This diary is inspired by something I heard toward the end of Ohio 2nd’s interview with Paul Hackett. I think a lot of people feel the need to do something in response to Washington insiders’ power play against Hackett. And while there’s a certain appeal to putting Chuck Schumer’s name on a “dead to me” board, it would probably be better to find a positive focus for that energy. And then do the “dead to me” board.

This is not an endorsement. I don’t know enough about the race to do that. But from what Paul Hackett said about Subodh Chandra (see below) I thought it might be a cause worth looking into.

Ohio 2nd: Okay, look. Ohio is so screwed up–the numbers are so bad for Ohio, and yet the Republicans control everything, and the poll numbers put the Democrats as doing no better than Republicans. What are we missing? What is the Democratic party missing that we’re not selling ourselves?

Hackett: Well, I would even go further to say that the poll numbers don’t even have the Democrats today keeping pace with the Republicans. And that’s the challenge to the Democratic party and the Democratic candidates to have a message, and to meet the challenge of inspiring people to participate in that message and adopt that message, and see the light of that message. And then when you get done with that, as a Democrat, go find the Independents and moderate Republicans that it will take to get elected statewide. And if you are incapable as a candidate or as a party in attracting the interest and then developing that interest and exciting that interest, we’re going to fail again.

I’m not saying we are going to fail again, I’m saying if you fail to do those things, we will surely fail again!

Ohio 2nd: Are you seeing the Democrats doing that? I’m missing it.

Hackett: As a statewide party, no. On the campaign trail, I’ve seen out there examples of those who seem to me at least to be making that connection, and whether or not they will get the support of the Democratic party statewide behind them in order to get the victory, that’s a totally different conversation.

Ohio 2nd: Like who?

Hackett: Sibodh Chandra. And I like Sibodh and I like Mark Dann. I like ’em both and I’m not endorsing.  I’m just saying Sibodh is a classic example of a guy who’s an outsider, even though he’s been elected and has been involved in politics, he’s generally viewed as an outsider. Doesn’t have a profile that superficially generates the support that my profile superficially generates. And, that’s wrong. Because he’s smart–again, I’m not endorsing him over Mark Dann–but just by way of example. He’s smart, he’s articulate, and he’s experienced and eminently qualified to be Attorney General.  That, again, is not to suggest that Mark Dann is not, but he does not generate the internal party support because he’s Indian and therefore the assumption is that he cannot connect in the rural counties, and he’s simply not a party insider. So he’s not getting the support that he would otherwise receive.

Ohio 2nd: Now, you turn off the microphones and you talk to Democratic insiders, and you ask them about Chandra and Blackwell and stuff like that, and the assumption is that, when you get right down to it, most Ohio voters are racists, and they’ll vote based on skin color. And that’s the real tactic of how we’re going to win and why Chandra would never win. Is Ohio really that racist?

Hackett: You know, I don’t think so. I don’t really agree with that presumption.

Ohio 2nd: I mean, I’ve heard it a lot. Am I know only person that’s heard it?

Hackett: I don’t know. I don’t know how then you explain the success of a Ken Blackwell based on that very, forgive me, superficial premise.  I mean, he’s been involved in local and statewide politics for decades, successfully. So, I don’t know. Maybe there’s code language involved that I’m not giving credit to. I would hope that Ohio is not that racist.

Ohio 2nd: So you think that when push comes to shove and somebody’s as qualified as Chandra and as charismatic as Chandra, if he went before Ohio for statewide office, you think he could do it?

Hackett: I think with a supportive party he could, yeah.

Ohio 2nd: I absolutely do. I mean, it would take a lot of energy, but I think it could happen.

Hackett: He’s got it. He’s got the energy.

Ohio 2nd: But it’s not going to happen.

Hackett: My gut tells me that as well.

Ohio 2nd: He’s not getting the support at all.

Hackett: That’s my sense as well. I suspect that in the last couple of weeks he’s been getting pressure similar to mine, albeit probably not on the same national scale that I’ve been getting it.

Ohio 2nd: Well, then what can you attribute that to besides racism?

Hackett: I think to go back to the Blackwell example, he’s an outsider running against an insider. And again, I’m not trying to cryptically bang on Mark Dann. We’ve just fallen on this obvious example of an insider versus an outsider.

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