08/08/2005: Some folks just don't get it.
We get comments, occasionally.
We got this one on a recent post on the special election in Ohio's Second Congressional District. By way of jogging your memory, that's the one where a Marine Corps Reserve Major/Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, running as a Democrat, lost a special election to a congressional seat by a mere 4 percentage points, in a district which, in past elections, generally elects the Republican candidate by a margin of something like 40 or more percentage points.
Quoth our commentor:
"Paul Hackett didn't apologize for being a Democrat..." [Note: That statement is a quote from my original post. --LRC]Well.... addressing the main issue here....
He ran campaign ads claiming to support President Bush and the war in Iraq* [the asterisk refers to a footnoted link to the ad in question --LRC] and others attacking the Republican encumbant [sic] as a tax hiker. In other words, pretending to be a Republican. In none of his ads did he even identify himself as a Democrat, and even though his opponent was weakened by scandals, he still lost. Is this what the Democrats are left with, celebrating narrow losses?
He ran campaign ads claiming to support President Bush and the war in Iraq... In other words, pretending to be a Republican.
Unfortunately (from my perspective, since I'd rather see a Real Two Party System vice the One Functional Party In Two Separate Wings [a pro-abortion wing, and an anti-abortion wing] System that the GOP and DLC (aka, "Repugnican Lite") prefer), as Lieutenant General Odom's analysis makes clear, there was only one Democratic candidate who, during the primary season, ran as a distinctly anti-war candidate (Howard Dean), and the party trashed him for that, even though it made the standard bearer's campaign position extremely untenable (Sen. Kerry: "The war was a bad idea, but I can still win it!"). Not to mention, the candidate in question is himself a veteran of that war; I don't expect him to run against the conventional wisdom that we can't cut and run, on the "Pottery Barn theory" ("we broke it, we own it").
However, do you remember why the Republican National Committee dumped money into the race, and said that they would "bury" Hackett? Remember that he was quoted as saying this:
I've said that I don't like the son of a bitch that lives in the White House, but I'd put my life on the line for him.And when outraged Republicans demanded an apology, here's the response they got from Hackett:
I said it. I meant it. I stand by it.As Joe Conason pointed out in his Salon column last week, "Somehow it didn't seem to hurt him much."
But more to this point: calling the President "a son of a bitch" sure doesn't sound like running as a Republican to me (I here make a solemn vow that I will contribute money to, and vote for, any Republican candidate I can who has the balls to call President Bush "a son of a bitch" publicly; I'm sure that there are many who say it privately, but that doesn't count). I call President Dumbya a son of a bitch (and much worse) all the time. But I don't pretend to be a Republican (I don't pretend to be a Democrat, either, but that's not important in this context).
Is this what the Democrats are left with, celebrating narrow losses?
Well, call me stupid but.... If I were entered in some individual sport (e.g., the 100 yard dash) against a competitor who was given odds to beat me handily, I'd sure as hell celebrate a narrow loss, because given the odds against me, a narrow loss (vice the huge margin of failure predicted) is much better than I'd ever dreamed possible. But then again, I'm secure in my masculinity, so I've never fallen for that "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" and "Second place is only the first loser" mentality that is the bane of sports in the United States lately.
In other words, what part of "a moral victory" don't you understand?
And, what should be more worrying to Republicans, according to most analysts of the Ohio Second District race that I've read, if this election had been in any other district but OH-2, Hackett would be on his way to Congress. In what is supposedly a solid "red state".
I'll requote Steve Gilliard's excellent analysis:
Understand this: yesterday, thousands of Bush-supporting, longtime Republicans went into the booth and voted for a Democrat who attacked the President. A pro-choice moderate against the head of the local pro-life outfit.and then, to rub it in, I'll add some observations by Slate's "Has Been", longtime Democratic (specifically, DLC wing) functionary Bruce Reed:
These are people who haven't voted Democratic since 1980. [emphasis added --LRC]
Extra Special: Even Newt Gingrich agrees that Paul Hackett's strong showing in Ohio's 2nd District special election is a shot across the bow to the Republican Congressional leadership and the White House. Republicans defied the odds by gaining seats in the 2002 midterm election, but in 2006, they may discover that in the absence of national progress, you can't keep making political progress forever.Interestingly enough, the commenter in question has chosen "the Kool-Aid man" as his Haloscan gravitar.
Ironically, the best news for Democrats in the race is the excuse Republicans give for its photo finish: that it was just about Ohio. Republicans were quick to blame low GOP turnout on the unpopularity of the state's Republican governor, Bob Taft. So much the better: The Ohio's governor race is the most important contest in America in 2006.
Over the past decade, one of Democrats' biggest trouble spots has been the inability to win statewide in Ohio. Republican senators have replaced the old Democratic lions, John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum. The governorship has been in Republican hands for the last 15 years.
As 2004 demonstrated, Ohio is the pivotal swing state in presidential elections. Clinton carried it narrowly in 1992 and 1996; Bush did the same in 2000 and 2004. Ohio has always been important—birthplace to more presidents than any state except Virginia. But for Democrats, who have lost every southern state twice in a row, Ohio's 20 electoral votes are now especially crucial.
Len on 08.08.05 @ 09:29 AM CST