Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bummed Out By Thursday

In the photo the writer and his wife listen to Paul Hackett, candidate for the US Senate from Ohio in the upcoming Democratic primary. Posted by Picasa

In Zen meditation we think non-thinking---that is, we think nothing. What this means is that our whole psychological mind ceases to function, and as a result, our whole being becomes united with the essence of mind, which we signify by Mind. You call this essence the God within you, absoluteness, ultimate reason---it doesn't matter. No matter what you call it, to unite with this essence is the very reason we are gathered here to meditate.

---Robert Aitken

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.

---Henry David Thoreau

People with opinions just go around bothering one another.

---The Buddha

I woke up this morning with a vow in my head to ignore the news and controversies of the day. Like many people in the United States and around the world, I've come to think the news endangers my health. I know many people who are adamant about not wanting to learn what's going on. They say even if you do find out, what do you believe? Everybody lies and twists and distorts. It's all maddening so for a balanced and positive outlook on life, it's better not to look, think about it or know about it. This morning I tried not to think or to look. How did I do?

I did rotten. I'm going to blame the shipment of news from Wednesday, and hope to do better tomorrow. One day at a time for a news junkie. I can lick this thing! But not today.

The New York Times
January 18, 2006
2002 Memo Doubted Uranium Sale Claim

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 - A high-level intelligence assessment by the Bush administration concluded in early 2002 that the sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq was "unlikely" because of a host of economic, diplomatic and logistical obstacles, according to a secret memo that was recently declassified by the State Department.

Among other problems that made such a sale improbable, the assessment by the State Department's intelligence analysts concluded, was that it would have required Niger to send "25 hard-to-conceal 10-ton tractor-trailers" filled with uranium across 1,000 miles and at least one international border.

The analysts' doubts were registered nearly a year before President Bush, in what became known as the infamous "16 words" in his 2003 State of the Union address, said that Saddam Hussein had sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

The White House later acknowledged that the charge, which played a part in the decision to invade Iraq in the belief that Baghdad was reconstituting its nuclear program, relied on faulty intelligence and should not have been included in the speech. Two months ago, Italian intelligence officials concluded that a set of documents at the center of the supposed Iraq-Niger link had been forged by an occasional Italian spy.

White House Silent on Abramoff Meetings
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
Tue Jan 17, 4:56 PM ET

The White House is refusing to reveal details of tainted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's visits with President Bush's staff.

Abramoff had "a few staff-level meetings" at the Bush White House, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday. But he would not say with whom Abramoff met, which interests he was representing or how he got access to the White House.

Since Abramoff pleaded guilty two weeks ago to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion charges in an influence-peddling scandal, McClellan has told reporters he was checking into Abramoff's meetings. "I'm making sure that I have a thorough report back to you on that," he said in his press briefing Jan. 5. "And I'll get that to you, hopefully very soon."

McClellan said Tuesday that he checked on it at reporters' requests, but wouldn't discuss the private staff-level meetings.

He has said Abramoff attended three Hanukkah receptions at the White House, but corrected himself Tuesday to say there were only two — in 2001 and 2002.

McClellan said Bush does not know Abramoff personally, although it's possible the two met at the holiday receptions.

Abramoff was one of Bush's top fundraisers, having brought in at least $100,000 for the Bush-Cheney '04 re-election campaign and earning the honorary title "pioneer." The campaign took $6,000 of the contributions — which came directly from Abramoff, his wife and one of the Indian tribes he represented — and donated it to the American Heart Association. But the campaign has not returned the rest of the money Abramoff raised.

Democrats outline ethics reform plan in Ohio
Associated Press
Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:13 PM

National Democrats promoted their ethics reform package today in battleground Ohio, which party Chairman Howard Dean called the center of Republican corruption scandals.

