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February 20, 2006

What we don't need

By Battlepanda

According to Kos, " Former Hackett staffers are now releasing oppo research against Brown for Republicans to use against him and other Ohio Democrats."

It's fairly small-potatoes stuff...nothing that can't be gleaned by going through Sherrod Brown's voting records, and obviously nothing the Republicans can't find for themselves. But the fact that this parting shot came from our own side has gotta hurt.

What Hackett needs to do now is to publically disavow this tactic pronto, and, for good measure, put in a proper solid endorsement for Sherrod Brown.

February 20, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

What mechanisms do the Republican Party have for preventing this from happening? Because it doesn't. There were bitter contested primaries in Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Florida and there wasn't any post-mortem leaking of anything.

Clearly something about the culture prohibits speaking out after the campaign. But what?

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Feb 20, 2006 7:01:20 PM

Is this a joke? Hackett's supporters leaked an objective assessment of Brown's voting record and it is supposed to be an underhanded action? As if Republicans wouldn't have noticed.

That is as stupid as Al Gonzales claiming that Al Qaeda doesn't remember that we spy on them unless the NYT periodically reminds them.

Posted by: space | Feb 20, 2006 7:41:50 PM

Space, is that a joke? The Hackett campaign is over. Their candidate dropped out. Why are they leaking anything on their FORMER opponent at all?

When the bell rings, you stop throwing punches. Period.

Posted by: theorajones | Feb 20, 2006 8:17:26 PM

"When the bell rings, you stop throwing punches. Period."

Hackett & his crew are not pretty, but neither is the dead canary that keeps you out of the coalmine. The party establishment is irremediably corrupt, and deserves no loyalty.

You are not going to, for instance, get choice back by supporting Reid and Clinton. Take em down.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Feb 20, 2006 8:38:49 PM

For crying out loud, space and bob, enough with the circular firing squad already. The real opponent is across the aisle.

Space, I specifically said in my post that the damage is coming not from the facts that are released, but from their source. This is a self-inflicted wound and reflects very badly on the lack of unity in our party.

Posted by: Battlepanda | Feb 20, 2006 9:03:29 PM

Sounds like a sore loser to me.

Posted by: DAV | Feb 20, 2006 10:37:00 PM

Battlepanda:

Frankly, I don't consider this "damage" in any real sense. It is mildly embarassing to Brown, but no more.

As for the "lack of unity" in the party, I consider the reaction of Hackett and his supporters to be symptoms of the problem, not the cause. If you want "unity", try to avoid fucking party members in the rear at the drop of a hat.

While I would not encourage Hackett's supporters to take pot-shots at Brown's campaign, I am not surprised that they are doing so.

DAV:

To quote Vince Lombardi, show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser. That Hackett's team takes losing poorly tells me that they are fighters. That Brown's team is crying like a bunch of babies because Hackett hasn't thrown his support behind Brown tells me that they are pretty soft.

Best of luck in the general election. I am not impressed.

Posted by: space | Feb 20, 2006 10:54:47 PM

The Hackett campaign is over. Their candidate dropped out. Why are they leaking anything on their FORMER opponent at all?

Yes, the campaign is over because WE FUCKED YOU OUT OF IT! Yes, Boss Reid and Boss Schumer already decided the primary and who will represent the party and it wasn't you! However, we can still be friends, can't we? We just don't understand why *anyone* would be upset!

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 20, 2006 10:55:06 PM

The GOP has spent a lot of time and money developing idealogues to fill all sorts of positions. When they are looking for political consultants, they can afford to pick only from hardcore GOPers. While there certainly is a coalition of many groups in the GOP which can, at times, be quite strained, everything from talk radio to bobbleheads on cable to internships at think tanks emphasizes that the Democrats are the enemy. All Democrats, whether pro or anti-choice, pro or anti-gay marriage, whether they supported the bankruptcy bill, the invasion of Iraq or not, they are the enemy. This creates an atmosphere of serious party loyalty. Plus, GOP consultants know they'll land a good paying job somewhere, because the GOP is good about taking care of their hired guns.

With Democrats, none of this is true. We don't have the infrastructure. We don't actively seek to create a culture of animosity, fear or ignorance. Each constituency feels very free to look only for their own interests, and to cross the aisle when it suits them, a la NARAL endorsing Chafee. Then there is the fact that paid consultant jobs in Democratic campaigns are not as plentiful as with the GOP - mostly due to Shrum and his ilk fixing the system as much as possible to keep all the contracts and money to themselves.

