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Whackos Win One — Why Now?
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Whackos Win One

McClatchy reports that Under fire from own party, N.Y. Republican quits House race

WASHINGTON — Under fire from prominent members of her own party who said she wasn’t conservative enough, the Republican candidate for an open U.S. House seat in New York abruptly withdraw from the race Saturday just days before the election.

State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava said she was trailing in polls, unable to raise money and unlikely to win. She told supporters that while her name would still be on the ballot Tuesday, she released all of them from their pledges and said they could vote for anyone.

Ms Scozzafava was a moderate Republican and long-time party member who had been selected by Republican county chairs to replace another moderate Republican who was the Congresscritter for the 23rd district, which is most of the northern section of New York state. She was basically hounded out of the race by out of state whackos as a “Republican in name only”.

This is a special election, so turn-out is the key to success. The district is normally Republican, but there is no way of telling how this will play out. Joe Biden is scheduled to be in the area for the Democratic candidate, and Ms Scozzafava’s name will still be on the ballot, so party line voters will still vote for her.

The whackos spent more time attacking her, than the Democratic candidate. It looks like a Stalinist purge.


1 Bryan { 11.01.09 at 12:06 pm }

Reducing the number of candidates gives voters less of a choice than they had. By your logic the Soviet system of one candidate for every office would be the ultimate in choice, whereas I think that the more choices, the better.

But then I don’t vote party line and have very little use for political parties as an institution.

The Conservative candidate [New York state has had a separate and distinct party called Conservative for decades] doesn’t live in, or know the district, and his support is from outside the district.

The Republican voters must now decide between a Democrat who is an actual local resident, or a stranger who says he’s conservative, but doesn’t know anything about them or their locality. Not exactly a great choice for people whose families have been voting for Republicans for 150 years.

2 John B. { 11.01.09 at 12:13 pm }

The root problem this poses is that in abandoning any pretense of occupying the “middle” — which in itself has shifted over the years to a position very much right-of-center — the Repubs are leaving everything to their left for the Democrats. You don’t have to look much beyond Lieberman (no longer even a DINO) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb) to realize that this means right-wingers and obstructionists will find a home in the Democratic Party (or congressional caucus, as it were) — unless the left does something similar and begins to oust conservatives with as much abandon as the “Conservative Party” Republican leadership has shown.

The Dem party bosses will resist that strongly (unlike the Republican bosses), of course. They attach some kind of meaning to party labels, which just shows you how out of touch the Democratic leadership is.

What this means is that the wingnuts win even when they lose elections, because the Democratic Party will grow ever more conservative, too, through the accumulation of more and more right-of-center politicians who become Democrats. It’s a conundrum.

History tells us this will not be resolved by the advent of a third party; at least, not unless we have a national crisis on the order of the run-up to the Civil War.

3 Bryan { 11.01.09 at 2:18 pm }

John, if you look at the situation before the Civil War you will see parallels to the current political situation with the regionalism and the deep divisions over social policies.

The Republican Party of New York produced Teddy Roosevelt, the great leader of progressive action at the start of the 20th century, and Senator Jacob Javits who appointed the first black and the first woman to be pages in the Senate. These were people who believed in the ability of government to right wrongs and work for the people. That has been the Republican Party in New York for a very long time, and now outsiders are changing it.

The local chairs who selected the candidate for this special election know the districts and the local people. They were elected to their position by the local party activists, and their judgment is being overridden by money and influence from outside. The population break out would be deer, Holsteins, bears, and then people. This district has 20 to 25% of the land area of the state to come up with about 600,000 people. It is essentially the Adirondack Mountains and has one of the lowest population density of any area of the US. There used to be a radar site/Air Force station up there that qualified as a remote tour, like Shemya in the Aleutian Islands.

New York has a lot of small parties, so you can find one to suit your needs. If the people up there were really conservative, you would think that they would register in the Conservative Party, but they don’t.

Who knows what’s going to happen on Tuesday, but there are going to be a lot of annoyed local Republicans about the way this was done.

4 Bryan { 11.01.09 at 3:19 pm }

Mr. Duff, you are off by one President, that is a Republican plan of action, as they continue to push off into the unknown region beyond the tip of the right-wing fringe.

The current administration is the standard moderate Republican government that is styled after Eisenhower in the 1950s.

5 John B. { 11.01.09 at 7:00 pm }

Mr. Duff doesn’t know his own nation’s history, much less that of Obama. Bryan has both right. Indeed, there are striking “parallels to the current political situation” with ante-bellum America. “Regionalism” and divisions over “social policies” were among them, but so, too, was educational level, national banking policies, the question of internal improvements funded by the federal government, and, of course, slavery.

For all of the bitter recriminations and wild partisanship the era saw, however, the historical evidence is heavily weighted toward concluding that Northern opposition to slavery and Southern insistence on it (coded, to be sure, as “state’s rights”) was the one decisive factor that gave birth to a new party that had permanency. It was an immense, immediate issue with moral freight for nearly everyone and of obviously critical importance to the westward expansion of the U.S. If the South had not withdrawn over Lincoln’s election, the North might well done so over the federal rendition acts.

As divisive as the tea bagger types are, I don’t see them as having any agenda sufficiently specific or immediate, nor a moral claim of any kind (much less one as compelling), as the slavery issue that gave birth to Lincoln’s Republican party.

The shame is that today the Republican party has turned against its origins and now gives voice to political, economic, and moral illiterates.

6 Bryan { 11.01.09 at 7:32 pm }

John, Mr. Duff is from the UK, so I don’t expect him to know a lot about US politics or issues.

The one element missing is the “trigger issue”. If enough people coalesce around as single issue, like health insurance, bank regulation, anything really, things will snap. The longer the joblessness continues, the more pressure people are going to exert for change, real, substantial change, and they aren’t going to put up with half measures.

The teabaggers don’t have the weight to do anything. They may be loud, but there aren’t really enough of them to do anything, or push anything. The media magnifies their importance, but they are a tiny minority, even over here in Okaloosa County. I would venture to guess that they won’t actually find a “real conservative” to run in the Republican primary against our invisible Congresscritter, Jeff Miller.