Dean outlined a package of measures to bar members of Congress from accepting gifts from lobbyists, pointing to a federal investigation of GOP Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, who is accused of taking bribes from former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

"The cost of corruption is real to Ohioans, and it's real to Americans, and we're going to put an end to that," said Dean, standing just a few feet away from the ceremonial Statehouse office of Gov. Bob Taft.

The Republican governor pleaded no contest in August to failing to report golf outings and other gifts he was treated to, becoming the state's first governor convicted of a crime.

Dean's visit gave a national stage to an argument Ohio Democrats have been making for months: voters should end 12 years of Republican domination of state government because of pervasive GOP corruption.

That includes a scandal involving $300 million in investment losses at the state insurance fund for injured workers.

Democratic candidates for several statewide offices including governor are sounding similar themes as they try to win back seats in the state that has failed to elect a president just twice in more than 100 years.

Republicans dismissed the event as a publicity stunt and said GOP leaders have moved quickly to address problems.

The Hartford Courant
What Are They Doing With All Our Data?
Laura K. Donohue
January 17 2006

Congress will soon hold hearings on the National Security Agency's domestic spying program, secretly authorized by President Bush in 2002. But that program is just the tip of the iceberg.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the expansion of efforts to gather and analyze information on U.S. citizens is nothing short of staggering. The government collects vast troves of data, including consumer credit histories and medical and travel records. Databases track Americans' networks of friends, family and associates, not just to identify who is a terrorist but to try to predict who might become one.

Remember Total Information Awareness, retired Adm. John Poindexter's effort to harness all government and commercial databases to preempt national security threats? The idea was that disparate, seemingly mundane behaviors can reveal criminal intent when viewed together. More disturbing, it assumed that deviance from social norms can be an early indicator of terrorism.

Congress killed that program in 2003, but according to the Associated Press, many related projects continued.,0,992533.story?coll=hc-headlines-oped

The New York Times
January 18, 2006
Spying on Ordinary Americans

In times of extreme fear, American leaders have sometimes scrapped civil liberties in the name of civil protection. It's only later that the country can see that the choice was a false one and that citizens' rights were sacrificed to carry out extreme measures that were at best useless and at worst counterproductive. There are enough examples of this in American history - the Alien and Sedition Acts and the World War II internment camps both come to mind - that the lesson should be woven into the nation's fabric. But it's hard to think of a more graphic example than President Bush's secret program of spying on Americans.

The White House has offered steadily weaker arguments to defend the decision to eavesdrop on Americans' telephone calls and e-mail without getting warrants. One argument is that the spying produced unique and highly valuable information. Vice President Dick Cheney, who never shrinks from trying to prey on Americans' deepest fears, said that the spying had saved "thousands of lives" and could have thwarted the 9/11 attacks had it existed then.

Given the lack of good, hard examples, that argument sounded dubious from the start. A chilling article in yesterday's Times confirmed our fears.

According to the article, the eavesdropping swept up vast quantities of Americans' private communications without any reasonable belief that they could be related to terrorism. The National Security Agency flooded the Federal Bureau of Investigation with thousands of names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and other tips that virtually all led to dead ends or to innocent Americans.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2006
Author: Human Rights Watch
Published on Jan 18, 2006, 07:49

New evidence demonstrated in 2005 that torture and mistreatment have been a deliberate part of the Bush administration's counterterrorism strategy, undermining the global defense of human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2006.

The evidence showed that abusive interrogation cannot be reduced to the misdeeds of a few low-ranking soldiers, but was a conscious policy choice by senior U.S. government officials. The policy has hampered Washington's ability to cajole or pressure other states into respecting international law, said the 532-page volume's introductory essay.

"Fighting terrorism is central to the human rights cause," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "But using illegal tactics against alleged terrorists is both wrong and counterproductive."

Roth said the illegal tactics were fueling terrorist recruitment, discouraging public assistance of counterterrorism efforts and creating a pool of unprosecutable detainees.