The idea that what Reid & co. may or may not have done being atrocious is laughable. If anything, it is much more ruthless in the GOP - and yes, I do have personal knowledge of how GOP congressional campaigns are run, thank you for asking. You want to run for office, fine. But the pary - any party - doesn't owe you squat. And if they think you're not right for the job, they sure as hell will pressure your donors, your staff, your volunteers and your mom to quit supporting you. Deal with it. Both sides do it. What the Dems need is to improve the infrastructure so that "consultants" like those mentioned here are never hired in the first place, and when decent consultants are suddenly without a job, they know there will be a place for them somewhere. Unless they suck, like Shrum.

Posted by: Stephen | Feb 20, 2006 11:18:56 PM

Space,
I am hoping that you are right and that there is no lasting damage, of course. But it is hard to interpret this gesture, whether or not it is intended to cause serious damage, as anything other than petty, selfish, vindictiveness. I really don't understand why you are defending behavior that is weakening our side with no upsides. There is an argument to be made that Hackett was the better candidate and that Reid and Schumer made the wrong call. Fine. But at least they did what they thought would give us the best chance of winning a senate seat from the Republicans. They did not pull the rug from under Hackett out of spite. Dumping on Sherrod Brown after the contest is already over, on the other hand, could hardly be motivated by anything but spite.

In case you haven't noticed, there is a lot on the line here. Progressive causes are getting reamed up the ass and terrible things are happening to our country. In the final analysis, this is because we don't have enough guys and gals in office. I'm not saying that progressives shouldn't lean on the Democratic establishment, but we should do so in a way that is disciplined and manages not to bifurcate and weaken our movement. For instance, when it comes to safe seats, I am all for making the primary as much of a food-fight as possible and giving the incumbent a run for their money, or even better, unseating DINOs like Lieberman. Ohio is not only not a safe seat, it is a seat that is currently occupied by a Republican. We need our A-game and then some to gain a precious seat, and that means no infights to sap our energy before facing our real opponents.

To go back to Nick's question in the first comment:

What mechanisms do the Republican Party have for preventing this from happening? Because it doesn't. There were bitter contested primaries in Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Florida and there wasn't any post-mortem leaking of anything.

It goes back to one word -- discipline. The other side knows that American politics is essentially a zero-sum game with the weakness of one side automatically translating to the political advantage of its ideological opposites. The crass, obvious example is the 2000 elections, with the far-left Nader functioning as spoiler resulting in a Bush victory. The Republicans have learned to harness all the factions right-of-center into a cohesive mass, to fall into line when it matters. If we do not learn how to do the same we'd better get used to being in the minority on a permanent basis.

Posted by: Battlepanda | Feb 20, 2006 11:50:12 PM

Hackett's just another example of how the Democratic party can organize -- into a circular firing squad. I wish folks like Hackett could be forces for good in the party, but for crying out loud. If you're not in Ohio, you don't see it. The Republican party has control of all three branches of statewide government here in lovely Ohio, and the result has not been pretty. Corruption is endemic (google Tom Noe) and our governor's popularity is now somewhere around that of a case of head lice. Our Senators, however, though they are Republicans, are not the same unwashed total nutjobs that we have in statewide office. In fact, compared to some peoples' Republicans, our Republican senators are pretty sane. One (Voinovich) is even a decent neighbor, which I can say since he lives on my street. Put in more simple terms, our Republican senators are not great targets for the kind of campaign Hackett is likely to have run. To take out DeWine is going to take something other than what Hackett is serving up. And the last thing the Dems in Ohio need is a spoiler.

Posted by: nolo | Feb 21, 2006 12:48:02 AM

Nolo,

Thanks for the local perspective (really!). My understanding is that Hackett was initially encouraged to run because there were no other high-profile Dems in the race. When Brown threw his hat in, that changed things significantly. Hackett was then encouraged to run for a seat in the House, right? Not a bad way to start, really. It's fine that he didn't want to settle. It's not fine that he pretty much threw a tantrum about it. It's really not fine that his consultants acted like spiteful preschoolers instead of professionals.

