I know next to nothing about Ohio politics, but it seems pretty clear that the whole situation surrounding Paul Hackett's withdrawal from the Senate race was badly mishandled on both sides. I had no reason to favor either candidate until this Toledo Blade story about a Hackett campaign event made me a Sherrod Brown supporter:
Someone then asked about illegal immigrants. The Bush administration, Mr. Hackett said, “is willing to let illegals come in and take the jobs of Americans.”
The answer made several of the young Democrats squirm in their seats. One pushed Mr. Hackett to clarify. “Deport them?” Mr. Hackett was asked.
“If we can afford to,” Mr. Hackett said, “yeah.”
The original questioner began to speak about the racism of Hispanics against whites. Mr. Hackett stood silently. An audience member suggested the discussion move on.
First of all, this is repeating the Tancredo critique of Bush without regard to the immigrant victims of our current policy. Second, the best you can say about his use of the term "illegals" is that Hackett was an inexperienced candidate who doesn't know anything about the issues (even Republicans say "illegal immigrants"); the worst is that he is deliberately aligning himself with the race baiting elements of the Republican Party. And for a candidate of either party to stand there silently while the questioner who brought up the immigration issue moves on to rail about alleged racism by Latinos against whites (!) is unacceptable.
The fact that this guy's withdrawal is viewed as a loss by the majority of the so-called netroots speaks volumes.