Ex-EPA Chiefs Blame Bush in Global Warming
By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jan 18, 5:48 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Six former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency — five Republicans and one Democrat — accused the Bush administration Wednesday of neglecting global warming and other environmental problems.

"I don't think there's a commitment in this administration," said Bill Ruckelshaus, who was EPA's first administrator when the agency opened its doors in 1970 under President Nixon and headed it again under President Reagan in the 1980s.

Russell Train, who succeeded Ruckelshaus in the Nixon and Ford administrations, said slowing the growth of "greenhouse" gases isn't enough.

"We need leadership, and I don't think we're getting it," he said at an EPA-sponsored symposium centered around the agency's 35th anniversary. "To sit back and just push it away and say we'll deal with it sometime down the road is dishonest to the people and self-destructive."

All of the former administrators raised their hands when EPA's current chief, Stephen Johnson, asked whether they believe global warming is a real problem, and again when he asked if humans bear significant blame.

Agency heads during five Republican administrations, including the current one, criticized the Bush White House for what they described as a failure of leadership.

The Washington Post
Is It Warm in Here?
We Could Be Ignoring the Biggest Story in Our History
By David Ignatius
Wednesday, January 18, 2006; A17

The best reporting of the non-news of climate change has come from Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker. Her three-part series last spring lucidly explained the harbingers of potential disaster: a shrinking of Arctic sea ice by 250 million acres since 1979; a thawing of the permafrost for what appears to be the first time in 120,000 years; a steady warming of Earth's surface temperature; changes in rainfall patterns that could presage severe droughts of the sort that destroyed ancient civilizations. This month she published a new piece, "Butterfly Lessons," that looked at how these delicate creatures are moving into new habitats as the planet warms. Her real point was that all life, from microorganisms to human beings, will have to adapt, and in ways that could be dangerous and destabilizing.

So many of the things that pass for news don't matter in any ultimate sense. But if people such as (Thomas E.) Lovejoy and Kolbert are right, we are all but ignoring the biggest story in the history of humankind. Kolbert concluded her series last year with this shattering thought: "It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing." She's right. The failure of the United States to get serious about climate change is unforgivable, a human folly beyond imagining.



jazzolog said...


Democrats Can't Hackett

Maybe Dick Cheney can't shoot straight, but at least he didn't shoot himself in the face. Sadly, you can't say the same for the leadership of the Democratic party.

Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Rahm Emanuel have not only strong-armed Iraq War vet Paul Hackett out of the Ohio senate race, but out of politics altogether.

And for what? To give Eagle Scout Sherrod Brown a clear shot at the Senate?!

Yes. OK. A messy primary is less than ideal as a precursor to a must-win Senate showdown. But if Sherrod is really the top Democrat for the job -- if his name truly is "gold" with Ohio voters -- shouldn't he be able to prove that through, you know, an electoral process? What does it say about his electability that top Democrats felt it necessary to play king-maker and shield him from his popular, populist competition?

Whatever bruises Brown might have picked up in a spirited primary, they're clearly better than the self-inflicted damage the party suffers by knee-capping the most colorful outsider in politics today -- and alienating Iraq vets nationwide:

"For me, this is a second betrayal." Hackett told the NYT. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me."

"It is an outrage that the Democratic Party has forced Hackett out of the race," adds Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America PAC director Jon Smoltz. "Hackett brought credibility on the number one issue facing the nation -- the war in Iraq. The Democratic Party loses credibility on that issue because he is no longer running, and because they had a hand in his decision."

Mike Lyon, director of Band of Brothers, which has been recruiting Iraq War vets as candidates told the Times: "Alienating Hackett is not just a bad idea for the party, but it also sends a chill through the rest of the 56 or so veterans that we've worked to run for Congress. Now is a time for Democrats to be courting, not blocking, veterans who want to run."