The whole Hackett thing is another example of the ways in which the various constituencies value doctrinal purity above all else. Call me a "sensible Democrat" or whatever, but party loyalty matters a whole helluva lot more than doctrinal purity. Give me 60 anti-choice Democrats and Harry Reid, and I guarantee that any bill restricting the right to a woman's right to choose will never get out of committee. Have we learned nothing from the disaster that Lieberman has become? With us when it doesn't matter, against us when it does. We're so enamored with the romantic notions of going down in flames on the Senate floor that we forget the real fights happen in committees. All that matters is who controls the agenda. Same thing for the House.

I'm in Kansas. If the Dems manage to put up some anti-choice, anti-gay marriage, Creationist Neanderthal, I'm voting for him, because that's a vote for Harry Reid. And that is all that matters.

And BTW, by holding this position I'm going to do more to make sure that I stay true to my progressive principles - and accomplish more toward having them be the law of the land - than voting for a "pro-choice" Republican or trying to sabotage the Dem's candidate because he/she supposedly doesn't line up with my views.

Posted by: Stephen | Feb 21, 2006 1:13:35 AM

There were bitter contested primaries in Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Florida and there wasn't any post-mortem leaking of anything.

I'd say a rather key difference is that they actually had a primary. You know, with people voting between candidates and stuff.

Posted by: gswift | Feb 21, 2006 6:05:34 AM

The Republicans have learned to harness all the factions right-of-center into a cohesive mass, to fall into line when it matters.

Seems to me that four term Senator Arlen Specter had to fight a primary with Toomey, and damn near lost.

It's just a primary people. Get a grip. If Brown's campaign isn't capable of handling a godamn primary, he's going to have a hell of a time taking an incumbents seat.

Posted by: gswift | Feb 21, 2006 6:12:38 AM

You want to run for office, fine. But the pary - any party - doesn't owe you squat.

True enough. But loyalty is a two way street. You pick a fight, you'd best be ready to get hit.

This could have been avoided by, um, HAVING A FUCKING PRIMARY. We'd have candidates. People would vote on them. Some balloons might be nice. It would be awesome.

Sounds crazy, but it just might work.

Posted by: gswift | Feb 21, 2006 6:24:54 AM

This could have been avoided by, um, HAVING A FUCKING PRIMARY. We'd have candidates. People would vote on them. Some balloons might be nice. It would be awesome.

All of the apologizing above doesn't discount this poster's laser beam reasoning. That's what primaries are for. Great comment gswift!

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 21, 2006 8:29:24 AM

Matt Stoller on Buetler ...MyDD

The ten rules of politics, as viewed in the beltway. I could have linked to Newberry. I can't believe I am so nice before my first cup of coffee.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Feb 21, 2006 9:09:26 AM

What mechanisms do the Republican Party have for preventing this from happening? Because it doesn't. There were bitter contested primaries in Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Florida and there wasn't any post-mortem leaking of anything.

Clearly something about the culture prohibits speaking out after the campaign. But what?

Omerta.

Posted by: Michael | Feb 21, 2006 9:11:16 AM

gswift,
Comparing Hackett/Brown to Spector/Toomey...are you nuts? Sherrod Brown's progressive credentials are proven. If anything, I think Hackett planned to run to the right of him (although not by much). Spector/Toomey, on the other hand, are just about as different as you can be and still be in the Republican camp. Their ideological differences, especially on the key issue of abortion, gave Toomey a lot of support from the far right and enabled him to give Spector a run for his money despite the fact that the RNC did not back his candidacy. Would the Republican party higher-ups step in to stop a bruising primary between two similar candidates like Reid did? Of course. That's a no-brainer. They know what a lot of us seem to have forgotten -- in politics, winning comes first. Ideological battles within one's side can take place only if they do not hand the electoral advantage straight to the other side.

I am all for vigorous, no-holds-barred primaries...in districts where we have safe seats. Want to support a radical candidate against the establishment? Give to Ned Lamont, who is challenging Lieberman. I did. Give to Ciro Rodriguez, who is standing up to another DINO, Cuellar. I did.

As for this:
It's just a primary people. Get a grip. If Brown's campaign isn't capable of handling a godamn primary, he's going to have a hell of a time taking an incumbents seat.

In case you haven't noticed, it is already 2006. The midterm elections are going to be upon us before you know it. If it is going to be a close one, then every day and every play matters. You don't think a couple of Democrats going at each other's throats at this point is going to weaken either's chance of getting elected? You gotta be kidding me.

