The Wall Street Journal's editorial page is one of the most intellectually depraved publications in the world. However, I can't help but agreeing with their take on the Hackett race:
...the more we hear about it, the more we think the Democrats are deluding themselves into believing, as the DCCC press release puts it, that the race is "an early sign of wide spread discontent with the Republican Congress around the country."A lot of Democrats seem to be stricken with a bizarre disease whereby they are constantly convinced that victory is just around the corner. Many Democrats last year were utterly convinced that not only a Kerry victory but a Kerry landslide was in the cards. Ruy Teixeira, he of "The Emerging Democratic Majority," probably has the worst case. Even marginally positive developments are seen as evidence of an impending sea change in the political landscape.
For one thing, it seems as though there are actually two Paul Hacketts. One is the Angry Left Bush hater, quoted this morning by the Media Research Center's Tim Graham on National Review Online:And to the chicken-hawks out there that think that what I say about this administration is not representative to some large degree in the military, I say that this was only a shot over the bow. You had better wake up and smell the coffee, because we are minting young Democrats day by day in Iraq, and maybe it didn't happen in this election, but it's going to happen in many elections in the future.The other is the one who appeared in this advertisement (link in WMV form), which opens with a clip of President Bush before switching to Hackett:Bush: There is no higher calling than service in our armed forces.The ad does not mention that Hackett is a Democrat, and it leaves the viewer with the impression that he supports Bush and the war. At the same time, Republicans in Ohio have problems that are specific to the state ... Another Hackett TV ad, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, accused Schmidt of having "willingly supported tax increases proposed by [Republican Gov. Bob] Taft."
Hackett: I agreed with that, and that's what led me to serve and fight with my Marines in Iraq. Those words are a part of me.
These young men and women--they get it. We're gonna help these people [Iraqis]. We're all over there because we think America is worth fighting for.
You take responsibility for your actions. I think Washington, D.C., needs more of that type of leadership. I'm Paul Hackett, I approved this message, and I respectfully ask for your vote on Aug. 2.
Hackett, in other words, came close to winning by pretending to be a supporter of President Bush and the war while attacking Schmidt as a tax hiker. Good for him, but as reader Larry Smiley asks, "If a Democrat has to hide what he believes to achieve near-success, how can this be a bellwether for Democratic causes nationwide?"
Such wishful thinking does us no good; it only causes us to paint a much rosier picture than the facts dictate. We are supposed to be the "reality-based community," after all - and reality is not always the bearer of good tidings.