Hackett drops out

"Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran and popular Democratic candidate in Ohio's closely watched Senate contest, said yesterday that he was dropping out of the race and leaving politics altogether as a result of pressure from party leaders." -- Any time Democrats don't eat each other is a moment to behold. But what's this pressure to not run?

Hackett: "This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me... For me, this is a second betrayal. First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me." Oh, it's all so screwed up. Somewhere between Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer Hackett got squeezed out of shape. They should have listened David Sirota on October 7, 2005, when he made the reasonable suggestion that Hackett run for the House again.

Apparently, Hackett "plans to return to his practice as a lawyer in the Cincinnati area."

In other news, Ralph Nader has a nice oped published on CounterPunch today that sums up the righteousness and wrongeousness of the Nader brand of politics -- he's right and it won't work. He knows this. What his piece does is make a rational recommendation to the new Fed chief Bernanke to do seven things to bring greater transparency to our Federal Reserve. These are seven totally sane and reasonable things that Bernanke should do. But what's insane is that Nader's solution -- and pretty much every reform-minded groups' cookie-cutter format solution out there takes this unfortunate turn: "Should you be so inclined, you can write to Chairman Bernanke and urge him to adopt these seven policies of openness at the Federal Reserve: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, 20 & C St NW, Washington, D.C. 20551. Or, you can call the Federal Reserve switchboard at 202.452.3000, or visit www.federalreserve.gov." That Nader should make this recommendation after experiencing what he has in Washington is totally insane. I mean it. Insane; fucking crazy. Why?

Because write-in advocacy like this more or less stopped working during Gerald Ford & Jimmy Carter's presidency. Nader knows this most of all because he was the best there ever was at using citizen write-in campaigns to push his bad-ass civic causes into law and signed by the President. He got Nixon to create the EPA! A lot of folks who urge us to do the same in daily e-mails for progressive causes in DC are copying Nader's technique. And the following is a mixture of my own observations and personal accounts I've been told: Ever wonder why, after a Babe Ruth-like career as an advocate, Nader decided to run for political office? Because DC stopped working the way he understood it to. Increasingly his lobbying, his ideas, his staff weren't relevant. Not only was he quoted less and invited to fewer hearings, but his quotes mattered less and the same went for hearing testimony -- even as the call-ins and write-ins kept piling in. Fast forward the years of irrelevance, and we come to his great act of desperation: running for the presidency. Unfortunately his political vocabulary and mind were too entrenched in tinkering reform language. And so were his followers.

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