And OK. I concede that reasonable people can disagree about whether Brown or Hackett was the better candidate. I can even see how one would think that it was wrong for Reid and Schumer to interfere. However, I just can't see how anyone can support a Hackett staffer/consultant/whatever dumping on a candidate on his own side after his own guy already withdrew. I can't fathom Hackett going on Hardball muttering dark accusations about the Brown campaign when everything is still on the line his own cause come November and it cannot make any difference to his own political star except to tarnish it.

And michael,
Yes. The Republicans have "omerta". We clearly don't. We can yammer til the cows come home about whether absolute loyalty in politics is a necessary evil or just absolutely bad, but one thing is clear -- when you have one party with it and one party without it, the party with it obviously have a huge advantage.

Posted by: battlepanda | Feb 21, 2006 10:17:57 AM

I really don't understand why you are defending behavior that is weakening our side with no upsides.

The upside is that the DCCC and the DSCC take a hint and do their boning, if any, in a timely fashion, or, you know, keep their daggers out of the backs of DCCs and DSCs.

Posted by: TJ | Feb 21, 2006 11:43:34 AM

"Would the Republican party higher-ups step in to stop a bruising primary between two similar candidates like Reid did?"

WOW! That is how you guys rationalize Schumer and Ried gang-buttfucking Hackett?

I don't think the GOP would accuse one of it's own of war crimes and arocities and spread the word to that candidate's fund raisers.

I don't think the GOP would be stupid enough to do it to a vet who had gained national recognition because of his congressional run a year and a half before. I think the GOP would have just let it play out.

There are two viable candidates in a election primary, and you actually endorse party bosses besmirching the name of an Iraqi war vet who did nothing unscrupulous except not getting out of the election when ordered to(very un-soldier like)? Only to force him out of that election, after these same party bosses promised financial support to the vet?

And you guys want to claim Democrats are for the "little guy"? When Schumer and Reid have demonstrated they can and will step on and squash any "little guy" who does not do exactly as they want?

The compassionate, justice striving ideals of the Democraic party of the 1970s has morphed into a nasty entity who's only goal is to regain power at any cost.

I sure hope Hackett goes on TV and does the same to the Dems that they did to him.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Feb 21, 2006 11:59:48 AM

"I sure hope Hackett goes on TV and does the same to the Dems that they did to him."--see, here's the problem. Hackett is supposed to be a "Dem" himself. That implies some responsibility to the party as a whole, and not indulging yourself with endless sour grapes in front of a press corps that lives to see Democrats in turmoil.

That goes for his supporters too. Those whose involvement with politics started with their first Howard Dean button might not realize this yet, but your guy isn't always going to win even at the nomination stage.

There's nothing at all wrong with Sherrod Brown as a candidate except that the "netroots" diehards can't pretend they discovered him. The Hackett cult would rather lose and play "told ya so" for 6 years than win.

Posted by: Charlie T. | Feb 21, 2006 12:47:28 PM

"There's nothing at all wrong with Sherrod Brown as a candidate except"

His voting record is worse than Kerry's on national security. Brown may glide through the primaries, but he is going to get spanked in the general election. Hackett had a chance in the general election.

"--see, here's the problem. Hackett is supposed to be a "Dem" himself. That implies some responsibility to the party as a whole, and not indulging yourself with endless sour grapes in front of a press corps that lives to see Democrats in turmoil."

So no matter what the Democratic party bosses do, Hackett should just wipe the cum off his back, pull up his pants, be a good Democrat and smile? It may be an everyday thing for you Charlie, but I don't think Hackett is used to that kind of treatment.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Feb 21, 2006 1:07:41 PM

Hackett doesn't owe the Democratic party anything. This is always a danger when you select a candidate who hasn't worked his way up through the ranks. The same plain speaking independence that appeals to the voters makes him less likely to keep quiet if he feels ill treated by the party.

Posted by: James B. Shearer | Feb 21, 2006 3:44:14 PM

If it is going to be a close one, then every day and every play matters. You don't think a couple of Democrats going at each other's throats at this point is going to weaken either's chance of getting elected? You gotta be kidding me.

It's bandied about all the time how damaging a primary can be. But is there any evidence for this? Are people actually thinking, "I was going to vote for the Democrat until I saw that nasty primary, but now I'm going Republican." Really? This is why we're having trouble taking seats in states like Ohio? We're being done in by having a primary?

Posted by: gswift | Feb 21, 2006 7:37:31 PM

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