Have you heard? The Republican candidate in the 23rd District in NY, Dede Scozzafava, has dropped out of the race. It seems that she wasn’t conservative enough for the likes of Sarah Palin, who endorsed Douglas Hoffman on October 22nd on her Facebook Page. Doug now has behind him such luminaries as: Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann, Fred Thompson, and Dick Armey, and organizations such as the Club for Growth. In the face of this extreme right-wing onslaught, poor Dede, and the moderate to traditionally conservative Republicans who supported her, had to take to the hills.
Perhaps you are thinking that Doug, an accountant by trade, is a charismatic, insightful, inspirational fellow. That the split we are seeing is not due to ideology. That Doug must be a political thoroughbred. If so, check out his picture (above) and remarks that are currently on one of Doug’s Web Pages:
My opponent is a Nancy Pelosi Democrat. Defeating him comes down to one cold, hard fact – money.
In 1980, I helped Lake Placid with our Olympics when the US beat the Russians in hockey – the same year Reagan was elected. It’s time to send Washington a new message now.
If you can follow the logic of this, I would like you to write UP@NIGHT immediately. It’s simply beyond me. There is no logic. It’s an incantation: invoke Reagan, mention a near miraculous victory against the unbeatable communists on ice, mention that the victory on ice was the same year that Reagan was victorious (the stars must have been aligned), and of course mention sending a message to Washington, etc. (Send a message to Washington, powerful stuff, if you are a Goldwater Republican in 1964. Oh, I forgot, he wouldn’t be conservative enough for some of these folks.) Oh, and don’t forget to mention the she-devil, old NP herself.
To say the obvious: the right-wing of the Republican Party, which is becoming the Republican Party, can not win with chants and spells over the long haul. The GOP may pick up a few seats in 2010, because that’s the way mid-term elections go and because they can still unify around a few causes. But should the right gain full control of the GOP, which appears to be happening, 2012 will be a disaster for them. It could spell the end of the Republican Party as force in American politics. Of course, a survival mechanism may set in. Watching the 23rd, some leaders of the GOP may recognize that their Party is on a suicide watch, and that they had better get some counseling ASAP if they are going to survive beyond 2010. American political parities can not afford to be so rigidly ideological. We would need a multi-party system for that. And so far, this just hasn’t been the American Way.
UPDATE, November 1st. The New York Times reported at 5:38 this afternoon the following:
Canastota, N.Y. — The moderate Republican who suddenly abandoned her campaign in an Upstate New York Congressional race that has exposed deep divisions in the Republican Party urged her supporters on Sunday to vote for the Democratic candidate — a surprising act of defiance that added another unexpected twist to the closely watched race.
Here is what you can bet on: those on the right will claim that this is proof that Dede Scozzafava was never a real Republican, in spite of her relatively conservative record in NY state politics. Here is what you can’t bet on: enough Republicans seeing this as a sign of just how much danger they are in. The GOP can not function as a national party by relying on only the most conservative voices of what was once the Republican base.
UPDATE, January 21st, 2010
The Brown victory in Massachusetts might suggest that the Republicans have realized how much danger they were in. Perhaps they have come to understand that they were on a suicide watch. After all, they got behind a candidate, Brown, who is pro-choice and who voted for a public health care system in Massachusetts that covers 97% of its citizens. I am still taking a wait and see attitude on this “unity.” There were too many unique factors to the race in Massachusetts to say that this Republican “unity” can be repeated in other states. Palin and friends are a cantankerous bunch. (Glenn Beck has already started to go after Brown.) And much depends on how the Democrats respond. For example, will they reclaim the populist mantle that the Republicans managed to claim in Massachusetts? Obama has begun to try with his move against the banks.