Hackett, an Iraq War veteran, made headlines in the campaign for taking a strong position against the original decision to go to war in Iraq, even calling the President of the United States an SOB.
And while it's true, Hackett didn't support full withdrawal from Iraq, few would deny that his position opposing the war was a key part of his campaign.
Ultimately, the anti-war position defined his candidacy, and was the clear reason he was able to do so well in such a Republican district. That should be no surprise: polls have been telling us for months that America agrees with Hackett in believing going to war in Iraq was a mistake. Meanwhile, Americans' view of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level ever.
Incredibly, however, in a memo sent to all Democratic House Members about what Democrats should learn from the Hackett race, the DCCC makes not one mention of the Iraq War and its effect on the election. Not one. It is as if the party is going out of its way to deny the importance of Democrats taking a strong position against the war, or making the war a serious issue in their campaigns. See page 1 of the memo here, and page 2 of the memo here [PDFs].
National Democrats have advised their candidates for two straight cycles to ignore the war and make the campaign about "health care and jobs". Yet the war issue didn't go away in 2002 or 2004, and it won't go away in 2006.
The fact that the DCCC ignores one of the most striking lessons of the Hackett race is mind-boggling. If there was such a thing as "political malpractice", they would be guilty of it.