Paul Hackett was the best story the Democrats had running. He was the general leading the upsurge of "Fighting Dems" -- whom the national media is already gushing over as principled patriots who speak their minds, keep their promises and don't back down from challenges. Now, Hackett's gone. Not because he lost in a fair fight. But because the Democratic establishment equipped him with concrete shoes and tossed him overboard.

Somewhere, Karl Rove is laughing.

Posted Feb 14, 2006 3:15 PM

jazzolog said...

I hope you gentlemen don't mind if I create a composite reply and something
of a forum here. The condition of the Democratic Party power structure is
of concern not only locally, but around the world.
The Whealey family is a distinguished asset of the Athens community, as are
the Sheaks. Bob Sheak is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Sociology
at Ohio University.

From: "David Whealey"
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 4:56 PM
Subject: RE: Democrats Shoot Themselves

>I agree with your sentiment that Democratic esablishment makes a mistake
>when it tries to weed candidates out before a primary. Hackett would
>probably have been a better candidate against DeWine mainly because he is
>more centrist than Sherrod Brown which you might expect since he was member
>of US volunteer military. I was planning to vote for Sherrod Brown because
>he was more liberal and because he could claim to have more political
>experience as Congressman and Secretary of State. I skimmed an article in
>In These Times which compared Brown to Hackett.
> David J. Whealey
> Athens OH 45701-1515

There's a political adage in this country that goes, "When the status quo is
driving you nuts, vote for the other guy no matter what and boot the bums
out!" That approach doesn't always work as we saw in 1980, when the rank
and file of the Labor Movement embraced Ronald Reagan because of inflation
created during Carter's administration (I say DURING, not by that
administration). Not only did Reagan beat Carter, but he brought in the
first Republican-dominated Senate in a quarter century. The real looting of
the nation began then and there. Reagan's first official act, of course,
was to bust a union over an air traffic control job action...but still the
working man continued with his change of faith. Now those guys who still
have any job at all...and those who don't...disillusioned with politics
altogether, have joined the Ghost Dance that is the fundamentalist
megachurch movement. Nevertheless, all that having been said, I'm likely to
have voted for Hackett in the Democratic Primary, because he was such a
fresh and independent voice.

From: "Robert Whealey"
To:; "Dana At PeoplePC"
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 4:41 PM
Subject: Re: Democrats Shoot Themselves

"Dear Dana and Richard,

"This article is an over-reaction. I heard both Hackett and Brown give their
stump speeches. Their stand on Iraq, Iran and the Middle East were
practically the same. The issues are more important than the personality. I
helped Hackett get votes in his Congressional district when he ran against
the Republican Schmidt.

"I'm now behind Brown, and Hackett has to ask himself is he a sore loser?"

Robert Whealey

To whom did he lose, Bob? The voters? When you're passed over on the job,
not because of what your ideas might accomplish in the future but because
the other guy looks more "company" than you do, you get sore...and
rightfully so.

From: Robert J. Sheak
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 9:11 AM
Subject: Paul Hackett

"Dear Jazzolog,

"I would be reluctant to support Hackett over Brown and am happy that Pual
Hackett has withdrawn from the Ohio Senate race as the Democrat to oppose
DeWine in November. I don't know much about Hackett except from what I heard
him say at the Community Center a few weeks ago and from some of his
information on his campaign website.

"My impression is that Hackett did better than expected in a House race over
in the Cincinnati area. Paul explained his success in that race principally
as a result of his policies on 'privacy,' namely, that the government has no
right monkeying in the private affairs of citizens with respect to gun
ownership, reproductive choices, and sexual orientation. I don't recall him
discussing the NSA snooping, but he may well support the critics on this
point. His appeal in the House race probably had a lot to do with the seven
or so months he spent in Iraq. Beyond that I'm not sure what he stands for.
He wants to fix healthcare, make us 'energy independent,' keep jobs in Ohio,
get Osama, win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis, end rampant cronyism and
corruption in our politics (and did he suggest that we should let Israel
take care of our 'Iran' problem?), and so on. There are positions here that
I think I could support, depending on how they are developed, but there is
little substantive policy yet, mostly just a set of goals. Would he be a
progressive or a Clinton-big-business centrist? He does appear to support a
strong military and strong (militaristic?) foreign policy. To the extent
that Ohioans oppose the Iraq occupation, Hackett might have run as a symbol
of that opposition, though, as I say, I'm not clear what his exact policy
is. He might have garnered some support from this and from his opposition to
gun control.

