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Iraq war vet loses Congressional bid
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A former Marine reservist who ran as a Democrat and blasted George Bush and the war in Iraq has lost his bid to become the first Iraq war vet elected to Congress:
A Republican former state lawmaker claimed a seat in Congress on Tuesday by narrowly defeating an Iraq war veteran who drew national attention to the race with his military service and a series of harsh attacks on President Bush.

With all precincts reporting, Jean Schmidt had 52 percent, or 57,974 votes, compared with Democrat Paul Hackett’s 48 percent, or 54,401 votes. Schmidt’s margin of victory amounted to about 3,500 votes out of more than 112,000 cast.
Although Hacket ran as a Democrat, reports were that he never really presented himself in ads as a Democrat nor did his ads promote the anti-war or anti-Bush sentiment he supposedly held. The ad he ran continuously in Ohio can be seen here. Note that it opens with George Bush speaking and it uses his words and later Hackett's words to give the impression that Hackett supported both Bush and the war. A rather interesting, if disengenuous, method of having it both ways.

Obviously if a voter wasn't paying close attention and only saw that ad, they'd have no idea that A) Hackett was a Democrat or B) he was against the war in Iraq and C) he was completely against George Bush. An updated twist on the Kerry campaign with, interestingly, about the same result percentage-wise.

The interesting thing about this race is going to be how the Democrats attempt to spin it. But I find it difficult to believe it can be spun in other way than another defeat. True, it was considered a safe Republican seat and true, it had voted 2 to 1 for Bush in '04, but Hackett mostly ran as a stealth Democrat and relied heavily on his service and people's natural affinity toward servicemembers in a time of war to carry him into Congress while hiding his Democrat credentials

To give you an idea of the left's approach to spinning this, Josh Marshall:
Remember, President Bush got 64% of the vote in this district just last November.

Late Update: Schmidt pulling ahead late. Did the call go out to Diebold?
Ah the old Diebold canard. If a Democrat loses its because of voter fraud, of course.

A commenter there (Metacomet) remarks:
We presented an attractive candidate that projected an image of American values in stark contrast to an average Republican hack who was linked to the all of the basest corruption in the Republican party short of sleeping with Cunningham on the yacht in the Potomac.

This has occurred some 5 years into a GOP dominated administratiopn and Congress that has time and again demonstrated a monumental lack of concern for average Americans.

The choice could not be more stark.

Losing here sends a stronger message to us than to them.

The country isn't capable of being salvaged on terms that we understand.

The dark side owns it....
In reality they presented a trial lawyer who was on record saying the following:
Republican nominee Jean Schmidt, a former state representative, has criticized Hackett for saying several weeks ago that Bush was a greater threat to U.S. security than al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. "The people of this district couldn't disagree more," says Schmidt, 53.

Hackett is unapologetic. "I've said that I don't like the son-of-a-b—— that lives in the White House but I'd put my life on the line for him," he says.
When are both sides going to learn (yes I'm talking to the inveterate Clinton bashers of a few years back) that rhetoric such as that does more harm than good to electoral chances?

Publius Rex's comments probably point to the reason the race was as close as it ended up being:
Hackett is publicly known to have a concealed carry permit in Ohio, is very centrist on environmental policy, and is nowhere near the mainstream progressive Democrat on healthcare (never once mentioning universal coverage on his website). Paul Hackett is as conservativer a Democrat as you are likely to find, which is exactly why he is able to run so close to a Republican in a district that Rob Portman (and Gradison before him) dominated against competition like Jim Condit Jr.
In other words, he was an old-school Democrat, more the Zell Miller type than the Howard Dean type (except as concerns Iraq, that is). That didn't stop the Dean from trying to get Hackett elected though. A Democrat is a Democrat when push comes to shove and the party wants a win.

Democracy for America, a group founded by Howard Dean to support key Democrat candidates mobilized and supported Hackett financially. they had this to say:
The results are in and DFA-List candidate Paul Hackett's campaign gave his opponent, Jean Schmidt, an unexpectedly tough run for her money. By the end of Tuesday, the margin between Paul and Schmidt was just a scant four points.

