Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Final Thoughts on Paul Hackett

Tonight we learn the results of the 2nd Congressional District. Tomorrow, the results will be debated.

I'm not going on a limb to say that Paul Hackett will not win tonight, but he has secured himself as a regional player and given some hidden hints on how to make strides in traditionally Republican areas. Generall, I loathe to use anything in the conservative Cincinnati Enquirer as a source, but they might have been onto something in their editorial endorsing Jean Schmidt.

If there was any weakness to the Paul Hackett campaign, it was that he seemed larger than the district. His platform was largely a national platform on Iraq and provided a necessary dialogue to that issue. The drawback was that most Ohioans look for their Congressional representatives to be district workers. Apparently, Schmidt sold herself to the Cincinnati Enquirer as not just sharing Congressman Portman's partisan philosophy, but also his representative philosophy about using the position to aid the district. This model is hardly novel, and is very bipartisan. Indeed, as Ted Strickland can attest, a Democrat can do well in a Republican district by paying attention to the district needs of your constituents that the federal government can address.

One district's pork project, is another district's strong representation in Congress. Indeed, the biggest problem Congressman John Boehner has had, if any, is that some in his district resent that he has not used his political influence to better aid the district. Other Ohio Congressional representatives are able to keep their districts happy with services while not living in their districts.

The fact that Paul Hackett forced the national GOP to pay attention and pay money in the race is an amazing achievement. For national Dem bloggers to characterize Hackett as a blog-born candidate that forced a hesitate DCCC to support him is yet again another example of liberals who rather fight other members of the party rather than Republicans. While Hackett definately benefitted from the national bloggers, to say they are forced the DCCC to do anything is ego run amok.

Instead, some of those very bloggers should go back and read some of the local blogs back during the primary. If they did, they'd find local blogging activists criticizing the party leadership and DCCC for pushing Hackett as the anointed candidate.

Ironic, ain't it? For once, it seemed both the top and grassroots level of the party focused making a contest out of the race. But Jean Schmidt is a candidate runnning in a district where just having the word "Republican" gets you a win. To add that she has been a high-level activist of the right-to-life community in this district and a former elected official makes her almost impossible to beat by anyone.

Regardless of the result, I congratulate Paul Hackett and his supporters for a hard-fought campaign. They stood against the odds and made a race out of a non-race. In a perfect world, he would be in Congress tomorrow. But then again, in a perfect world, Bush would have lost in 2000.

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