We already knew that the Dem establishment's selection of Sherrod Brown over Paul Hackett as the Democratic candidate for Senate in Ohio was antidemocratic and anti-populist. When two or more electable Democrats want to vie for the nomination in a primary, I say the Party should stay the hell out of it and let the voters decide. Primary contests, if done with mutual respect instead of unbridled venom, are GOOD things: they raise the profile of the eventual nominee, they focus press and public attention on the Democratic platform, they provide gratuitous opportunities for both candidates to blast the Republican on the other side, and they both test and mobilize the Democratic base. And, of course, while Brown is NOT a Vichy, we'll never succeed in ousting Vichys in other races if we generally allow the DLC crowd (more here) to pick our candidates for us.
Now it's starting to appear that the Party's premature selection of Brown over Hackett may not only have been undemocratic and heavy-handed, but politically unwise, too. Hackett was not a perfect candidate, but he was potentially electable against DeWine. And Brown, despite his progressive credentials, isn't a gimme: he, too, has feet of clay. Steve Gilliard has an interesting post up about those feet of clay.
If Brown loses in the general election, I'll joylessly say "I told you so" -- not because Hackett was necessarily better, but because the Party's leaders never gave him a chance to show that he might have been.
My point simply is that the Democratic Party should only intervene when the candidate who might win the primary appears to be a liability in the general election. I'm not a member of the "party purity" crowd, and am willing to bow to practical politics -- but the current "old boy network" of centrists, DLCers, Vichys, accommodationists, and triangulators isn't practical, either, because it keeps losing. And losing. And losing.
Time to let the grassroots have a say for a change. We certainly can't do any worse than the Machine has.