In the Hamilton County Ohio Board of Elections Real Time Results, Paul put up a laudable 48.25% to Schmidt's 51.74%. And though he did not win the seat, Paul's strong showing in a Cincinnati-area district that is dominated by the GOP is a good sign of things to come in Ohio.
"A scant four points"? Unless we're talking horseshoes or handgrenades it might as well have been 40 points.

And they finish with:
Great job, Paul and thank you to all of the volunteers who worked so hard for his campaign. On to the next challenge!
I wonder if they mean actually winning?

Read the comments. They're priceless. Apparently close is good enough for many.

And, of course, typifying the "just keep on keepin' on" school of thought among the Democrats, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo says, in a post entitled "Hackett nearly makes it":
the horrid jean schmidt has been declared the winner in ohio, with 52% of the vote. the republican candidate was a heavy favorite from the beginning, in a district that awol carried with 64% of the vote - and which her gop predecessor routinely carried with 70% margins.

the tide is turning, folks, you heard it here first. keep on keepin' on ...
Heh ... yup, remember you heard it there first.

And Hackett?
"This was a success. We should all be proud," Hackett told cheering supporters. "The voters of the 2nd District won because we gave them a choice."
Yeah ... whatever.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
McQ,

You have got to be shitting me.

The historical average GOP vote in Ohio’s 2nd district is 70%.

In the previous six elections, the Republican congresscritter never polled below 72%.

Bush carried the district with 64% just nine months ago.

And then, in spite of the RNC’s promise to "bury Paul Hackett," in spite of Schmidt’s 3-to-1 fundraising advantage, in spite of the Republican Congressional Committee PAC’s extra half-million dollar media pump for Schmidt in the last week of the campaign, Hackett cut the previous GOP margin down from 44% to 4%.

... and you don’t see bad news for the GOP in this? I hope—but doubt—that other Republicans are thinking like you are. It’s a lot easier to take a scalp when the dumbfuck you’re walking up to with a tomahawk in your hand refuses to believe you’re coming.

Hackett didn’t run on an anti-war line, by the way. He ran on a "didn’t like the idea, but now that we’re there, stay the course, only with competent leaders" line. He supports Bush’s "no timetable for withdrawal, stay until the job is done" program ... he just says that Republicans aren’t the people who can get the job done.

Of course, that line will probably be of limited utility by next November. As the situation continues to disintegrate and the sheer magnitude of the US defeat in Iraq makes that defeat less and less deniable, fewer voters are going to believe that Bush’s folly can or should be redeemed (and more politicians are going to be revising and extending about how they were against the whole thing from the start). But that doesn’t really matter—the Democrats can still run on Bush’s incompetence and unfitness as Commander in Chief without offering to do a stupid thing better.

Tom Knapp
 
Written By: Kn@ppster
URL: http://knappster.blogspot.com
Wow, thou dost protest too much.
Obviously if a voter wasn’t paying close attention and only saw that ad, they’d have no idea that A) Hackett was a Democrat
Except, of course, when they went into the voting booth and actually cast a vote. Turns out the ballot tells them Hackett is a Dem. It’s right there on the ballot. Right next to his name.

But you must be right. They’re all just a bunch of hicks and rubes and have no idea that one candidate is a Republican and one is a Democrat. You see, in the history of elections no Democrat has ever taken on a Republican. For all they knew, one candidate was Free Soil and the other was Know Nothing.

Here’s another possibility: The voters aren’t as stupid as you make them out to be. They actually paid attention. They actually knew Hackett was a Dem and voted for him anyway. I know crediting the voters with some knowledge of what they are doing doesn’t fit the narrative, and the GOP depends on voter ignorance, but stranger things have happened.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
This would be a great time for the Democrats to start running candidates w/ ideas, wouldn’t it? I mean, even an officer who served his whole tour in a war we seem to be winning can’t win on the Bush is an SOB platform.
Hopefully in the midterms the Dems will continue to fail to realize that US foreign policy is a settled debate to the majority (even if only 51%) of voters. God help the Republicans if the Dems actually decide to accept the Bush doctrine and run on a domestic platform with ideas that are newer than Ted Kennedy’s first senate run.
 
