Sunday, July 31, 2005

Ohio 2nd

The special election in the Ohio 2nd congressional district is Tuesday, August 2. Democrat Paul Hackett is running a tight race against the Republican Jean Schmidt. Given that this is probably one of the most Republican districts in the state, this is pretty interesting.

It’s also got its own dynamics. Ms. Schmidt is, by all accounts, a Bush-suck-up and, via this clip from Hardball (via AMERICAblog and Crooks and Liars), you can see for yourself that she’s not only a fount of RNC talking points and such, but she’s not exactly, uh, stable.

The Cincinnati Enquirer endorses Schmidt. Duh. The Enquirer is slightly to the right of Der Volkischer Beobachter. But they do it with the sort of contorted logic that has become the hallmark of Republican talking points, including this howler; “Schmidt is a fiscal conservative who supports continuing President Bush’s tax cuts to grow the economy and favors measures to attract businesses to the 2nd District” — those wonderful fiscal conservatives who grew the deficit to levels undreamed up by the most rabid New Dealer — and the endorsement isn’t exactly ringing:

…Hackett is an attractive candidate with many qualities to admire. An attorney who lives in Indian Hill, he returned recently from military duty with the Marines in Iraq, where he led a civil affairs unit.

He is bright, personable and charismatic, with an aura of leadership. That he put a comfortable career on hold and put himself at great risk to serve his country merits our respect and thanks.

By attracting a base of loyal supporters who are passionate about sending him to Washington, Hackett has revitalized Democrats’ prospects in a region where two-party competition has been lacking for many years.

We hope the trend continues. Truly contested races tend to bring defining issues to the fore, inspire the best in both candidates, and make the winner more responsive and accountable.

Their basic concern with Hackett is that he would use his seat in Congress as a national platform. Like that never happens with Republicans (vis. Rep. Tom DeLay.)

The Cincinnati Post endorses Hackett.

Hackett, in our view, is a gust of fresh air. If we had to put a label on him, it would be Libertarian Democrat. He says what he thinks and doesn’t seem to have much use for the orthodoxy, or the partisanship, of either party. He doesn’t want the government telling him what kinds of guns he can own, nor does he want it interfering in family or medical decisions or taking away civil liberties in the name of fighting terror. He regards Social Security more as an insurance program than a retirement savings plan, but wants to put it on a sound footing and would raise the earnings ceiling if necessary to do so.

If elected, he notes, he would be the only member of Congress with direct military experience in Iraq – which, he says, is a fight we should end as soon as possible. He wants to finish the job and get out, and he wants the United States to stop holding hands with Pakistan and to get serious about tracking down those responsible for the 9-11 attacks.

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.

Their concern with Schmidt is that she would be more of the same kind of representation that the Ohio 2nd has had since time out of mind, and that having a congressman with a national platform is not necessarily a bad thing. It is, after all, how things get done.