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The Tally Ho

Friday, March 24, 2006

Cegelis, Hacket, and the Primary; Even more Kevin Phillips!

I realized that the IL Primary was on Tuesday, and for the first time since moving I didn't pay attention. And why should I, Elwood does a fantastic job at doing that. But over at MyDD, Matt Stoller offered his thoughts on Cegelis and the primary. Read the whole post, but the part that I found most important was this
Now, just so I don't leave anyone out in my post getting everyone angry, let me say that Cegelis proved that Paul Hackett was a coward. Hackett refused to put his choice to the voters, and Cegelis did. And this is because Hackett didn't believe in the people working for him. He didn't believe in the grassroots and the volunteers. He didn't like doing call time, so he blamed party leadership for kneecapping him and refused to organize. And then he went on a bunch of TV shows to announce his decision before coming onto the blogs, and we were his first supporters. Cegelis did the most honorable thing possible. She didn't have Hackett's advantages. She is not nationally known, she didn't have Hollywood throwing money at her. And she had a hell of a lot more firepower arrayed against her, the whole Chicago machine as against a few phone calls from Chuck Schumer. But she organized and gave the finger to the establishment that tried to crush her.

I'm not concerned with the Machine or a Chuck Schumer-Paul Hackett cage match, but I like Stoller's point. I often hear the left and other activists constantly knock the Democratic Party for being corporate DLCers, not being liberal or progressive enough, not speaking for them, being on the outside and all the rest of the tired talk. Yes, our system has not provided a stable and useful third party - but we have primaries, and activists vote in primaries. If you don't like the Democratic Party candidates support an alternative and challenge for open seats or knock off an incombent. The fact that Hackett didn't even try to beat out Sherrod Brown is disappointing. This brings me to the latest Kevin Phillips post over at TPM Cafe (while you are there, check out After the Leeves). Phillips writes
I apologize for a tight schedule and internet-denied Thursday that has kept me from posting, but one last thought. I believe that Democrats and liberals in 2006 stand to have their greatest opportunity since 1992 (which was lost). You will have the substa ntial support of many lapsed Republicans and doubters of Bush conservatism like myself. But I also have the sense that many Democrats and liberals have an instinct for for the capillaries, not for the jugular. If that leads to failure in 2006, there will be a majorprice to pay, not just for theUnited States but in terms of the credibility of your party and movement.

6 Comments:

  • What does Cegelis have to do with Hackett?

    I really think that calling Hackett a coward is way over the top. You can call him a "quitter" but a coward crosses the line.

    I would NEVER call a marine who put his life on the line for his country a coward. I hated when Mean Jean said it and I hated when Matt Stoller said it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:17 PM  

  • I agree about calling Hackett a coward too. But what I was saying is that I agree with Stoller on this - Cegelis didn't drop out and only lost by 4 points against the candidate the party wanted. Even if they didn't want Hackett anymore he could have been competative and possibly won. I always hear complaints about the party but seats are unchallenged and turnout for a primary is low. Why not challenge?

    By Blogger Wells, at 6:32 PM  

  • I think that there was a TREMENDOUS PUSH to get Hackett out of the race that just wasn't there against Cegelis.

    The DCCC just recruited the candidate they wanted (Duckworth) and gave her money and support. There was very little backroom machinations going on against Cegelis. They did not try to dry up her money or do a whisper campaign against her.

    Also, Rahm Emmanuel and Nancy Pelosi did not call her up and beg her to get out of the race. The DCCC in this case just supported the candidate they wanted.

    Hackett's situation on the other hand was much more different. Both Emmanuel's and Pelosi's equivalents in the Senate (Schumer and Reid) personally called Hackett several times to get out of the race for the good of the party. (If the Senate Minority leader doesn't want you, I suspect it would be hard to stay in). Also, many other Senators and Congressmen also called Hackett to get out of the race.

    Plus all the well documented backroom machinations that Hackett endured (that Cegelis wasn't privy too) drove him out of the race.

    I am sure that Hackett, who is a novice to politics and only entered the Senate race because he was begged by Schumer and Reid, probably said this is some bullshit and NOT worth it. He had just came back from Iraq and had been campaigning non-stop, first for the House then the Senate. He never really had time to just relax with his family.

    So the difference between the two candidates is extremely large: one was just overlooked and the other was shoved out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:48 PM  

  • For the record - Cegelis was the candidate who lost this district last time. I know a lot of people from TUC (my hippie activist church) who live in that district and most were for Cegelis, but not all. Tammy Duckworth, who beat Cegeils in the primary, was probably the better candidate to win a fairly Republican district. She is an anti-war veteran who lost both her legs in Iraq. Given the opportunity, I would have voted for her too. She is more similar to Hackett than Sherrod Brown. I'm disappointed by the Brown nomination, too - he was party chair during the collapse of the Ohio Democratic Party. Why didn't they run Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman?

    But as for Duckworth v. Cegelis, I've come to have a certain respect for the Democratic machine. They tend to nurture minority candidates from a young age and they value street-level activists - when people complain about the Democratic Party, they are wishing it was more like the Machine, not less like it.

    By Blogger Elwood Grobnik, at 9:31 PM  

  • I think the point about Cegelis was that she had the Machine and the Washington Dems against her - and only won by 4 points. I'm no longer familiar with IL politics, so I am probably wrong on this, but in a traditional GOP district to have so many advantages and have that narrow of a win? Are most IL primaries tight?

    Thanks for all the info regarding Hackett. I don't have a lot of free cash at the moment - but I would have donated to Paul Hackett. I am certain he would have beaten DeWine. I am familiar with Rob Portman's old district (any bets that Portman is the GOP VP candidate in '08?), and only losing by 4 points there was nothing short of amazing. I think he had a good formula for those bright red districts.

    By Blogger Wells, at 11:12 PM  

  • obviously i mean that Cegelis only lost by 4...

    By Blogger Wells, at 11:12 PM  

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