Friday, February 17, 2006

I'm just sick...

Mother Jones is reporting a story that seriously makes my stomach turn. My belief in my party is shaken after this.

The story details a whisper campaign designed to sink the primary candidacy of Paul Hackett for Ohio U.S. Senate. If true this means that the Democratic establishment participated in the swiftboating of a veteran.

In the course of discussing politics with my conservative girlfriend I am quick to point out the differences between Republican and Democratic treatment of veterans who run against them. I am able to point to the examples of Democrats not slamming the service records of Bob Dole or George Bush in WWII. Where as Republican operatives were willing to make an issue of John Kerry's service in Viet Nam and even eat one of their own with the South Carolina whisper campaign against John McCain by the Bush campaign. How sad that this high ground is now given up, and it happens to one of our own no less!

Here are some of the more sordid parts of the Mother Jones article:
Swift boats soon appeared on the horizon. A whisper campaign started: Hackett committed war crimes in Iraq—and there were photos. “The first rumor that I heard was probably a month and a half ago,” Dave Lane, chair of the Clermont County Democratic Party, told me the day after Hackett pulled out of the race. “I heard it more than once that someone was distributing photos of Paul in Iraq with Iraqi war casualties with captions or suggestions that Paul had committed some sort of atrocities. Who did it? I have no idea. It sounds like a Republican M.O. to me, but I have no proof of that. But if it was someone on my side of the fence, I have a real problem with that. I have a hard time believing that a Democrat would do that to another Democrat.”

In late November, Hackett got a call from Sen. Harry Reid. “I hear there’s a photo of you mistreating bodies in Iraq. Is it true?” demanded the Senate minority leader. “No sir,” replied Hackett. To drive home his point, Hackett traveled to Washington to show Reid’s staff the photo in question. Hackett declined to send me the photo, but he insists that it shows another Marine—not Hackett—unloading a sealed body bag from a truck. “There was nothing disrespectful or unprofessional,” he insists. “That was a photo of a Marine doing his job. If you don’t like what they’re doing, don’t send Marines into war.”

A staffer in Reid’s office confirmed that Hackett had showed them several photos. “The ones I saw were part of a diary he kept while serving in Iraq and were in no way compromising. The one picture in question depicted Marines doing their work on what looked like a scorching day in Iraq,” said the aide.

But the whispering continued, and Hackett was troubled. “It creates doubt and suspicion,” Hackett told me, saying his close supporters were asking him privately about the rumors. “It tarnishes my very strength as a candidate, my military service. It’s like you take a handful of seeds, throw them up in the wind, and they blow all around and start growing. It really bothered me.”

This is simply outrageous. The only thing that keeps me from just throwing up my hands and walking away from politics right now is my deep concern and love America. But by god there must be something done about the cancer that has become our political discourse in this nation. Shame on you power broker Democrats! SHAME!

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