Dayton Daily News has joined the Post in endorsing Hackett.
UZU\U]UcTYWYWZV]Dayton Daily News
Hackett offers 2nd District fresher voice
By the Dayton Daily News
"What kind of men do we have in Washington representing us right now? One refuses to back the president and the other is crying on national television."
— Jean Schmidt, Republican candidate for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District
That quote — about Ohio's two Republican senators — came during the recent congressional primary campaign in the contest to replace U.S. Rep. Rob Portman. Most of the GOP candidates were trying to out-conservative each other.
Ms. Schmidt found a remarkably classless way to do it, commenting on the fact that when Sen. Voinovich talks about what he wants to leave behind for young people, he is capable of choking up.
More important, she seemed to be saying that voters who like legislators who exercise occasional independence from their party should not vote for her.
Ms. Schmidt won the crowded June primary, and on Tuesday, she and the Democratic candidate, Paul Hackett, will face off in a special election. The 2nd District includes Lebanon and southern Warren County.
Mr. Hackett is a former four-year member of the Milford City Council. He departs from his party on gun control, which he basically opposes. He is obviously eager not to be seen as a down-the-line Democrat, given that the district is overwhelmingly Republican.
Mr. Hackett doesn't explicitly break from the party on a wide range of issues. He favors abortion rights and opposes the Bush plan on Social Security, for example.
But here also is man who left a comfortable civilian life in middle age to rejoin the Marines to go to Iraq. He had doubts about U.S. policy there, but he volunteered, he say, out of loyalty to the Marines.
Not your classic suburban liberal.
Mr. Hackett was in the thick of things in Iraq, running an entrance to Fallujah after an American assault that took control of that city from insurgents. He helped to provide water and other necessities for civilians.
Now he has strong views about Iraq. He believes the Bush administration hasn't understood the difficulty of training the Iraqi military. He would put more urgency into the effort.
As a vet, he could have a voice on this issue in Congress, even as a freshman.
Candidates often tell voters that they should send a new kind of face to Washington, not just another politician. Trouble is, such candidates seldom offer much evidence that they could contribute more than somebody who has governmental experience.
After all, Jean Schmidt would be a respectable member of Congress. She's an energetic person with some background.
However, for a voter looking for something beyond a conventional political background, Paul Hackett is a welcome alternative. In an era when partisan fervor is a national scourge, a candidate who is likely to show some independence looks especially good. And he has generally sound positions on the issues.
He is the better choice for the 2nd District.
Copyright ©2005 Cox Ohio Publishing, Dayton, Ohio, USA. All rights reserved.