Fuck the non-establishment candidates, and they'll walk.
Mr. Hackett staged a surprisingly strong Congressional run last year in an overwhelmingly Republican district and gained national prominence for his scathing criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq War. It was his performance in the Congressional race that led party leaders to recruit him for the Senate race.
But for the last two weeks, he said, state and national Democratic Party leaders have urged him to drop his Senate campaign and again run for Congress.
"This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me," said Mr. Hackett, whose announcement comes two days before the state's filing deadline for candidates. He said he was outraged to learn that party leaders were calling his donors and asking them to stop giving and said he would not enter the Second District Congressional race.
"For me, this is a second betrayal," Mr. Hackett said. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me." This just goes to show that the Democratic candidates all must represent the Democratic Party first, and the people second.
I know nothing about Hackett, really, and his dropping out makes no difference to me. Frankly, I'm suspicious of the so-called "fighting Dems" and this notion that having worn a uniform automatically makes one a worthy legislator. But Party maneuvers like this make one wonder why the Party even pretends to have primaries.
Asked about Mr. Hackett's contention that he had been pressed to leave the Senate race, a spokesman for Mr. Schumer, Phil Singer, said, "We've told both Sherrod Brown and Paul Hackett that avoiding a primary will make it easier to win the Ohio Senate seat, " but he added, "Obviously, the decision to run is Mr. Hackett's and Mr. Hackett's alone."Spoken like true lawyers. You believe them, don't you?
Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate races for the Cook Political Report, said that part of what made Democratic leaders nervous about Mr. Hackett was what had also made him so popular with voters.
"Hackett is seen by many as a straight talker, and he became an icon to the liberal bloggers because he says exactly what they have wished they would hear from a politician," Ms. Duffy said. "On the other hand, the Senate is still an exclusive club, and the party expects a certain level of decorum that Hackett has not always shown."
Mr. Hackett was widely criticized last year for using indecent language to describe President Bush. Last month, state Republicans attacked Mr. Hackett for saying their party had been hijacked by religious extremists who he said "aren't a whole lot different than Osama bin Laden."
Though Republicans called for an apology, Mr. Hackett repeated the mantra of his early campaign: "I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it."No wonder the Democrats are afraid of him. He might actually have a chance at winning, and then where would all the high-paid D.C. consultants be?