Written By: Brett
URL: http://law-b.blogspot.com
Knappster:

Let’s compare apples w/ apples, instead of rutabagas, shall we?

How many of these previous elections were special elections? What was the general turnout in past special elections?

More to the point: how much effort was made by either side in this? MyDD, iirc, was happily crowing that the Dems were making a major push, as were liberal bloggers, for Hackett.

Now, perhaps you’re right. Maybe in 2006, there’ll be a four point shift. Now, how many Democratic states and seats might that affect? Are there more Democratic or more GOP seats vulnerable?

Of course, mid-term elections usually go against the party in the WH. This has been true for many years. Except, er, in 2002.

Are you sure that a 4% GOP win in an off-off-year election, when there’s a Republican in the WH, is such a fiasco still?
 
Written By: Lurking Observer
URL: http://
And then, in spite of the RNC’s promise to "bury Paul Hackett," in spite of Schmidt’s 3-to-1 fundraising advantage, in spite of the Republican Congressional Committee PAC’s extra half-million dollar media pump for Schmidt in the last week of the campaign, Hackett cut the previous GOP margin down from 44% to 4%.

... and you don’t see bad news for the GOP in this? I hope—but doubt—that other Republicans are thinking like you are. It’s a lot easier to take a scalp when the dumbfuck you’re walking up to with a tomahawk in your hand refuses to believe you’re coming.


You came, tomahawk in hand ... you lost. Do you understand that yet?

The Reps had a politically weak and unattractive candidate, Dems had a stealth candidate running on his "war record" and touting his "carry permit" while pretending he supported Bush when, in fact, he was calling him an SOB.

It was an off term election with a fairly low turnout.

And the Reps still won ... even with the less attractive candidate.

So no, I see no problem at all here for the Reps. Nor do I see it portending any problems in a broader sense. It simply points to the fact that the Dem candidate, using what little he had which was attractive to the voters, used it skillfully and almost, but not quite (well not even close) won.

I do find it laughable, though, that so many want to make more of it than it is.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Except, of course, when they went into the voting booth and actually cast a vote. Turns out the ballot tells them Hackett is a Dem. It’s right there on the ballot. Right next to his name.

Uh yeah, except that has nothing to do with what I said, does it?

Look MK, if you want to play, stay in the ballpark, ok?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
McQ raises an interesting point, though. If Hackett did relatively well (and I’m not sure he did, in an off-off-year election), it was at least in part b/c of who he claimed to be:

A vet
Identifiable w/ Bush (see his ads), presumably on the war (kind of)
Pro-2nd Amendment

Question for Knappster, et. al.:

So, are the Democrats planning on fielding an array of Democrats who plan on running towards the center? Are they planning on running folks whose ads will suggest that they agree w/ Dubya? Exactly how much of the Party is going to support such a move?

Will Kos? Will Soros? Would ACT (if it were not defunct)?
 
Written By: Lurking Observer
URL: http://
So, are the Democrats planning on fielding an array of Democrats who plan on running towards the center?


We know they’re gonna roll out Hillary as a centrist... so one can probably safely assume that others will do the same.

Of course, if they actually MEAN it when they say they are moving toward the center (I don’t for a second believe Hillary is anything other than a Socialist... unless she’s really a communist) - but if they did mean it, I’d be willing to listen to their ideas...
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Y’know, that the Democrats get more competitive when they run someone who really doesn’t look like a Democrat at all should tell them something...

 
Written By: b-psycho
URL: http://psychopolitik.blogspot.com
Read his website, especially the part about guns. He really knows how to take a stand, doesn’t he?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://www.qando.net
This is sort of like an Oklahoma football game. For no apparent reason, some of the ’ought-to-be-a-blowout’ games end up really close. But it doesn’t seem to matter for next week’s game. (Damn I miss football.)

It’s funny that the Democrats are so hard up for any positive news that they try to suck all the positive they can get out of "another loss". But hey, the one thing that scares me is that they finally are looking at the bright side of something. That’s the first time in a long time that anyone can say that.

Remember the line from Top Gun: "There’s no points for second place!"
 
Written By: RWilson
URL: http://www.yahoo.com

 
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