Thursday, February 09, 2006

Being Tough

One of the obvious contradictions in our contemporary discussion of Democrats is that the scribes who obsess the most about needing to be seen as "tough" are the ones who generally tell Democrats to run away from every fight. I have no position on the Brown/Hackett race in Ohio but this is refreshing:

“That’s low politics, punk!” a heavy-set man sneers as he marches toward the poll.
Hackett wheels around. “Pardon me?”
“You know, that radio ad that says, ‘You don’t know Schmidt.’” He’s talking about one of Hackett’s attack ads against Republican Jean Schmidt. The man spews a stream of epithets, and Hackett lets out a crybaby whimper: “Waaaaaaa!”
“What’s that, punk?” the big man growls.

A TV crew is setting up nearby, but Hackett doesn’t seem to care. “What’s your fuckin’ problem?” the candidate snaps. “You got something to say to me? Bring it on!” Hackett, all 6 feet 2 inches of him, is nose to nose with the heckler. “Problem?” he taunts. The man turns around and storms away.

“These guys in the Republican Party adopted this tough-guy language,” Hackett tells me, still steamed, an hour later. “They’re bullies. They’re offended when somebody takes a swing back at them.”

The point isn't that every politician needs to be Paul Hackett, the point is that you get points for being tough and standing up for yourself and what you believe in by, you know, being tough and standing up for what you believe in.