I forgot to include this in my previous post about the Democratic party establishment screwing over Paul Hackett, but I think it deserves its own post anyway:
Various bloggers (I could have sworn Digby was one of them, but I can't find the post I was thinking of) have lamented the Democrats' unfortunate and self-destructive practice of sabotaging their best and most forceful messengers, but that doesn't go quite far enough. The core problem with the Democrats, individually and collectively, is their reluctance to say, "I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it." By apologizing, "clarifying," or backpedaling away from their statements every time the Republicans and their creatures raise a fake uproar, the Democrats marginalize themselves and their message.
By apologizing, they are saying, "Yes, you're right, that was not a valid point I was making." By backpedaling, they are saying, "I routinely say things that I don't really mean, and I just hope that no-one calls me on it."
On the other hand, standing firm and repeating "I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it," or better yet, "We said it. We meant it. We stand behind it," every time they are challenged, the Democrats would send the message that their positions are valid and deserving of respect, that they never say anything they don't mean, and that they will not back down in the face of intimidation.
Of course, the Republican noise machine would howl about how angry and unreasonable the Democrats are. Let them. I believe the Democrats would regain the respect of their base, and the admiration of those undecideds who are disgusted with the Republicans but don't see a viable alternative.
If Hackett is through with seeking public office, maybe the Democrats could hire him as a speech coach.