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10/23/2005

Thank you, thank you, thank you; a million times thank you

Mike the Mad Biologist is one of the few liberal bloggers talking sense about Paul Hackett:
Can anyone tell me why the Democratic blogosphere is going bananas over Hackett's entry into the Ohio Senate race? I like the guy: anyone who calls Bush a chickenhawk can't be all bad. But can we stop kidding ourselves? Hackett isn't a 'progressive': he's a conservative Democrat. For much of the Democratic blogosphere, Sherrod Brown is much better on the issues. I know some are fussed at Brown's decision not to run, and then changing his mind.

Is it a 'waffle'? Perhaps, but who cares? Political campaigns are grueling, and I wouldn't subject myself to one to won unless I thought the odds were pretty reasonable (and so would most people). On the other hand, Hackett has waffled on something a lot more important: the Iraq War.

What's even more daffy is that after part of the lefty blogosphere was ready to go to war against the conservative Democrats, they are now falling all over themselves in supporting one. I thought the idea was to teach conservative Dems a lesson, not support them.
I am profoundly disappointed in those liberal bloggers who have gone all ga-ga over Hackett to the point of unreason; Steve Gilliard and Lindsay Beyerstein have been especially nauseating. Too many liberal bloggers seem to be exclusively interested in raw partisanship, without any particular concern for the actual issues that make partisan politics important. They seem to look at politics the way a head coach looks at a football game - there is one goal, and one goal only, to win, and as long as the game is won, nothing else matters.

This would be bad enough, if they were decent strategists, and had half a clue about what makes for political success. But instead they are hopelessly naive and crude in their thinking. Here is a fact: liberal bloggers love Paul Hackett because he's a Democrat who fought in the Iraq war. Period. That's the beginning and the end of the story. They've internalized the "weak on national security" meme, and they are captivated by the prospect of a Democrat who seems to defy this stereotype - a Democrat who has not just voted for Bush's war, but actually killed Iraqis himself! There's no way the Republicans will be able to paint this guy as a wimp, they think.

This is barely a year out from the brutally effective smearing of decorated war hero John Kerry, who also made Democrats salivate because he had actually killed people himself, instead of merely sending others to kill like most Democratic politicians. Guess what, folks: being a veteran doesn't mean shit in the eyes of voters - and rightly so. The fact that Hackett fought in Iraq gives him no special moral authority, especially since he seems incapable of settling on a position regarding the war.

Of course, part of the infatuation with Hackett has to do with the fact that he is seen as especially blogger-friendly. I imagine he is, considering that bloggers were a big part of his "success" in his congressional race (if you can call losing a success). But what these liberal bloggers don't realize is that Hackett played them for chumps, bad-mouthing Bush to them and giving the impression that his campaign was taking on Bush in a major way, while at the same time practically embracing Bush in front of the Ohio electorate.

Along the way, the name "Paul Hackett" acquired a mythical character, and liberal bloggers began making fools of themselves believing in the legend of the Bush-bashing war-hero savior of progressives everywhere.

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