Kos Defends Democratic Stupidity... Again!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Originally published: Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Kos has an interesting take on the Democratic Party's shafting of Senate contender Paul Hackett. In his official capacity as Party apologist, Kos insists that it's really a good thing that Hackett has cleared the field for Sherrod Brown. Hackett, a Marine and Iraq veteran who nearly won an upset victory against Republican congressional shoe-in -- and part-time harbor buoy -- Jean Schmidt, "didn't stand a chance."

Kos explains the logic of these wizards of statecraft:

But the party wasn't afraid of Hackett, they were afraid of an untested candidate in a high-profile Senate race. He'd have all the support in the world had he decided to run for OH-02. And he'd be able to build on that support for a Senate race in 2010.

Untested? He nearly won a congressional race in staunchly Republican district.

I don't think Hackett stood a chance in the primary. I think either candidate would be able to take DeWine. But Hackett had fallen woefully behind on the money and organizational races, and lacked Brown in name ID. It would've been a tough slog.

If Hackett had no chance of winning the primary, why the pressure to drop out? Maybe it's my youthful idealism talking, but I can't get past this crazy notion that elections are supposed to be about "we the people." Why not let voters decide who should stand against against DeWine in November? I just can't get it through my thick skull that money decides politics, not democracy.

Kos also engages in some revisionist history.

To be further clear, Brown announced his candidacy before Hackett did. Yes, Reid and Schumer were urging Hackett to run, but he wouldn't commit to running . Labor Day, the traditional announcement day for most candidates, came and went with Hackett refusing to say what his plans were. So after waiting and waiting and waiting, Brown essentially said "fuck it" and got in. It was only after news of Brown's impending announcement were leaked that Hackett decided to commit to the race.

Not so says Mother Jones.

Hackett met several times with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Chuck Schumer, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), both of whom encouraged him to run for the seat of Ohio's senior senator, Republican Mike DeWine, in '06. Hackett said he would—after been told by Ohio Congressman Sherrod Brown that he wasn't planning to run—and on October 3 he publicly threw his hat in the ring.

Then, last week, his phone rang again. It was Sherrod Brown calling to tell Hackett he'd changed his mind: he was running after all. Then Schumer called, and this time he wasn't delivering a pep talk. Hackett got the distinct sense that he was being asked to make way for the party insider. "Schumer didn't tell me anything definitive," he says. "But I'm not a dumb ass, and I know what he wanted me to do."

It was Brown, not Hackett who hid behind the typical politician's excuse as he waffled about running.

Brown maintains that he was simply wrestling with whether to run because of family considerations. "If your readers or others can't understand that, then so be it, but my family comes first," the congressman says.

It looks like Hackett -- who says he's not just pulling out of the race, but out of politics -- has had his fill of backroom shenanigans and cut-throat party machinations. The Democratic Party has a penchant for driving off the refreshingly honest. They also have a penchant for losing elections.