Chris Bowers has a class theory about the brouhaha over Paul Hackett’s withdrawal from the Ohio senate race (and which BooMan wrote up very well earlier today):
… The real reason so many people are upset that Hackett left the race has less to do with ideology than it has to do with the ongoing class war within the world of progressive activists. Online, Hackett’s support came primarily from those activists who have very little power within the progressive movement as a whole: the working class within the progressive movement. By contrast, Sherrod Brown’s support came from the aristocracy within the progressive movement: those who, like Charles Schumer and Rahm Emmanuel, have a lot of power over the direction of the progressive movement. Class, in this sense and in the world to which I am applying the term, is not determined by income. Rather, it is determined by power and ownership over the progressive movement. The outrage comes from the generally accurate perception among the progressive activist working class that the progressive activist aristocracy used their vastly greater power to remove Hackett from the race in favor of Brown. The outrage comes from the fact that, like in IL-06, they made this decision on behalf of a candidate of their choosing without consulting the progressive activist working class. …Read all
First, in fairness to Chris Bowers, he has written a detailed, highly thoughtful explanation — and it’s long — of his views that anyone who wishes to comment should first read in full.
Second, this so much reminds me of us Howard Dean activists in 2003 and 2004.
Just today, I had to put up with someone who felt impelled to inform me – as if I didn’t know – that Howard Dean had received a high rating from the NRA. Yes, even I – this apparent “bumpkin” who just “fell off the turnip truck” – even I knew that. In fact, here in the hinterlands, we thought that that was a plus. Our big issue was the Iraq War, and we understood Dean’s position as a governor in a rural state about the gun debate. We also understood that Dean — like any sane person — wasn’t for free sales of machine guns, for chrissakes.
This bumpkin, after all, had heard dozens of locals tell me in 2000 that they couldn’t vote for Al Gore because he’d “take away their guns.” That was one lie that I knew they couldn’t pull off on Howard Dean.
But we “bumpkins,” as we’re often regarded by the intelligentsia of the party, do GET IT. We understand that we can compromise on certain issues. We liked Dean’s outsider status. We liked his bald frankness. We liked his attacks on the Democrat Party. We loved it that the party elites didn’t like him. We despised the party elites who tried to kill his campaign.
Hillary likes to talk about how the Bush administration is playing the “fear card” with the American public — like last week when Bush let slip supposedly classified information about a planned Al Qaeda attack on Los Angeles (if true, a serious breach of classified information used for political purposes).
Guess what. The Democratic party intelligentsia like to pull the same “fear” shit on us. I was astounded by the mealy-mouthed Democrats who came out of the woodwork (i.e., I’d never seen them at a Dem event here ever) to vote at our local caucuses for John Kerry. Why? Because they had been TOLD to be afraid of Howard Dean’s candidacy, and that Kerry was the only electable choice. We challenged their reasoning in our caucus discussions, and they didn’t have a single positive thing to say about Kerry except that they were afraid.
The utilization of fear can go both ways. We can make the elites scared of messing with us.
I’m not sure I’m with MoveOn’s campaign to challenge to right-wing Democrats in primaries. Don’t get me wrong. This is definitely on our list of “must do’s.” But, I don’t want us to put the cart before the horse. My theory has been to first get majorities back in Congress, and then lower the boom on the right-wing Democrats. Because then — as one of the best bridge players in the world once advised me — we’ll be operating from a position of strength, and we’ll have the majority safety net to let us open the floodgates on these DINOs.
I do not know which story is accurate about Paul Hackett’s withdrawal. And I’ve already realized that we’ll probably never know — objectively — what went down. But the Rahm Emanuels and Reids and Schumers need to ask Jean Schmidt’s weak Dem primary opponents to step aside and get Paul Hackett in there. Hackett can beat Schmidt. I know it in my bones. Paul’s the kind of candidate we are thirsting for. And it’ll make this bumpkin feel good about the Democrats. ‘nuf said.