Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hackett Falls Victim to the Dem Establishment. Damn.

I'll try not to stray too far off the topic of Vichy Dems by over-obsessing on Establishment Dems, but they are part of the same problem: Party leaders, who tend to err on the side of triangulation and compromise, picking who our candidates will be without even letting the grassroots have their say in a primary election.

A few days ago I was ticked about Hillary Clinton giving premature support to Bob Casey, a pro-life centrist, over Chuck Pennacchio, a strong progressive, to be the Dem nominee against Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania. (More here.) Today, I'm mad as hell that our leaders -- the same ones who've so astutely and cleverly triangulated our way to overwhelming electoral majorities in the last two Presidential elections and our current dominant position in Congress -- have driven a superb man like Paul Hackett out of politics altogether.

Hackett said he was under heavy party pressure to end his Senate race and clear the way for Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown to face vulnerable Republican incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine in November.

"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 in a statement.

Brown, so far as I know, is not a bad guy: no Vichy. And DeWine is one of the more vulnerable Republicans in the Senate, and has to go. But Hackett would have been a great candidate against DeWine, and deserved his shot. And until we start reclaiming our party from the machine politicians who think they, not we primary voters and activists, pull the levers of power, we'll never reach our larger goal of seeing Progressive, grassroots-powered Resistance Fighters upsetting comfortable Vichy incumbents. If the Dem Establishment won't let us have our say in the primaries, we'll need to change the Dem Establishment. As I said about the Alito wobblers: lead or follow, but do not get in our way.


Fight Back said...

Thanks for alerting us to this disturbing news. I would like to suggest that we start a campaign to find out who pressed Paul Hackett to drop out of the race and in turn, pressure these people to let whoever wants to run for Congress, let that person run for Congress. As far as I am concerned, it's time to stop listening to these "strategists" and listen to the base of the Democratic Party. This includes the DLC and the DCCC. It's my belief that these people are the ones who are responsible for the Democrats string of losses. There are two good articles in Counterpunch, one is "Only Millionaire Fence Straddlers Need Apply" by Alexander Cockburn and "The Democrats: an Impotent and Tolerated Opposition Party" by Werther. Another good article is by David Sirota "D.C. Strategists Panic as Dems Ignore them and Fight Back". It's time to get rid of these "Vichy Democratic Party Strategists".

Fight Back said...

I have another comment. I just read the NY Times article about Hackett. It's amazing that Reid and Schumer can put pressure on Hackett to drop out of the Ohio Senate race but when it comes to standing up to Bush and the Rethuglicans, they are a bunch of spineless wimps.

Katherine said...

I believe that the issue is being unfairly spun in Hackett's favor. I read somewhere (legit and liberal, I just forget) that Hackett was being asked to join the race by Democratic leaders, but wouldn't commit to it. So, they decided to back Brown instead. Brown has a major, major fundraising advantage (Hackett literally had peanuts) and a strong record of experience.

You can't fault the party for not backing Hackett's "will-I-or-Won't-I" routine. He was asked to run, he hesitated too long.

Kos links to this article on MyDD that mentions that Brown is actually further to the left than Hackett.

Randwolfe said...

I will not pretend to understand the reasons behind the Hackett situation. I do, however, get a strong impression from a variety of sources that Brown may end up being the better candidate in this case. Well, that remains to be seen.

But for Hackett, it is not all gloom and doom. He may be stepping out of the running for a Senate seat, but he is likely to run for a Congressional seat in the other house. I like the guy, and if he would make a good Senator, then he can also be an effective member of the house of representatives. I hope he takes that run. I'm willling to give Brown a chance, and in the meantime, back Hackett in a run for congress.