T Nation

Career Politicians


Truly sad. I may have disagreed with a few of his points w/r/t the Iraq war, but it's really sad to see a good man get thrown under the bus like this by his own party.

Paul Hacket served his country as a Marine in Iraq and I think he is serving his country again in writing this piece calling out career politicians. He was actively pursued to run for public office by his party and when it suited his party, he was tossed asside by career politicians. Absolutely shameful IMHO.

And lest anyone think I'm being niave and only slamming the Dems, the problems of career politicians running this country off course certainly isn't limited to one party. Both parties are chuck full of individuals who have never made a living off of anything but the public payrolls, and if they ever did, it's been a long time.

This represents a real problem for me as positions in the government were never meant to be a career. I personally would like to see individuals from the "real world", individuals like Paul Hacket(even if I disagree with him in some areas), serve our country instead of career guys like Ted Kennedy.

I realize that I could be potentialy opening pandora's box here w/r/t campaign finance reform, term limits, etc. However this country needs to address these concerns agressively if our great experiment in self government is to get back on track and continue to be great.

Agressive term limits could possibly go along way on this as well as getting the Abromofs of the political world out of the politicians pockets. I'd like to get everyone elses take on this.

I'll get off my soapbox now, sorry :wink:


Damn, while on my soapbox I forgot to post Mr. Hacket's article :slight_smile:


Culture of careerism scuttled a political bid

By Paul Hackett

When I got back from Iraq last year on March 18 after a seven-month combat tour with the First Marine Division in exotic cities like Ramadi and Fallujah, my wife arranged for a small group of friends and family to meet me at the Cincinnati airport. There, a good friend told me that U.S. Rep. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) was about to resign and that I should run for the seat in southwest Ohio where I live and grew up. At first I thought he was kidding.

But as I stood there in my desert utilities, tears running down my cheeks, my wife next to me, one kid on each leg and one in my arms for the first time in almost eight months, I thought of my service in Iraq, and the idea made sense. Service in Congress, as I saw it, would be a natural extension of service to my country in Iraq.

It has taken me 11 months to finally make it home from that scene at the airport. What I learned in the process is that, even though I'm a big Bruce Springsteen fan, I was not born to run. Serve yes, run for office no.
Somewhere along the way I became something I'm not: a political rock star. But I only wanted to help my country.
While I didn't win the special election for the House seat, democracy triumphed. For the first time in more than two decades, Second District voters had a real choice.

I was OK with the voters choosing my opponent, Jean Schmidt, and happy to head back to my private life. Our campaign invigorated the Democrats in a state where the party had fallen on hard times. With the special election, we began to believe our party could return to brighter days by returning to our roots: limited government, fiscal responsibility, strong national defense, and fair trade. Think of the party of FDR that with its blood, sweat and sacrifice fought to forge a 20th-century world-leading nation.

After the special election, the phone kept ringing, and I was soon being recruited to run against U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, a two-term Republican incumbent, by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), the party's point man for this year's Senate races. I was flattered, but I really did want to get back home, literally and figuratively. After seven months in Iraq followed by five months on the campaign trail, I had a good life waiting for me.
The calls kept coming. Schumer and Reid said, "Your country needs you." We Marines take service to country seriously. Leadership, service, commitment.

Their wives called my wife with the same message. Several "career politicians" looked at this race and declined to take on DeWine, including my eventual primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown. Despite the odds, I was willing to take up the challenge.

For me the Senate race was another opportunity to serve my country and my party. Maybe together we could turn the corner. Maybe I could help the Democratic Party become a new and vibrant party. Maybe I could help lead us back to the party that doesn't simply aspire to deliver greatness but the party that actually has the commitment, leadership and will to fight for what it believes in: peace, prosperity and the freedoms that define America.

In the end it wasn't meant to be, and I was confronted with the clash between my culture of service, commitment and leadership, and the politicians' culture of careerism.
Was I screwed? Maybe, but that's life. There were a lot of political machinations, mostly behind the scenes. Much made its way into the press, including an ugly whisper campaign regarding my service in Iraq perpetrated by Brown. Brown has denied this, but county party chairmen told me about the rumors and where they were coming from. Brown had initially told me he would support my Senate campaign but then changed his mind. Again, a clash of cultures. That's politics. But that's not me.

My word is my bond.

Schumer and Reid, the guys who said my country needs me, had a change of heart. There was never any explanation given. Schumer, in particular, actively sought to undermine my insurgent campaign, in part by calling up my donors and telling them not to raise money for me, which is like a doctor cutting off oxygen to a patient. He also worked through others to get state and local politicians to publicly urge me to quit.

Again, that's politics. Was it worth it? You bet. In less than 11 months, we changed the debate on Iraq, inspired at least 11 other Iraq vets and countless non-vets to run for Congress, and invigorated a state Democratic Party to believe in itself again.
Now let's all believe again, in the promise of America, the last great hope for peace, equality and freedom.



I am totally with you on this issue bro!

I have longed said that what we really need in this country is TERM LIMITS for Congress as well as for state and local representatives. If getting elected and then staying elected is the major object of someone's "career," then what is in the best interests of the people is necessarily secondary.

Unfortunately, unless the people force this issue, term limits will not happen. Too many political "fat cats" won't let it.



We really need to force this issue! The question is how. Other than writing bitchy emails to my representitives, what else can the average Joe do?



I just finished a book called TERM LIMITS in which some ex-SEALS started offing politicians in order to get them to get the country back on track. It was a fun read.


This stuff happens in both parties all the time.

Hackett has such a high profile that political junkies know all about it.

The Democratic party is truely disgraceful and completely in the wrong!


Hackett withdrew from the race on his own. Nobody forced him to do anything. He pulled out on his own decision. And anyway he wasn't running against a career politician in that race anyway, so I don't see how the Hackett situation fits into the subject title. Bottom line is that Hackett was behind in the polls and way behind in fund raising. I'd like to see real campaign finance reform so that we can take the money out of politics, but nobody in power seems to want that.

If you guys want to support an Iraqi vet for office, there are about 50 of them running for office in November, all over America. Funny how soldiers coming back from Iraq want to run as Democrats. I don't know of any Iraqi vets who are running as Republicans, do you?


I bet we will see the right wing extremists try to slime some of these democrats with swift boat tactics, this November.


He pulled out because the top Democrats sabotaged his money raising efforts. No money = no chance of winning.

To claim he withdrew on his own is silly. The only way to withdraw from a race is on your own. Nobody else can do it for you although slimy bastards like Schumer can sabotage your effort.

Big black eye for the Democrats. No wonder they keep losing elections.


Shumer and Reid had Hackets money redirected to Brown. Simple as that. You're right, nobody forced him to do anything, they chose to leave him drift in the wind after they pulled the rug out from underneath him.

I do like the way Hacket summed up the Dems though:

[i]?The Democratic Party is like an addict,? he says. ?They?re addicted to failure. I want to help the party. The question is, how do you help someone that doesn?t want help??

-Paul Hacket[/i]


Hackett was clearly behind in the polls, so instead of funding a losing candidate, the democratic party put their funds behind the guy with an obvious lead. That sounds pretty smart to me.

Politics is a contact sport, Hackett should stop whining and think about whether he really has the fortitude for politics. Pulling out and then stabbing the party in the back indicates he isn't serious about a political career.

The democrats have a great candidate in that race, who has more experience and a better shot at winning, than Paul Hackett had.



Shall we wager on your candidate winning in Ohio?