"Anyway, Paul Hackett is rather inexperienced and he has yet to articulate
his policies in a substantive way. He would have done well to run again for
the House.

"Brown has a long progressive record and has the support of many liberal
groups and unions. He is a member of the Progressive Caucus in the House. If
there is any hope for genuine change from Washington it lies with the
relatively small groups of progressive Democrats in the House and Senate
(and Bernie Sanders). Brown has a record that can be scrutinized - and it is
exemplary. None of this means that he can beat DeWine, but nonetheless his
record and campaign offers us a well-established progressive option on the
war, military spending, taxes, Social Security, Medicare, corporate welfare,
reproductive rights, opposition to an imperial presidency, support for
progressive judges to the federal courts, support for labor law reform,
support for diplomacy and international law as priorities in foreign policy,
raising the minimum wage, support for a 'fair' trade policy (he published a
book last year on the Myths of Free Trade), a desire to reign in the power
of corporations, environmental policy (he has an exemplary voting record
here), and so on.

"I think you too easily dismiss the candidacy of Brown and may be caught up
in the idea that for some reason Hackett represents a breath of fresh air
and new and progressive dynamic in the Democratic Party. Perhaps. And I'm
not convinced that either of them could beat DeWine. But I am persuaded from
what I know that Brown offers a record and alternatives that are worth

Bob Sheak

I have no beef, Bob, with your thoughtful (as always) analysis of Brown vs.
Hackett---or of either of them against DeWine, especially in Ohio where we
don't even have a process of election that everyone has faith in. At
Hackett's presentation here in Athens, my question to him was based on the
loss to the Democratic Party of the working man and woman, a constituency
historically strongly Democratic. Since he had given evidence of his appeal
to such voters around Cincinnati, I wanted to know what his plan was to get
such people back on board through the rest of the state and nation. His
reply was he supports owning a gun. Maybe that's enough to get 'em back,
but it's not enough to win my wholehearted support.

Rebuilding a workforce in America to the point where it can share in private
and public administrative decision-making is a daunting task. If people in
this republic don't even see a problem with the hierarchy of kissass
cronyism that has replaced a more representative approach to negotiation on
the job, I think we're doomed. When people think of the '60s, probably we
tend now to hearken back to a degeneration of cultural values. If any of
that was true at all about the decade, it took place toward 1969...and on,
alas, through the '70s. In my view, the 1960s was a period of incredible
exploration and opportunity, especially in civil rights, political
participation, and representation at the workplace. New thinking in
veritably every field of endeavor was begun...but not completed. The 1970s
should have been a time of careful building, but the thread was lost and
opponents overthrew us and immediately diverted funding. I don't think the
answer to survival lies in sucking up to those guys.

The point of the Rolling Stone article was not in dissing Sherrod Brown. (I
know they called him an eagle scout.)
The thrust of it was about the confiding Paul Hackett did to the New York
Times in telling them it was the Democratic Party who asked him to quit. Is
it a coincidence that at the same time Eric Fingerhut stepped aside for Ted
Strickland in the gubernatorial candidacy? As the result, reigstered
Democrats get no choice in the primary...which is the only way most of us
have any voice in the direction of that political party, unless we each work
our way into the affections of the party hierarchy. You do that by
volunteering, schmoozing, and giving lots of money.

