The Backstabbers

Here's yet another story that is sadly characteristic of the Bush Imperium: the complete and utter breakdown in backbone of the so-called "opposition" party. We'll skip the polite headline use by the New York Times and title the story according to its truth: Democratic Leaders Force Democrat Who Actually Talks Like a Democrat to Quit Race Due to Lack of Deference and Decorum Toward the Dear Leader and Insufficient Sucking Up to Corporate Elites.

Words are simply inadequate to describe these sad sacks of shinola, or limn the monstrous betrayal of the Republic they have wrought by their cringing acquiesence and petty, piping, process-obsessed impotence in the face of the brutal Bush machine. It's so hard for those of us raised as die-hard, "yellow dawg" Democrats to witness the decades-long degradation of the party into this rabble of lapdogs and losers. But personal feelings aside, it is a tragedy for the entire nation that in a two-party system, the only party that – occasionally -- stood up for the welfare of the common people and the primacy of the Constitution has collapsed into slavish irrelevance at the moment of maximum peril.

From the NYT: 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.

Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.

"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…"

Mr. Redfern [Ohio party chairman] added that Mr. Brown's fund-raising abilities made him the better Senate candidate. By the end of last year, Mr. Brown had already amassed $2.37 million, 10 times what Mr. Hackett had raised…

Mr. Hackett said he was unwilling to run for the Congressional seat because he had given his word to three Democratic candidates that he would not enter that race. "The party keeps saying for me not to worry about those promises because in politics they are broken all the time," said Mr. Hackett, who plans to return to his practice as a lawyer in the Cincinnati area. "I don't work that way. My word is my bond…"

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."

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