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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

 
My New Buddy

I have left it to others to do the heavy lifting on Paul Hackett's netroots campaign and I have regrets because I really would like to see him win after reading this endorsement from the conservative Cincinnati Post:

Schmidt served as a township trustee for 10 years before winning election in 2000 to the Ohio House of Representatives. There she served for four years before giving up the seat to run for the Ohio Senate - a race she lost, in a recount, by just 22 votes.

Schmidt has also held a variety of civic and political posts, and serves on the governing boards of such entities as the Clermont County Library, Clermont Mercy Hospital Foundation, the Live Oaks/Great Oaks Business Industry Partnership Council and Greater Cincinnati Right to Life.

Hackett's public service revolves around the Marine Corps. In 1982 he enlisted in a reserve officers program while he was a student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He completed law school at Cleveland State before starting full-time active duty in 1989. He continued in the active reserves after returning in 1992 to Cincinnati, where he practiced law in a small firm before launching a solo practice in 1994. Hackett served on Milford City Council from 1995-98; he stepped down after purchasing what he describes as the oldest house in Indian Hill - a recently-renovated, 200-year-old stone structure on the banks of the Little Miami River.

Last year Hackett re-enlisted in the Marine active reserves; he went in with the rank of major and served in Iraq with a governance support team, where part of his job involved organizing convoys to bring money and supplies from Baghdad to Iraqis serving in the regional government.

In terms of their ideology and their approach to issues, Schmidt and Hackett present sharp differences.

Schmidt, from what we can discern, would likely be a dependable vote for the Bush administration, particularly its foreign policy and Iraq. In this campaign she has allied herself with the president, as she did earlier to Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and before that to former House Speaker Larry Householder. Her approach to policy issues is incremental, except perhaps concerning taxes. She seems generally to favor supply side economics, and wants to make President Bush's personal income taxes permanent and get rid of the estate, capital gains and alternative minimum taxes entirely. She supports incentives to encourage small businesses to offer health insurance, greater reliance on ethanol as a fuel source and a prohibition against Congress' use of Social Security funds for general government operations.

Hackett, in our view, is a gust of fresh air. If we had to put a label on him, it would be Libertarian Democrat. He says what he thinks and doesn't seem to have much use for the orthodoxy, or the partisanship, of either party. He doesn't want the government telling him what kinds of guns he can own, nor does he want it interfering in family or medical decisions or taking away civil liberties in the name of fighting terror. He regards Social Security more as an insurance program than a retirement savings plan, but wants to put it on a sound footing and would raise the earnings ceiling if necessary to do so.

If elected, he notes, he would be the only member of Congress with direct military experience in Iraq - which, he says, is a fight we should end as soon as possible. He wants to finish the job and get out, and he wants the United States to stop holding hands with Pakistan and to get serious about tracking down those responsible for the 9-11 attacks.

We like Hackett's candor. We're impressed with the freshness of his ideas. We believe his experience shows him to be someone who is action-oriented.

We endorse Hackett for the 2nd District seat.


It just doesn't get any better than that for a Democrat in a Republican district. I don't know if he'll win -- special elections are tough --- but he certainly seems like the kind of candidate that we should be trying to field in these conservative districts if we want to ever take back the congress.

And, by the way, I think he's even patriotic enough for the DLC, don't you? Of course, he doesn't endorse free trade and he doesn't seem inclined to jettison all of our civil liberties one at a time in order to appease religious zealots and panicked neocons, so I'm not sure he's quite malleable enough.

I understand the Republicans have found his achilles heel though, as they always do. Seems he is a bit of an effeminate pansy. As a US Marine he was only involved in transporting goods and cash through a war zone instead of furiously pounding out the words "Smoke 'Em Out!" on his little keyboard while whistling the Colonel Bogie March as true patriots do. Well, nobody's perfect. Perhaps the voters will overlook his cowardice.

Here's the page to donate if you're of a mind. Even if you don't, read about this guy and see if you can live with this mix of issues. I'm inclined to think that with a fat dose of fiery economic populism, this could really work for us on a larger scale. The fact that the Cincinnati Post sees this guy's views a "fresh" should give us pause. We desperately need some fresh.

My readers know that I'm a big civil libertarian so I'm attracted to candidates who emphasize those issues. But I think I'm a little bit anomalous among the leftie netroots crowd on that and I'm thrilled to see that we are backing this guy so fervently. It makes me think that we will be able to transcend some of our differences when the time comes and coalesce around candidates who advance our agenda but who might have a mix of priorities that don't fit perfectly with our own.

Just one last note: Hackett apparently got off the plane from Iraq and was so disgusted by the Terri Schiavo circus that he decided to run for congress. You've just gotta love a Democrat like that.


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