I understand there are factors of realpolitik at work here. The Democrats
want to look unified. Political debate has become something like the spat
going on yesterday between Petro and Blackwell. Infantile. At the same
time everything about campaigning is so expensive, they don't want to waste
any money on a primary run that could go into the election itself. We all
know the Republican coffers are full of corporate welfare money. I
understand that, but it's pitiful. Increasingly in our politics, the
regular guy (and nonbeneficiary of all those tax cuts) is being denied any
voice at all in what goes on. Then he's blamed for apathy...and at the same
time commanded to stand up for patriotism as his civic responsibility.
Nope, it's the process of election that is my civic responsibility...and the
denial of a primary choice is one more step into corruption.

Thanks for the replies, gentlemen,

jazzolog said...

Thank you those who are replying. I won't continue to pepper with birdshot the emailboxes of those who do not. If you're interested in keeping up this discussion without comment, let me know. (I do this blind-copy thing at the request of a couple of recipients.)

I'll stay out of this right now, except to say this: I understand politics is accomplished in the "back room"...or the board room, golf course, hunting trip, but I'm looking for a political party that at least will stand up to oppose it or confess it. Because the Republicans win with these techniques and lobbyist bribes doesn't mean the rest of us need to copy them. I like open debate and the flying fur of the primary. It's how we can clean out the back room. Or at least empty the ashtrays.

From: "Carolyn Fisk"
Cc: "David Whealey"; "Robert Sheak"; "Robert Whealey"
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 7:14 AM
Subject: Re: Democrats Shoot Themselves

>I was sorry to see Hackett quit on such a note, but if you will notice,
> republicans seldom have contested primaries and they win in the
> general. I think that's what we all want. Nobody ever talks about what
> goes on behind republican doors to eliminate candidates (or rarely), but
> you know there's arm twisting and worse than what the democrats did this
> week. For once, the dems seem to have a strategy to focus resources and
> maybe WIN in the fall. This is an election of immense proportions, as
> the party that holds the state this year will probably te the ones to
> control the next round of redistricting. Hackett just hasn't learned
> the political process yet, and it isn't always pretty. Carolyn Fisk

From: "News Room"
Cc: "Robert Sheak"; "Robert Whealey"; "David Whealey"
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 9:11 AM
Subject: Re: Democrats Shoot Themselves

> Can I jump into this issue? Here's a reply I sent to professor Steve
> Hays, who's angry about Hackett being forced out of the primary race.
> Plus I'll add something about Hackett's supposed great electability at
> the end.
> Steve, sorry if I sounded glib last night, but I can get pretty wound
> up about this issue, too. I'm a realist, and just think it's impulsive
> and reactionary to give up on a good candidate, Strickland, and the
> preferable party, the Democrats, based on routine behind-the-scenes
> political positioning. Backing the preferred party candidate, and
> pressuring the other guy to get out before the primary, is an American
> tradition that goes back decades and decades. I don't see anything
> wrong with it, if its motive is to position the fellow with the best
> chance of winning as the nominee. In this case, I think Brown is
> clearly the superior candidate in terms of manner and style,
> experience, electability and knowledge of the issues. Moreover, I
> believe Hackett, by "cutting and running" the way he did, illustrated
> exactly why he would have been a lousy candidate and senator. All he
> showed me, by petulantly "quitting politics forever," is that he wasn't
> suited for it in the first place.
> II guess I'm still pissed at the Naderites' self-indulgent reasoning in
> abandoning Kerry two years ago. By blithely ignoring the massive policy
> and character differences between Bush and Kerry, and following their
> "hearts," they opened the doors to the most incompetent and dangerous
> presidential administration in the last century. In my mind, that was
> stupendously irresponsible, and showed either a lack seriousness or
> knowledge about the actual issues we elect these people to decide upon.
> -- terry
> With regard to Hackett having a better chance of winning than DeWine,
> I think this is just naive. Have you all read some of the things this
> guy says on the record. He pretty much came out and told all
> evangelicals to f--- off, and is unapologetically in favor of gay
> marriage. I feel the same way, but I sure wouldn't boast about my
> positions on these issues if I had any expectation of running a
> competitive race in a state where "values" issues decided the last
> presidential election. Evangelicals and the religious right, who are
> wary of DeWine, are just looking for some reason to put aside their
> doubts and back him. Hackett would be that reason. Plus as Joe Klein
> suggested in his recent Newsweek column, Hackett doesn't have anywhere
> near the knowledge of the issues that Brown has. It's a "where's the
> beef" situation that Dems would have regretted. -- terry
> Terry Smith, editor
> The Athens News
> 740-594-8219
> Main e-mail:
> Alternet e-mail:

