Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Feeling a Little Better About Hackett

On my way to MTB I got held up by the last-minute demands of Kid T, ran into traffic and made two wrong turns. In other words, Situation Normal. As one effect, I was able to hear about 15 minutes of the Paul Hackett interview on WCPN.

Right out of the box he was asked about the Bin Laden question. He is hewing to the same strategy I discussed when the comment first broke. He says he stands by "every word" of the statement, then spends two minutes talking about Pat Robertson's more incendiary comments without mentioning Bin Laden again. When I cited the reference in the Time piece, I should have acknowledged that Klein isn't clear on whether Hackett is running out the entire Bin Laden line, or just the modified, slight-change-of-subject version. And Mea Culpa Week continues here at the Akron Pages.

If he is going to work this angle, I'd like to hear him talk about Rod Parsley, particularly when confronted, as he was in this interview, with the fact that Republicans distance themselves from Robertson. Here's my suggestion, permission granted [to everyone] to use it without attribution:

The War against Terrorism is first and foremost a fight for the hearts and minds of the Islamic world. We will never be safe as long as mainstream Muslims fear the West. In a time like this, high-profile politcal leaders embracing a man who calls Islam a cult emanating from the deceptions of a demon threatens our ability to win those hearts and minds.
FWIW, I also heard him answer a question about gun control. He trotted out his "that's an incredibly complex question" preamble yet again. That's wearing -- it's starting to sound more and more like "This job is hard," to me. He does talk about the right frame -- people in favor of gun control want to be safe from gun violence. It's a good way of disagreeing on guns without flinging poo on pro-control folks. His solution is adequate resources to enforce existing laws.

All in all, more of Hackett being Hackett. I could practically see the testosterone oozing from my radio.

I still have concerns about substance. My concern is whether he knows enough about enough issues. I agree with Redhorse in the comments; a list of particulars is not what I'm looking for. Even I got tired of John "I Have a Proposal" Kerry. The question is whether Hackett can master the depth of understanding he needs to keep up with Dewine. Klein says his illegal immigration blurt appeared to be arise from a want of understanding the issue. (Hint Paul: It's complex.) Can Dewine bait him into similar constituency-splitting snafus with say, anti-salting legislation? He needs to prove he has the chops to avoid such a trap.


Anonymous said...

Hackett is Hackett: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hackett's weaknesses are ALSO his strengths.

First of all, he IS NOT a policy wonk and NEVER will be. But neither is Bush and he is our president. Most people don't understand policy wonk. I suspect in a debate with DeWine, DeWine's policy gibberish will go in and out the ears of the public.

Hackett's Hacketisms or his "sound bite" policy phrases would actually work. People are more likely to understand things such as "illegal immigration IS illegal" and "if we are fighting for democracy there why not have democracy here", etc. Only the trully intellectual are going to understand things such as the pros and cons of amnesty for illegals, etc.

In terms of the OBL reference, it was a gaffe but what would be a bigger gaffe if he goes around apologizing everywhere. That makes him look weak. Nothing the public hates more is a wimp. They will respect you less. Look how far Kerry perceived "wimpiness" got him. Instead Hackett is framing it so people understand what he means.