Sen: Hackett/Brown Event - Postcript
In my three posts yesterday I put up a dozen photographs, an audio link, and a transcript of the speakers' remarks at the Paul Hackett/Sherrod Brown unity rally in Cininnati on Monday. In this post I want to record a few additional points about the event before I move on to other topics and events.
I asked Sherrod Brown a few questions after the public remarks. First I followed up on the one question that was asked while he was at the microphone, which was why he was wearing a black suit. (To be fair, I should point out that Mayor Mark Mallory was also wearing a black suit, despite the heat.) I asked because I was thinking of other candidates who appear in shirtsleeves or other casual attire in order to soften and humanize their image, and wondered why Brown does not do this. However, as at the microphone, he didn't take it as a serious topic, so I did not find that out. Instead, he talked about how his wife has influenced his wardrobe by taking him to go shopping at Joseph A. Banks. He also commented that the suits "make up for my hair," referring to its distinctively unruly look.
More seriously, I pointed out that Paul Hackett had made a sincere apology for his behavior and asked if he would do the same in response. He acknowledged that he had not done so at the microphone (implying that it was merely an oversight), and said that he had made a forthright apology to Hackett in person when they met on Saturday. Also, I asked if more joint appearances with Hackett were in the works, and in response he assured me that Hackett truly intends to help out with the campaign in any way he can.
Before the event a reporter had asked me what effect I thought it would have on the blogosphere. (My comments did not show up in the news coverage.) It seems like this is the first question on many minds about the impact of this healing of the rift between Hackett and Brown. I believe that the impact is major, at least in the sense of mollifying many bloggers and blog readers who were unhappy with how the contested primary ended. However, we have already seen that some blogosphereans are not contented, and it looks to me like nothing will ever bring them to that condition on this score.
However, attending the event leads me to believe that the effect on Democratic activists and voters in general, not just bloggers and blog readers, is probably even more important. Brown's poll numbers in southwest Ohio have been lower than elsewhere, being far from his base and being the home turf of his opponent, and Paul Hackett is very popular there. I talked to Ohio House 35th District candidate Karen J. Adams and Ohio Senate 7th District candidate Rick Smith after the event, and they were both very upbeat about the effect that the unity and excitement of this event would have on both the senate race and other Democratic campaigns in their area. I commented to Adams about how much energy Hackett injects into a talk, and she said that was true, but also remarked that the party has great candidates up and down the ticket this year who really fire up a crowd (singling out Congressional candidate Vic Wulsin and Ohio General Assembly candidates Connie Pillich, Steve Silver, and Brent Gray for particular praise). When I asked her what she thought of the events of the day, she answered with enthusaism about the supportive climate for Democrats in general this year:
Oh, I think it was great. We need to get our Democrats elected up and down the ticket if we're going to make any change in where we're headed. We need to get our senator elected, we need to get our governor elected, state legislature, we need to get Vic [Wulsin] in Congress. It's just going to be fabulous. And I'll tell you, I was marching in all the parades in Hamilton and Warren County, and we were getting applause, we were getting thumbs up. So I really think that people are waking up to the fact that the failed system is not working and they need to make a real change.I think that this event added in a big way to the overall sense of excitement and opportunity for Democrats in this election.
ADDENDUM: Here is a quote from Ohio Senate 7th District candidate Rick Smith that I was unable to include in my initial post:
This is a fantastic event. I mean, essentially the dispute between Sherrod Brown and Paul Hackett was really sort of undermining Sherrod’s support here in Southwestern Ohio. And now that Hackett’s come out just so unequivocally, you know, without-condition support for Sherrod – I mean, it’s a fantastic thing. I think you’ll see a real re-energization of his campaign here in southwest Ohio because I think everyone – every statewide candidate needs southwest Ohio.