Yes, Hogsett started out his career as a protege of Secretary of State turned Governor turned Senator Evan Bayh. I think it's safe to say where it not for Bayh's help, Hogsett career would have turned out far differently. But to classify Hogsett as a "political hack" I don't think accurately represents where he is today politically. I have had a chance to work with Hogsett on a few government reform projects where issues like lobbying and redistricting reform were discussed. I'm not sure if it is because Hogsett's views have evolved over time or not, but he certainly seems sincere about supporting reform efforts that are against the interests of many career politicians.
Hogsett's lack of criminal experience has been raised. But the last confirmed U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks had boatloads of criminal law experience and look how bad she was. Brooks continually looked the other way while white collar crime ran rampant in Indiana.
The U.S. Attorney does not have to be experienced in all the areas the office deals with, but rather it requires someone who surrounds himself with quality people and provides a direction to the office. The U.S. Attorney's office, after the inactivity of Brooks and acting U.S. Attorney Timothy Morrison, needs a shot of adrenaline as well as direction.
I don't really care that Hogsett has lost some elections, elections that by the way were very tough for any Democrat to win. (I would point out that he beat very popular Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut in a state-wide election for Secretary of State.) I admire people who put their reputations on the line in tough political battles.
I am optimistic about the direction Joe Hogsett is going to take the U.S. Attorney's office. Here's the political calculation why. Hogsett knows that any ticket to political success in the future is dependent on his turning the U.S. Attorney's office around. That means aggressively pursuing white collar crime and political corruption in both parties. Even if Hogsett isn't the political reformer I hope he might be, he's smart enough about politics to know that the being a Susan Brooks/Timothy Morrison style U.S. Attorney offers no political payoff. Is it a cynical political calculation? Absolutely. But so what? We would all benefit from an aggressive U.S. Attorney's Office. Who cares if the motivation for changing direction of the office is politics? Politics is not always a bad thing.