From: Robert J. Sheak
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:19 AM
Subject: Re: Democrats Shoot Themselves

Dear Richard,

I am sympathetic to your responses to this controversy. My understanding of the confusion over who was going to run in the Ohio Democratic Primary comes from Sherrod Brown's response to a question on the matter at his presentation here on campus. Brown said that when the Democratic leaders first asked him to run for the Senate seat, he was embroiled in serious family problems, including the serious illness of some family members and other issues. He turned them down. Subsequently, Hackett approached Brown and asked him to run his campaign or be a major person in it. Brown declined Hackett's offer. Then the problems in Brown's family improved and, when approached by the Democratic leaders again, Brown decided to mount his Senate campaign. As I have argued, I think that Brown is a fine candidate, has many years of political experience, and has a wonderful voting and political record. That does not mean that he, or any other Democrat, can beat DeWine, but he is a worthy candidate and deserves our support.

Hackett says that he withdrew his candidacy because the party leaders asked him to withdraw. But, if Hackett really has a mission and really believes that he can best appeal to voters across the state and beat DeWine, he should not have withdrawn. During his presentation at the Community Center, Hackett mentioned that a key fundraiser from the Howard Dean campaign was working for him. Hackett was optimistic about his ability to raise funds. Why then did he need the support of a few Democratic leaders? The Democratic Party is not a totalitarian organization. And perhaps Hackett would have been a relatively strong candidate - "fresh and independent" face and all that. Perhaps his military experience in Iraq, his opposition to any gun control law, his emphasis on having a strong military, would have overcome the Religious Right's objections to his support for choice and gay rights. Perhaps. But on many other issues that are important to Democrats and other citizens, he is a blank slate. And ,if elected, it is unclear how he would deal with the complexity and corporate influences of Washington.

If the fact that the Democratic leaders asked Hackett to withdraw from a primary in this Republican state where there is so much at stake, if this is enough to alienate some people from the Democratic Party and from the Brown candidacy, if Brown's record is irrelevant, if only "centrists" who waffle on key issues or who have no political record, and who feel a need to placate those with radical rightist views can be elected, then that is, ironically, politics as usual. If we aren't able to strengthen the progressive voice in the Senate and House, then there is no reason to be hopeful that we will ever be able to confront the multiple crises before us - the trade and budget debts, the militaristic foreign policy, the shredding of the safety net, the health care mess, the disregard for labor law or labor law reform, the corporate-biased trade agreements, the erosion of environmental laws, global warming, the need for genuine campaign finance reform, and so on. Bob

From: "loiswhealey"
To:; "Dana At PeoplePC"
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:34 PM
Subject: Re: Democrats Shoot Themselves

> Here is another Whealey. I agree with son David. Brown has the political
> experience one should expect of a Senator.
> Besides, why was Hackett so overly ambitious? He would have had a really
> good chance to unseat Jean Schmidt, I think.
> Lois whealey

jazzolog said...

There have been a few comments over the past several hours to this little forum, but perhaps most have expressed their positions and we may leave it at that. Some of you know Bryan Clark, up in Columbus. Hopefully when he puts his thoughts together on this issue, he'll include us...or let us know where he posted.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bryan Clark"
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 4:56 PM
Subject: RE: Democrats Shoot Themselves

> Keep me in the loop. I am in the (un)enviable position of having served as
> Paul's Field Director for the Senate campaign. It is interesting to see
> what folks outside the Hackett-sphere think of this move. I have my own
> thoughts, but probably should wait a few more days before sharing them more
> widely...

