I’ve posted before about how I thought Paul Hackett of Ohio just might be “the guy” we need to reinvigorate the Democratic party. His outspokenness against the Bush administration and the Iraq war was a breath of fresh air among the stagnant, don’t-want-to-rock-the-boat, pandering-to-the-base antics of both parties. He’s a straight shooter. He doesn’t mince words.
Unfortunately, Hackett pulled out of the Ohio Senate race yesterday and may be leaving politics altogether. From the NY Times:
Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.While it’s important that we regain control of Congress, I don’t know if it’s necessarily the right thing to do at the risk of losing someone like Hackett in the political arena altogether. And calling Hackett's donors behind his back? That's just straight-up shady.
‘This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me,” said Mr. Hackett, whose announcement comes two days before the state's filing deadline for candidates. He said he was outraged to learn that party leaders were calling his donors and asking them to stop giving and said he would not enter the Second District Congressional race.
“For me, this is a second betrayal,” Mr. Hackett said. “First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me.”
Mr. Hackett was the first Iraq war veteran to seek national office, and the decision to steer him away from the Senate race has surprised those who see him as a symbol for Democrats who oppose the war but want to appear strong on national security.
“Alienating Hackett is not just a bad idea for the party, but it also sends a chill through the rest of the 56 or so veterans that we've worked to run for Congress,” said Mike Lyon, executive director for the Band of Brothers, a group dedicated to electing Democratic veterans to national office. “Now is a time for Democrats to be courting, not blocking, veterans who want to run.”
But Democratic leaders say Representative Brown, a seven-term incumbent from Avon, has a far better chance of toppling Senator DeWine.
“It boils down to who we think can pull the most votes in November against DeWine,” said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “And in Ohio, Brown's name is golden. It's just that simple.”
Schumer and Reid better know what they’re doing, seriously. If we lose Ohio ... I don't even want to think about it.