Yet another MSM “journalist” gets it wrong, and John Nichols should know better. He’s been in Ohio (former Blade writer and editor) and should no better than to write:

Hackett was not the strongest candidate in the Democratic primary race, and he certainly wasn’t the strongest progressive. With the filing deadline for the May Democratic primary rapidly approaching, Hackett was confronted with new numbers from his own pollster that showed Brown ahead among likely voters by an almost 2-to-1 margin–46 percent for the Congressman to 24 percent for Hackett. The poll revealed that despite Hackett’s full-time campaigning since last fall while Brown was tied up in Washington leading the fight against the Central American Free Trade Agreement and other Administration follies, Hackett had made few inroads among Democrats outside his southern Ohio base. Hackett has had a hard time convincing most Ohio Democrats–particularly liberal voters in the northern Ohio counties, where the party is strongest–that he would be a bolder or better candidate than Brown, who’s a passionate critic of the Administration’s rush to war and one of Congress’s ablest critics of corporate excess.

First of all, would The Nation shills please stop misrepresenting what that internal poll said? Please? Get the freakin’ facts on it here. This is bad journalism. The poll actually says Hackett pulls into the lead once voters get his message, which makes the charges against the Brown campaign and the Dem leadership all the worse – they prevented the better candidate from competing in the election! No other way to spin that. I won’t argue that Brown is the “stronger progressive candidate”, but we are talking about winning here in Ohio John – we do not care for any moral progressive victory. We’ve had plenty of those, thanks.

Sure, maybe the home of Brown in the NE was soft on Hackett, but I’m going to bet once both messages got out there it would be really close. Listen, what’s done is done – no matter how wrong – but would “journalists” stop distorting and misrepresenting polls to make them feel better about their party turning Rovian? I beg of you.

And come back to Ohio sometime John. You might have seen the 3-1 turnout for Paul in many places that Brown visited days later. All over the state.

(hat tip grandpaboy, who also comments)

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  • The “Better Choice” may end being the “Losing Choice”. Brown may be a champion progressive but Ohio last time a checked was a red state.

  • I think a progressive could win in Ohio. “Republican-lite” doesn’t work. I think the trick is message. Hackett, while he could be pigeon-holed as “Republican-lite,” I think he came across as more authentic. I don’t think Brown’s politics are the stumbling block.

  • anomolous

    Hackett was in absolutely no way a “Republican lite.” It’s interesting how Hackett’s position were either cast as indistinguishable from Brown’s or peculiarly to the right of his (usually based entirely on his one deviation, the gun-control issue), depending on what the speaker/writer wanted to achieve. A progressive can only win in Ohio if he or she can recast those positions in language understandable to people who do not consider themselves liberals or progessives.
    Can Brown do that? I guess we’ll see.

    Also, calling Brown a “passionate critic of the administration’s rush to war” is wildly overstating the case. In fact, Brown, like many Democrats, seemed to be sidestepped the issue as deftly as he could until Hackett forced him to speak out on it or look like a coward. Until then, the only evidence of any position on his website was that he was in favor of letting weapons inspections work before going into Iraq. In the fall of 2005, that didn’t look like an especially bold or “passionate” position.

  • Eric

    I think Brown’s politics will be the exact stumbling block, but what do I know…

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