, supporters have reacted angrily. “If the Democratic Party continues with these suicidal decisions, we will continue to defeat ourselves,” declared Yolanda Parker, who recently attended a California fundraiser for Hackett. “The only strategy the Republicans need to stay in power is patience. They just need to wait while our party self-implodes through idiotic decisions such as the one to pressure an articulate Iraqi war veteran to pull out of the race.”
I am sorry to see Hackett go. But politics is not for the faint of heart.