February 17, 2006


Backroom Battles: Economic sabotage, whisper campaigns, and threats: How the Democrats took Paul Hackett out. (David Goodman, February 16, 2006, Mother Jones)

Hackett was running against seven-term Akron Democrat Rep. Sherrod Brown in a May primary, with the winner going on to face two-term Republican Sen. Mike DeWine in November (assuming DeWine wins his own primary against a longshot Republican challenger). DeWine is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent Republicans, and the national Democratic Party is pulling out the stops to defeat him.

But first, the Democrats had to get Hackett out of the way. The weapons used in the rubout included economic sabotage, whisper campaigns, and threats. [...]

Swift boats soon appeared on the horizon. A whisper campaign started: Hackett committed war crimes in Iraq—and there were photos. “The first rumor that I heard was probably a month and a half ago,” Dave Lane, chair of the Clermont County Democratic Party, told me the day after Hackett pulled out of the race. “I heard it more than once that someone was distributing photos of Paul in Iraq with Iraqi war casualties with captions or suggestions that Paul had committed some sort of atrocities. Who did it? I have no idea. It sounds like a Republican M.O. to me, but I have no proof of that. But if it was someone on my side of the fence, I have a real problem with that. I have a hard time believing that a Democrat would do that to another Democrat.”

In late November, Hackett got a call from Sen. Harry Reid. “I hear there’s a photo of you mistreating bodies in Iraq. Is it true?” demanded the Senate minority leader. “No sir,” replied Hackett. To drive home his point, Hackett traveled to Washington to show Reid’s staff the photo in question. Hackett declined to send me the photo, but he insists that it shows another Marine—not Hackett—unloading a sealed body bag from a truck. “There was nothing disrespectful or unprofessional,” he insists. “That was a photo of a Marine doing his job. If you don’t like what they’re doing, don’t send Marines into war.”

A staffer in Reid’s office confirmed that Hackett had showed them several photos. “The ones I saw were part of a diary he kept while serving in Iraq and were in no way compromising. The one picture in question depicted Marines doing their work on what looked like a scorching day in Iraq,” said the aide.

But the whispering continued, and Hackett was troubled. “It creates doubt and suspicion,” Hackett told me, saying his close supporters were asking him privately about the rumors. “It tarnishes my very strength as a candidate, my military service. It’s like you take a handful of seeds, throw them up in the wind, and they blow all around and start growing. It really bothered me.”

Hackett backers suspected the smear was being floated by Sherrod Brown’s campaign. A senior Brown staffer angrily dismissed the charge this week as “ridiculous.”

Brown campaign spokesperson Joanna Kuebler declined to respond to the rumors. She offered this prepared statement: “This campaign has never been about Paul Hackett or about Sherrod Brown. This campaign is about the hard working people of Ohio, and what Republican corruption has done to them.”

As was mentioned a couple weeks ago, we were mysteriously put on a Sherrod Brown mailing list and they sent us dish on Mr. Hackett:


Though, in fairness, they never sent us any photos.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 17, 2006 1:05 PM

We'll have to wait and see if a February wipe-out of Hackett affects the turn-out for Brown from the far left of the party in Ohio come the fall election.

Posted by: John at February 17, 2006 1:28 PM

Buddy Hackett would have voted for him! I know - the comedian is dead, but we're talking about Democrats - that is not a disqualifier.

Posted by: obc at February 17, 2006 1:31 PM

This shows just how much the party's old-line machine respects the new Internet activists of MoveOn and DU and DailyKos. The new Internet activists shouldn't stand for it. They need to counterattack, to purge the party of its feeble old guard. If they mean to have a war for the soul of the Democratic Party, let it begin now, and let it go on until victory is total!

Me, I'm gonna shove another bag of Boy Scout popcorn in the microwave and watch the fun.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 17, 2006 1:56 PM

I think this article just shows that they don't understand the Swift Boat thing.

Posted by: RC at February 17, 2006 2:22 PM

when you lie down with dogs, you have to be ready for fleas. hackett is a fool and a complainer so i am surprised that the dem's booted him. sometimes you don't have to wait very long for reality to slap some fool in the face with a big ole mackerel.

Posted by: toe at February 17, 2006 2:33 PM

Why the heck would the Republicans want to sabotage Hackett? The guy is a nut, and in a real, statewide election cycle would not have been able to play the cynical doubletalk strategy he used during the special election.

Posted by: b at February 17, 2006 2:52 PM

b, the word you are looking for is "paranoia". of course the republicans would love for a sheehan or hackett to run in a prominent campaign, so they could tar the entire democratic party with their rancid rhetoric. it's only the endemic mental illness on the left, that makes them suggest such foolish ideas.

Posted by: toe at February 17, 2006 3:08 PM

Eventually the politically useful "support our troops" meme will give way to historical "babykiller" once it has outlived its usefulness to the Left. Maybe that day is approaching.

Posted by: Rick T. at February 17, 2006 4:41 PM

There is a running story at PowerLine about the Minnesota DFL party's hysteria and attempted bullying (to the TV stations) of a TV ad on the American military and Iraq, called "Midwest Heroes" (apparently made by parents of soldiers who were killed in action).

So, while they aren't calling them babykillers yet, they are basically saying that parents who support the war should not be allowed to have any voice in the media. Note that one of the families is that of Michael Carlson, whose essay on why he is a soldier was published in the WSJ, maybe 2-3 months ago (don't remember exactly).

I guess only Cindy Sheehans need apply. And what would Hubert Humphrey (who threw the Communists out of the DFL back in the 1940s) think of that?

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 18, 2006 1:13 AM

Democrats make no distinction between "war" and "crimes". Anyone who goes to war, any war, is a criminal in their minds. Or an innocent child sent to his death by a criminal president. Why do the Hacketts and the Webbs think that they can find acceptance in the Democratic party?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at February 18, 2006 10:51 AM

why does anyone sell their soul to the devil

Posted by: toe at February 18, 2006 1:11 PM