Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Taking Back Congress Starts Next Week In Ohio

We all know that it's going to be a long road to get back both houses of Congress in 2006, but we may get a big boost in Ohio's Second Congressional District on August 2. Democrat Paul Hackett, a former Marine and very-recent Iraq war veteran, is running in a special election to replace Republican Rob Portman, who resigned in the spring to become President Bush's U.S. Trade Representative.

His Republican opponent is Jean Schmidt and, boy, is she a doozy. She's President of Greater Cincinnati Right to Life and is the chair of that group's political action committee (PAC). She's endorsed by the National Rifle Association, the National Right to Life PAC, the Family First PAC and the Ohio Pro-Family Network PAC.

She also proudly displays pictures of her with George W. Bush and House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert on her web site.

What's not to love?

Hackett, who came back from Iraq just this year after duty that included combat in the Fallujah campaign, is a mainstream Democrat who doesn't believe in how Iraq is being handled, is strongly pro-choice and even
drives a hybrid car!

Of the Iraq war, Hackett says "I was against the war. It was a misuse of our military that damaged our credibility throughout the world and squandered our political capital."

He is also strongly in favor of greater efforts to reduce national energy use.

"There’s no doubt we can develop cost-effective alternatives that will reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. It’s the right thing to do. We just need the will to do it," says Hackett. "A few months back, when the gas topped out at $2.40 or $2.50, I didn’t pay that price. I was in Iraq. I saw how high the price really was."

Hackett also differs considerably from his anti-choice opponent, who believes any abortion should be a crime. "I don't know anybody who thinks abortion is a good thing," said Hackett. "But let's keep it safe, legal and rare."

Not only is Hackett our party's chance to take back a Republican congressional seat, but one that was held by a real stand-up guy for the right-wing. Portman served as the Bush campaign's communications director for Ohio. He also helped coach Vice President Dick Cheney for his debates, both in 2000 and again in 2004.

But, as regular as clockwork, you can count on the Republican slime machine to be deployed when it looks like they might lose one. Tell me if this line of attack, coming from Schmidt's senior campaign advisor, Eric Minamyer, sounds familiar:

"I understand that Hackett did not participate in combat at all. It is still dangerous over there as I can personally attest. Let's just not act as though we led marines in combat if we did not, okay... I have asked the question time and again, what role did he actually play? Given all the opportunities he has had to say 'I served in combat' one fair conclusion is that he did not."
Shades of the Swift Boat Liars! Fortunately, they have limited time to affect the outcome with this routine (for them) smear.

And Hackett is beginning to pick up important newspaper endorsements like the one yesterday from the Cincinnati Post.

"We like Hackett's candor. We're impressed with the freshness of his ideas. We believe his experience shows him to be someone who is action-oriented," said the Post in its endorsement.

Be sure to watch the news for this on Tuesday. Let's get this movement started.