Robert Whealey, OU Emeritus Associate Professor of History, had this reply for us...or for me, I guess~~~

From: "Robert Whealey"
Cc: "Terry Smith"; "Lois Whealey"; "Robert Sheak"; "David Whealey"
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 5:32 PM
Subject: Re: Democrats Shoot Themselves

> Dear Richard,
> You say, "I'm looking for a political party that at least will stand up to
> oppose it or confess it." Ministers, Rabbis and Priests, philosophers and
> historians can do this on an individual basis.
> Politics is a collective activity. "It is the art of the possible."
> Politicians seek power, but they cover themselves with some morality. The
> voter always has the choice of voting for three or four top issues and
> avoiding all of the sin which goes on in the "smoke filled room", or should
> we say-- in the bar room.
> I never thought Hackett was a saint, he was simply a better choice that
> Mike DeWine, who seems to be a clone of George Bush.
> Robert Whealey
> Historian

Well, I guess it's unrealistic and careless of me to expect "a political party" to admit it plays backroom politics and uses "kingmaker" techniques. I'm not alone, however, in feeling increased devotion to 3rd party temptations, and was very impressed with how the Greens continued the fight long after the Democrats caved to prove a corrupt election in Ohio in 2004. Paul Hackett showed the same kind of straight-from-the-shoulder candor that David Cobb did, I thought, and the willingness to fight beyond what the big party bosses had to say. While I realize the Greens are "inexperienced" too, especially with Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, and the other secret groups of world domination, many voters feel we have to start somewhere. After Kerry, with whom most of us on the Left never were satisfied, we're going to have a much harder time keeping our votes in the Democratic column.

To Bob's comment, faithful, fearless and tireless Democratic worker Carolyn Fisk had this to say~~~

From: "Carolyn Fisk"
To: "Robert Whealey"
Cc:; "Terry Smith"; "Lois Whealey"; "Robert Sheak"; "David Whealey"
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 5:37 PM
Subject: Re: Democrats Shoot Themselves

> I'm looking for a party that shares most of my values and also WINS
> elections. Sometimes the process isn't what we want, but I want my guys
> to WIN. Carolyn Fisk

Yeah, and that's what's going to be hitting 3rd party candidates again in 2008. Why then can't mainstream Democrats anticipate and work directly with the mounting dissatisfaction here in the grassroots? I know Howard Dean is out there, but does he really speak for your local Democratic Party leadership? Who feels there's any unity or direction in the Democrats right now? The whole country is waiting for someone besides John Conyers to make a move!

George Buddy has one of the interesting blogs I try to check everyday and he's one of the people outside the state who's listening in to this conversation~~~

From: George Buddy
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 5:43 PM
Subject: Re: Democrats Shoot Themselves

Richard, being at a disadvantage here because I'm not in Ohio! I've spent a lifetime in the state legislature in PA. Assuming there's a similarity in all politics, all I can say is that things have gone down hill in that period of time say 1972. Money makes everybody very conservative! But the conversation is interesting with all those "professors" so keep 'em coming!!!

Bill Price is too~~~

From: "Bill Price"
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 10:24 PM
Subject: RE: Democrats Shoot Themselves

> I'm following the discussion, but not commenting. Keep me in the loop.
> Bill Price,
> Sierra Club EJ Resource Coordinator, Central Appalachia
> 922 Quarrier Street, Suite 304
> Charleston, WV 25301
> Phone 304-342-3182
> Fax 304-342-3183
> Cell 304-389-8822
> E-mail

Come to think of it, we have the start of a wonderful little coalition right here! Enjoy the long weekend folks!