Hackett ran a fierce and aggressive campaign that focused on the Iraq war. The DCCC in a memo sent out to Congressional Democrats about the race failed to even mention the role of Iraq in the election. Abe argued several weeks ago that Democrats needed to "stop criticizing the initial decision to invade Iraq." Hackett is the proof that this idea is wrong, for it was the central feature in his campaign, as Sirota notes:
The fact is that while polls show that Americans seem willing to consider changing party control in Washington, that won't happen if Democrats basically ignore almost every serious issue, whether it be the war or economic issues. It will happen if more Democrats take strong stands - stands that the public clearly supports. And it certainly is not going to win elections by buying into the media's dishonest reinforcement of right-wing characterizations about the war, nor by reinforcing those right-wing characterizations itself, as some of its high-profile 2008 presidential candidates seem to enjoy doing.
The hope, of course, is that Democratic Members of Congress are realizing on their own just how important it is to address the Iraq War, and that this drivel coming out of the DCCC will be ignored. There are already good signs that it is being ignored. Many Democrats, even those who originally voted for the war, are starting to support legislation that demands the Bush administration provide more details to Congress about its overall strategy in Iraq.
Still, this memo makes clear there really still is a disconnect within the D.C. Democratic cabal. Not only is the D.C. Democratic Establishment removed from the concerns of ordinary Americans, it actually goes out of its way to deny the existence of the messages that actually make campaigns successful. Here's hoping that individual Democratic candidates realize understand that such a disconnect exists, and that they better-understand the messages that are required to win elections.
In my comments Abe makes the claim that "Hackett was a moderate." The very fact that Hackett's campaign focused heavily on Iraq renders the normal left-right comparisons somewhat silly and absurd, but let me entertain the idea for a moment that Hackett's positions outside of his stance on Iraq had anything to do with this election result.
A look at the "on the issues" section of Hackett's webpage can tell us a little about his positions, and all that it is reasonable to draw from. Hackett only outlines 5 non-Iraq issues on his webpage.
Hackett was against all privatization plans for social security, an issue that Democrats have fallen into line almost unamously on. In his sections on the economy, health care, and the environment he criticizes Republicans for giving handouts to large corporations, on guns he expressed the sentiment that Americans have a right to own one, but that it's important to keep them away from criminals. These are very vague explanations of issues for Hackett, they don't appear to put him into the company of the left wing of the Democratic Party with people like Kucinich, but they also don't appear to be the model of centrism that advocates of that strategy push so much for. In short, Hackett was a Democrat and wasn't afraid to show voters that he was a Democrat and that he opposed the Republican agenda. When push comes to shove I believe that is a more important factor than trying to be "moderate."