Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Paul Hackett, American Hero 

Okay, you're right; if he'd won, the title of this post would probably have been different.

But Hackett isn't a hero by virtue of losing an election. He's a hero for running for office. He's a hero for seeing a connection between his experience in Iraq and the value of elective office. He's a hero because he only lost by 4 percentage points, in a district that is somewhere around eighty percent Republican. That is an amazing achievement. As was the money blogs raised for him. That is real power, my friends.

Do not think the Democratic Party has not noticed that organization at the grass roots can produce the money needed to run a modern electoral campaign. And blogs aren't even all that organized. They reach a lot of people with a story about who is deserving and why, and what we 're proving is that when the story is compelling, enough people will contribute $25 to $50 to make a candidate competitive, even against the Republican special interest cash machine.

As it happens Hackett was a great candidate, a veteran, a man who volunteered to go to Iraq even though he had questioned the Bush policy of invasion before it began. None of that protected him from the usual GOP smears, but that's old news for all of us. He showed himself also to be thoughtful, well-informed, tough, unashamedly progressive, and most importantly, able to talk straight to voters.

Representative Schmidt is going to have to run again in 2006, and we should let Paul Hackett know that we'll be there for him if he chooses to run against her again.

Don't take my word for Hackett's loss being a genuine victory; Atrios has a wonderful pre-election quote from Charlie Cook that spells out the nature of that victory.

Daily Kos and My DD have lots more; go and be inspired.

On the other hand, this election did take place in Ohio; need I say more? Probably, I should. But Billmon makes that unnecessary; click here, read and get angry; then read Mark Crispin Miller's article, "None Dare Call It Stolen," in the new Harpers, and when his book on what happened in Ohio in 2004, "Fooled Again," is published, which should be soon, order it through the ever indispensable Buzzflash; I'm guessing it will be added to their list of first-rate premiums.

UPDATE: If you don't want to spring for the single issue of Harper's, though I should add that a subscription is a very reasonable $12 to $14 dollars, and given the quality of critical articles they're running, you should consider becoming a subscriber, here's a pretty good summary of Miller's article.

UPDATE Excerpts from Miller's article are Here.

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