When he first left the Ohio Senate race, I was very sympathetic to him. I had been a strong supporter of his from the beginnig.
At the outset, Hackett seemed to handle the situation with class. Then, he started lashing out. Vaguely, at first. But eventually, he started a full-scale scorched Earth campaign against Sherrod Brown.
First, he either authorized or acquiesced in dumping his opposition research on Brown to the press.
Now, he is shouting to the media that people in the Brown campaign were Swift Boating him -- claiming that Hackett mishandled body parts in Iraq, and that photos of it exist.
But I have no interest in starting a netroots flame war over this. It has been hashed over, and people are sick of that.
No, the prupose of my diary today is to make people step back and think about who the real culprit in all of this is.
I know people are angry and the Washington Democrats and the Brown campaign. And tat anger is understandible. But who stands the most to gain by spreading Swift Boat rumors about Paul Hackett? And who has the MOTIVE to do it?
I submit to you that it isn't Chuck Schumer or Sherrod Brown.
As you recall, the original charge levelled by Hackett was that Democratic insiders were putting pressure on Hackett's donors to get him to quit the Senate race. The purpose of this wasn't to screw over Paul Hackett. It was to get him to run for the 2nd Ohio Congressional seat against Jean Schmitt again.
Do I endorse those tactics? Of course not! I think they should have left well-enough alone and let Paul battle it out with Brown on his own terms.
None-the-less, the motivation for pushing Hackett out of the Senate primary was to get him to run for Congress! So Swift Boating him would have been a ridiculous and stupid thing to do. Why would the Democrats, including Sherrod Brown, engage in that kind of thing when they were trying to get him to run for the House?!? It makes absolutely no sense.
But, there is somebody who benefits from the rumors and the discord it sowed among the Democratic base. That person is Mike DeWine.
Now, I don't think DeWine has the testicles to do this on his own. Somebody who is desperate to retain control of the Senate for the GOP pulled this. And the number one suspect on EVERYONE'S list should be none other than Bush's Brain: Karl Rove!
Just today there is a story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Rove is plannig a massive slime campaign in the State of Ohio. A prospect Brown himself has aknowledged:
Ohio Democratic Senate candidate Sherrod Brown says he's heard from "all kinds of people in Washington" that President Bush's political mastermind, Karl Rove, "is going to unleash all his attack dogs in Ohio this year."
The congressman from Avon says he's not sure what that would entail, "but I can guess it is not going to be pleasant."
Republicans don't deny it. White House spokesman Allen Abney declined comment on Rove's possible role in upcoming Ohio elections, while Republican National Committee spokesman Aaron McLear accused Brown of making accusations to distract voters from his "out-of-the-mainstream" voting record.
It wouldn't be a stretch for Rove's chief deputy, Barry Jackson, to focus on upcoming Ohio elections. Jackson, former chief of staff to newly minted House Majority Leader John Boehner, is an expert on Ohio politics, as well as an architect of the 1994 "Contract with America" that helped Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
A typical instance occurred in the hard-fought 1996 race for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court between Rove's client, Harold See, then a University of Alabama law professor, and the Democratic incumbent, Kenneth Ingram. According to someone who worked for him, Rove, dissatisfied with the campaign's progress, had flyers printed up--absent any trace of who was behind them--viciously attacking See and his family. "We were trying to craft a message to reach some of the blue-collar, lower-middle-class people," the staffer says. "You'd roll it up, put a rubber band around it, and paperboy it at houses late at night. I was told, 'Do not hand it to anybody, do not tell anybody who you're with, and if you can, borrow a car that doesn't have your tags.' So I borrowed a buddy's car [and drove] down the middle of the street ... I had Hefty bags stuffed full of these rolled-up pamphlets, and I'd cruise the designated neighborhoods, throwing these things out with both hands and literally driving with my knees." The ploy left Rove's opponent at a loss. Ingram's staff realized that it would be fruitless to try to persuade the public that the See campaign was attacking its own candidate in order "to create a backlash against the Democrat," as Joe Perkins, who worked for Ingram, put it to me. Presumably the public would believe that Democrats were spreading terrible rumors about See and his family. "They just beat you down to your knees," Ingram said of being on the receiving end of Rove's attacks. See won the race.
THIS IS A CLASSIC ROVE TACTIC
It would not surprise me if there are a few campaign infiltrators in the Brown camp spreading this rumor around. Or Rove operatives making the charges, and then claiming they "heard it from the Brown campaign," or from a member of Brown's staff.
I know Hackett backers will probably be skeptical of this. After all, their guy is specifically fingering Brown's campaign. But, I think there is more to it than meets the eye.
As I said, I think it made ZERO sense for the Democrats or even brown to Swift Boat Hackett. They wanted him to run for Congres? Why would they trash him under those circumstances?
But, it suits Karl Rove's purposes perfectly. It damages both Hackett AND Sherrod Brown in Ohio, enhances DeWine's chances, and makes the Democratic party look like complete shmucks.
So, every time a Hackett supporter out there withholds support for Sherrod Brown, or trashes the Democratic party, Karl Rove is throwing a party.
Therefore, re-focus your anger at the CORRECT target.Sherrod Brown is a good progressive Democrat who believes in all the things we hold dear.
If Paul can't "hack-it," and see that he's been punked, then maybe he wasn't cut out for elective office after all? On the other hand, maybe Paul Hackett will realize that he's been punked by the GOP slime machine, and re-direct his anger at the man behind all of this: Karl Rove.
I suggest that a high-level group of Democratic veterans, such as Max Cleland and Wesley Clark approach Paul about this, be peace makers, and talk some sense to him. Get him to focus on the good of the country, which is to defeat the GOP machine, and establish true checks and balances in our Government again.
He and Sherrod Brown absolutely MUST bury the hatchet and make amends. If John McCain could do it with George W. Bush, when he was savaged even more disgustingly, then Paul Hackett can do it for the good of the country.
Remember that you are a Marine, Paul. Put your country ahead of your personal issues. You have done it before. You can do it again.
And, most importantly, are you going to let those sons of bitches, Karl Rove and George W. Bush, win?MAJOR UPDATE: An example of how this might have worked is the "John Kerry slept with an intern" rumor that came out during the 2004 Presidential primary. If you recall, the rumor originated with one of the "interns" friends, who also happened to be a GOP hack. Alexandra Polier refuted the whole fiasco, eventually. But even such folks as Bush cousin John Ellis discounted the rumor. This "friend" was going around to the press corps with the rumor, and it got picked up by Chris Lehane who was working for the Wesley Clark campaign. Then Drudge pinned it all on Lehane as the source. Notably, John Kerry took the high road about it, and didn't go after Clark. The point is, it is very easy to srart rumors like this. Perhaps a Rove operative said something to a friendly member of the press? Maybe that person told someone in the Brown campaign? Then the Brown people begin to say things like: "Holy crap! The GOP are going to kill Hackett on ths stuff." Or "Is this true? We better be careful!" Next thing you know these discussions get back to Hackett and he thinks Sherrod Brown is Swift Boating him. See how this goes? And, as one commenter ponted out, Drudge tried to finger Harry Reid. When, in fact, all he did was ask Paul about the RUMORS! The Democrats are so paranoid of being attacked and Swift Boated that just getting this rumor out into the political bloodstream is enough to panic them, and cause things like this to occur. Hackett should understand this.