October 7, 2005

OH-Sen: Bob Brigham & Untrustworthy Washington politicians

Bob Brigham of Swing State Project, one of my favorites blogs, posted a diary called OH-Sen: Democrats Need to Support Major Paul Hackett. In which he makes solid argument for Democrats to support Paul Hackett over Congressman Sherrod Brown on the basis of the Iraq issue.

The last paragraph is completely wrong.
While Congressman Sherrod Brown is attempting to clean up the mess from him breaking his word, Major Hackett is drilling with his Marines. The contrast between another untrustworthy Washington politician and a true leader couldn't be clearer.
With all due respect to Bob Brigham and Swing State Project but to call Congressman Sherrod Brown an untrustworthy Washington politician is out of line. You are dealing with a real person, a Democrat not a no name Washington politician but a leader in the progressive movement.

Bob Brigham links to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about Sherrod Brown promise to Paul Hackett.
The Hackett camp says it feels betrayed, since Brown, of Avon, assured Hackett face-to-face that he was not running.

"Sherrod Brown told the candidate three weeks ago that he was not entering the race, so the campaign was surprised at Sherrod's indecisiveness and change of heart," said Michael Brautigam, an adviser to Hackett. "Sherrod's entry into the race is not only dishonorable, it's disloyal to the Democratic Party and to democratic ideals."
If this story is true, I still think Sherrod Brown has the right to change this mind. Chris Bowers is right, this is politics, not a game of golf. I personally would have done it a different way to not to cause any bitterness between the two Democrats.

Paul Hackett aid also went to far calling the Congressman dishonorable and disloyal after all the help Grow Ohio and Sherrod Brown’s infrastructure helped Paul Hackett political career it comes off as ungrateful.

I am as partisan as the next person and I am willing to blast Democrats which do not live up to my values but, it come to a time to follow Regan llth commandment -- Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow party members.

David Sirota in American Prospect makes the case for Sherrod Brown.

Sherrod Brown is a loyal Democrat.
Brown's strength comes, in part, from a willingness to spend his political capital -- and precious resources -- on building his party. In an exposé on how Ohio politicians were using their political action committees as luxury slush funds, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported on one who doesn't. Brown, the paper noted, "spent nearly all [his PAC] money by donating to Democratic candidates." On top of what he raised for Hackett, Brown this year has already donated roughly $100,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and to Democratic candidates. Last election cycle it was the same: Brown donated almost $360,000 to fellow Democrats.

This, of course, says nothing about the nonparty infrastructure Brown will be able to rely on. In the House of Representatives, there are few lawmakers with as much steadfast support from organized labor. Why? Because Brown has long been one of the strongest voices opposing corporate-written trade deals that sell out American workers, even authoring a book on the subject. Earlier this year, it was Brown who led the fight against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), coming within one vote of defeating the pact. Hackett, meanwhile, has no proven voting record on any issue.
The best ticket in Ohio in 2006 is Brown-for-Senate and Hackett-for-Congress.
Think about it: A situation like this, even by mathematical standards, is better than having Hackett and Brown run against each other or having Hackett running for the Senate and Brown holding on to his Akron congressional seat. If Brown stayed put and Democrats used Hackett to compete for the Senate seat, the party would be forfeiting any chance to pick up the Cincinnati House seat, as there is no Democrat other than Hackett who has a chance to win that district. The better alternative is for Democrats to have Brown run for the Senate and have Hackett run for the Cincinnati House seat, with a potential net gain of two Democratic seats, not just one (Brown's current House seat, because of redistricting, is safely Democratic and would be retained). [..]

That ticket in Ohio is obvious on every level to any honest observer. It is a Brown-for-Senate and Hackett-for-Congress ticket that the Republican Party fears in the worst way -- as long as Democrats have the discipline to make that ticket a reality.
Go read the whole David Sirota article.

I am not trying to create a rift between fellow members in this community, but again to disrespect Sherrod Brown to gain cheap political points is wrong. I will love to see both Democrats in the Senate and a strong case can be made for both, lets not resort to bitter name calling.

As for me, count as a Brown supporter.

[Update] David Sirota on Bob Brigham comments.
This is a long post, so bear with me - but I've just got to get this off my chest. Sometimes, as readers know, I write caustic stuff, especially when going after people who sell their souls to step on the little guy. I make no apologies for that. But there are lines and rules of engagement, even for someone like me. Unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone out there who purports to advocate for the progressive side. It is these folks who reinforce all the stereotypes about the left being willing to eat its own in order to further this or that individual's ego.

The latest example of this can be seen in the pandemonium over Congressman Sherrod Brown's decision to enter the 2006 U.S. Senate race after having originally said he would not run. This has apparently offended the (incredibly fragile) sensibilities of those who like Paul Hackett, the Iraq War veteran who lost a special election in the Cincinatti suburbs, and who said he would run in Brown's place. Bob Brigham, a very talented guy who is normally an ally of mine (and I expect to be a close ally of mine despite this difference between us), shows us exactly what's wrong with our side. Brigham, formerly a Brown guy now a Hackett guy (talk about flip-flop), is taking the immature, whining-like-a-baby tact of dishonestly smearing Brown for his reversal, actually calling him "untrustworthy" a "waffle" and deriding him as a "Washington insider." These kind of ad hominem lies from a guy who's partner, Tim Tagaris, was paid by Brown to go help Hackett in Hackett's first run for office (doesn't say much about loyalty, does it?). [..]

So let me sum up: we can all have our differences on who might make the best candidate, Hackett or Brown. And we can all advocate on behalf of the people we like. But if you consider yourself truly committed to ideals, principles and conviction - and not just to whatever candidate you may be personally tied to and may mean the best job for you after election day - then you should refrain from lying about and smearing one of the few Members of Congress who has been keeping it real for our side for more than a decade (and this goes in reverse too - we shouldn't dishonestly attack someone like Hackett either). People who call themselves "progressive" who then smear someone like Sherrod Brown as "untrustworthy" are themselves the ones who are "untrustworthy" - for they are the ones who ultimately undermine our side's ability to really make serious change in this country because they are putting their own personal egos ahead of everything else.


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