Hackett makes a couple of dumb remarks
First, as Battlepanda observes, he tries a bit too hard to be a macho man:
"Break into my house, we won’t have to worry about the application of the death penalty. It’s going to be a simple 911 call: Come pick up the body."Lindsay Beyerstein objects to the idea that you can kill someone just for burglarizing you, which, yeah, but my problem with it is more along the lines of the Panda's:
What raises my hackles is the faux-macho swagger he's playing up by making that statement. It so obviously smacks of politcal branding -- Look! Look! I'm a Democrat, but I'm such a tough guy!.[Cue picture of Kerry in a hunting outfit.]
Well, if this is the way he's gonna go, lets hope it works out better for him than the last guy who tried this.
So OK, dumb and awkward, but obviously not in any way fatal. Much more problematic is this:
"The Republican Party has been hijacked by the religious fanatics that, in my opinion, aren’t a whole lot different than Osama bin Laden and a lot of the other religious nuts around the world."Asked if he should apologize, Hackett responded:
"I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it."Hackett is drawing praise from the liberal blogosphere for his comments, and especially for refusing to back down. I remain agnostic on whether or not he should have apologized after the fact - sometimes it's best to stick to your guns even when you were wrong, though sometimes it's best to diffuse things with a quick apology - but it was an incredibly dumb thing to have said in the first place. The very rationale for Hackett's candidacy is his theorized crossover appeal to culturally conservative voters, and now he's just drawn an equivalence between conservative Christians and Osama bin Laden! Do you realize how perfectly this fits in to the GOP's whole 'war on Christianity' nonsense? I guarantee you, if Hackett wins the primary, you'll be seeing this quote in campaign commercials.
The thing is, I don't necessarily disagree with Hackett. But as with Howard Dean's correct but ill-advised remarks about the war in Iraq being impossible to win, the same point could have been made in a much smarter way that wouldn't be so easy to caricature.
Hackett's boosters clearly revel in his shoot-from-the-hip style, but shoot-from-the-hip only works if you don't have a tendency, a la Howard Dean, to put your foot in your mouth when doing so. Hackett is still incredibly green, and nominating him would be a wholly unnecessary risk when one of the strongest progressives in the country is in the race as well, and polling just as well as Hackett is against DeWine.