Not so fast, Congressman Brown
We don't just give this away. You have to earn
Blogs will key Hackett's ability to compete with Brown
WASHINGTON - Senate candidate and Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett earned a reputation this summer as an Internet campaign superhero able to mobilize thousands of supporters and raise millions of dollars in cyberspace.
With a close loss in a solidly Republican House district near Cincinnati, Hackett was ready to represent Democrats against GOP Sen. Mike DeWine in what many are calling the bellwether race for Democrats in 2006.
But popular Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown has since forced a primary, and Hackett no longer has sole command of a blogosphere that carried him from Marine patrols in Fallujah to the brink of a key U.S. House victory in a matter of months.
Among the online political diaries and discussion groups, there are about 80 bloggers in the influential Advertising Liberally network. They provided the majority of Hackett's fundraising and inspired most of the national buzz during his House run. Hackett's campaign says blogs brought in more than $500,000 of the $856,738 he raised in his House race.
Brown initially announced he wouldn't run for Senate, and bloggers and Democratic Senate leaders alike stood squarely behind Hackett. But then, two weeks ago, Brown reconsidered. Since then, several leading Democratic bloggers have asked Hackett to step aside for a man with 30 years in public office and $2.1 million in his campaign war chest.
An angry Hackett says he'll run as the outsider against a career politician and signaled a brutal primary ahead. But Brown still doubts Hackett will stick it out, especially if he can take away Hackett's grassroots advantage.
"The blogs were here for Hackett, and here for me," Brown told The Associated Press, holding his hand high for Hackett's support level and then lowering it for his own. "Now, they're even and that was the only place he had any advantage before."
Now when the fuck did this happen?
Brown has been missing in action for months, and didn't have the balls to run when it was DeWine alone. He got cold feet.
Gutlessness like that is not what gains support in the blogosphere. Just because Brown dropped some ad money doesn't mean we're his fucking piggy bank. I don't remember any conference calls asking for support, like Hackett did in his race. His people welcomed bloggers to work with them. Brown isn't exactly the kind of member who gets people motivated.
Think Brown is gonna get these voters?
Dan Johns, a burly Vietnam vet, heating contractor, and proud Republican, was among those who showed up to get out the vote for Hackett. With his bulging gut and thinning hair, he looked more than a little out of place among the chain-smoking campaign junkies and waifish college kids. He confessed to never having worked for a politician before—and certainly never for a Democrat. “To me, Saddam Hussein is no different than Hitler,” he said, taking a break in the shade of a tree as volunteers swarmed about.
Did he vote for Kerry? “God, no. I hated him. He’s too liberal. He was trying to appease the doves.” Bush, he added, “is a good president. He stands up for what he believes in.” Not unlike Hackett, he concluded. “I met him, I like him, and he’s a Marine. I go with my gut.”
Butch Davis, a 70-year-old lifelong Republican, pulled up at Hackett HQ in a 1943 Marine Corps jeep, complete with a mounted 30-caliber machine gun, sporting a “Veterans for Hackett” sign. “I’m a redneck from Brown County,” he declared proudly, extending his weathered hand. “Paul’s pro-choice,” he added. “I’m pro-life. He said educating the young fellas and gals is the answer to the problem, not outlawing abortion.”
Davis continued in a thick Southern drawl, “I used to think clinic bombers were doing the right thing. My preacher said I was too uptight.” He chuckled. Now, he said, “I think Paul’s approach is as good as mine.” The Bush administration, he continued, “trampled on our Bill of Rights and Constitution. They should be ashamed.”
I like primaries. Good canddiates can win them, poor ones won't. Unlike my friends in the blogosphere, I don't work for pols, I don't join their payroll, I don't raise money for them and I don't have any other goal. I donate my money and then people do what they want. Because all I care about is good stories. I'm not going to wish Hackett away because there's a primary. Hell, people should be shoving Brown out, considering he's turned down more than one chance for higher office. I know politicians follow, but this is ridiculous.
Brown is an ordinary candidate who's yellow streak has already shown itself. I mean, he could have run before Hackett said a word. He only jumped in when he realized the odds were pro-Dem. Of course people want a seasoned pol to take what looks like a ripe seat. But the fact is that Hackett, despite his lack of experience, has a much better message to take into a cripped state and national GOP. And he was willing to run when the odds were high, when Brown punked out.
But here's something Brown better realize. Paul Hackett earned his support. Just because you hire a few bloggers doesn't mean you have the thing sown up. Paul Hackett has a nationwide, 15,000 list of contributors who like what he says and how he says it. We are not a piggy bank. You can't just throw up a few ads and say "support me". We need reasons to do so.
I'll tell you what impresses me, Hackett got people to campaign for him who had been lifelong Republicans. Not just vote, campaign. If Brown can do that, then I might send him some cash in the end. But as it stands, Hackett earned the support he got and should continue to get that support.
Personally, I thought Hackett should have run against Schmidt again and win easily. But he didn't. He chose the Senate race. Then all of a sudden, Brown found his balls and jumped in. The calls should have gone to him, not Hackett. If you have to wonder if you want to run for office, you don't want the job bad enough.
Sometimes we need to reward courage, regardless of how difficult that makes our task.
posted by Steve @ 12:30:00 AM