Let's consider the matter carefully. While I agree with much of what's been written here and elsewhere, we should perhaps take another look at exactly what happened in Ohio.
First, I think this election was certainly good news for Dems everywhere, for many reasons. It shows that a strategy of fielding a strong candidate and investing in every race (not just the ones that are blue by 60% or more) can work.
Paul Hackett ran a very smart campaign, one that was tailored for his district specifically. Personally, I find it difficult to support someone who tries to hide his party affiliation, regardless of where you're running. Of course, that didn't stop me from donating money.
I'm sure that last statement will get me flamed generously, but that's fine. I listened to Kos on the Majority Report last night, and Sam Seder addressed this. It seemed to me that Sam was just making excuses for Hackett, saying that as soon as people stepped into the voting booth, they would know he was a Democrat. I think that's a pathetic explanation.
However, it seems to me that we may be placing far too much importance on the outcome of this race, for a couple of reasons.
The GOP candidate Schmidt was truly abysmal. She ran a horribly inept campaign, made stupid statement after stupid statement and couldn't even score with Rove political rule #1: smear your candidate with as many lies as possible.
My point is that this race was almost certainly easier than it would have been if the Republicans had fielded a candidate who wasn't a total moron. We need to keep in mind that most races in red districts would be much tougher, although we must still make our best efforts, even in the toughest of the tough.
Also, it will be much more challenging for us to give this kind of support (at the grass roots level) when the entire House is running for re-election. We were able to give Paul Hackett and enormous amount of attention and money, but we need to recognize that Herculean effort it will take for us to have a result like this on a national scale.
I have seen numerous posts saying that Hackett will have an easy time getting any other office he decides to run for, and that seems remarkably optimistic to me. I think he's a solid candidate (if a little vague about his stand on some of the issues), but it would be foolish to think that the Republicans won't be more ready for him next time.
If this race had been held next week, I have no doubt that Hackett would have won. But as we learned some things from this, the Republicans have learned some things too. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the the right-wing machine makes it their mission in life to defeat Hackett, whatever office he goes after. Remember, Hackett committed the ultimate sin of not only disagreeing with Bunnypants Bush, but did so vocally, unafraid of the consequences (hence my financial contributions).
My final analysis: we should celebrate Paul Hackett's remarkable achievement, but we should keep it in context.