Scozzafava Out, Hoffman Ahead, Republican Leadership Sends “Moderates Not Welcome” Message

Timothy Kincaid

November 2nd, 2009

dedeOver the weekend, Dede Scozzafava, the very gay-supportive Republican candidate for the 23rd Congressional district in New York pulled out of the race. Faced by a Democrat with heavy party funding and a prior-Republican-now-Conservative with financing from hard-core right-wing party purists, Scozzafava was not receiving adequate funds run an adequate campaign and maintain her early lead.

In many ways, this highlights the problem that moderate candidates face. If they are not perceived as being “our guy in Congress” for some special interest or if the party doesn’t make their seat a priority, it can be difficult to finance a campaign. Representing the moderate views of your constituency is all fine and good, but moderate positions are not much inclined to get the average voting citizen fired up enough to give.

hoffmanUnfortunately, the voters are now left with a choice between Bill Owens, an nonsupportive Democrat, and Doug Hoffman, a hard-core anti-gay Conservative. Scozzafava has endorsed Democrat Bill Owens but that may not be enough. Polls are suggesting that Conservative Hoffman may be leading in the now two-man race.

The most frustrating thing about the situation is that the right-wing extremists are now feeling justified and vindicated in their effort to destroy Scozzafava. They are “sending a message to all of the RINOs” (Republicans in name only) that they are not welcome in the Republican Party and that they will be driven out. Today Rush Limbaugh chortled that Scozzafava’s endorsement of the Democrat might lead to the “extinction” of RINOs.

Some Republican Party leadership had been showing signs lately that they are aware that moderates are needed in more liberal parts of the country in order for the Party to be competitive. But that may be more lip service than reality.

It will be interesting to see what they do. So far, there have been some very disturbing statements. (Bloomberg)

House Republican leaders embraced Hoffman after Scozzafava suspended her campaign. Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, and Texas Representative Pete Sessions, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement that they “look forward to welcoming Doug Hoffman into the House Republican Conference.”

Boehner and Cantor said in a separate statement they would support Hoffman to fill the next available vacancy on the House Armed Services Committee.

By promising Hoffman plum appointments, both Boehner and Cantor have sent the message that they will richly reward those who destroy the more moderate elements of the Party and drive out those who do not share their extremist views on social issues. If the leadership continues in that vein, they may well be successful in turning the Republican Party into an ideologically pure, but politically irrelevant, permanently minority party.

AJD

November 2nd, 2009

“If the leadership continues in that vein, they may well be successful in turning the Republican Party into an ideologically pure, but politically irrelevant, permanently minority party.”

I’d like to think that will eventually be the case. The Republicans are clearly turning into the neo-Dixiecrats. But the thing is, they’re still able to get enough votes in most places to do things like ban gay marriage, so I wouldn’t start playing the funeral dirge just yet.

The problem isn’t the GOP; it’s that it’s come under the domination of people who 40 years ago would be complaining about “de coloreds.” But at least back then, the Democrats still had a good-sized liberal wing. Right now, the GOP is almost 100% reactionary (“conservative” just doesn’t seem adequate anymore).

John

November 2nd, 2009

I wouldn’t count on it, Timothy. When it comes to fiscal liberals, I have no problems with targetting them for defeat. Where the GOP is running into snags are that social liberals or moderates are caught in this fever as well. I’m well aware of the NYS Conservative Party’s platform and while I applaud some of their fiscal stances could never support any of their candidates on gay rights matters. Eh, I leave this up to the voters of NY-23.

Now as for Virginia I’m facing a conundrum. I will not vote for Deeds or Shannon over fiscal matters but cannot vote for McDonell or Cuccinelli because of their opposition to gay rights. Sadly there’s not even a third party candidate runningt o register a protest vote. Guess I’ll leave those slots blank or write in Mickey Mouse.

I really am sick and tired or extreme Right or extreme Left in this country. Damn I wish we had a third alternative.

Lindoro Almaviva

November 2nd, 2009

I think we have all seen it happen since 1980 and increasingly since 2000. The Republican Party has steadily radicalize and what used to be the fringes of their constituency have taken center stage and effectively hijacked the party and the platform. I think those who point out that the party is looking more and more the way it did in the 40’s and 50’s, specially in the south are correct.

Unfortunately, what will happen is that those who are socially moderate within the party will refuse to move to the Democratic party for economic reasons. To be honest, I don’t think they should. The same is kind of happening on the other side of the fence. The more liberal areas of the party are increasingly attacking the more conservative members and edging them out.

Could this be the beginning or a 3 party system (4 maybe) in our history? God knows the Green and Libertarian parties have failed to get a hold in the public and the 2 party rule is getting old and tired.

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