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2/15/2006

There's no crying in politics

I don't want to belabor the Hackett thing, because it's basically a moot point now. But I do want to make one point. This kind of response -
I just have one thing to say right now: Sherrod Brown better win this
- is silly. Guess what - Brown might not win. Hackett might not have won either. It will be ultimately up to the voters of Ohio. And as others have pointed out, nobody forced Hackett out. He could have remained in the race, but he quit because he knew he couldn't win - which is another relevant point: in all likelihood, Brown was going to be the nominee anyway. So Hackett's departure changes little, except that it avoids a primary, which isn't always bad, but Hackett's attack-dog strategy would have only hurt Brown's chances in the general.

Also, I want to note David Sirota's response to the manner of Hackett's departure:
...successful candidates - whoever they are - have to have the tenacity in order to be elected. I'm sure Paul Hackett has tenacity in parts of his life - hell, he went off to combat in Iraq. But its clear he doesn't have political tenacity...

...He clearly didn't have what it took to win. Whatever the reason for that - be it that he couldn't raise the money, he couldn't build the organization, he didn't really have the widespread support people claimed he had, he didn't like people asking him tough questions about his positions, whatever it was - he was weeded out.

...Someone who bails out in a primary claiming they got "forced out" clearly would not have had the mettle to win this race when the inevitable GOP onslaught came. Further, Hackett's behavior raises serious questions about what he would have been like in the Senate. When adversity struck - would he have picked up his ball and gone home?

...I'll try to sum up what I'm saying here by referencing the ironclad rule I've written about before: there's no crying in politics. The successful candidates are the ones who don't get forced out ... Alternately, the people who scream and whine about being "forced out" are the ones who knew they were going to lose anyway. The nihlistic outrage and conspiracy-theory claims over Hackett's announcement is really pathetic. I mean, come on folks, all contested seats are about one thing: trying to "force" the other guy out, whether through the ballot box or through other forms of political pressure. That's the VERY DEFINITION OF POLITICS - and a political candidate who says they are "upset" about political pressure is like a person being on a baseball team and then getting upset that they are asked to play baseball.

Frankly, I don't think Hackett even believes he was "forced out." Why? Because I think he is a smart guy, and to actually believe you got "forced out" is just too ridiculously stupid a concept for someone like him to actually subscribe to.

My guess is he saw his poor fundraising numbers, saw that he was going to get crushed in the primary, wanted the race handed to him, didn't feel like doing the hard, unglamorous work that candidates have to do in the modern era to be competitive, and got out. Then, to save face, he created this ridiculous martyr story that he got "forced out" - a concept, remember, that doesn't exist in this country. There are no people with bayonets preventing anyone from running or "forcing" candidates out of the race. That's Third World stuff. In this country, when someone says they've been "forced out" of a race, it really means they weren't ready for primetime, they knew it, and were desperate to save face.


UPDATE: Sirota also links to a Nation article worth reading. Basic idea: Hackett left not because he was 'forced out' but rather because his own internal polling wasn't looking good.

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