October 26, 2009

More On Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava

Hatched by Dafydd

In the comments on a previous Big Lizards post, a commenter found my use of the term "GOP congressional establishment" puzzling; I noted that they were "the same folks who cynically picked (in a back-room deal) a out and out liberal, who agrees with Democrat Owens right down the ideological line, to replace the previous RINO [John] McHugh."

The commenter wrote:

I'm getting quite tired of conservative Republicans talking about the Party as if they were somebody from the sinister mother ship....

That said, I can't fault Newt for backing the Republican, apparently for good reason. It isn't enough to stand on principle and lose, nor to forsake principle and win. If Hoffman can stand on principle and win, he's pulled off the perfect storm. If he splits the conservative vote and the Democrat wins, he has harmed the cause, albeit temporarily.

Leave aside the confounding fact that I'm not a "conservative Republican;" I'm a free-market, pro-liberty Republican... but I hold many positions that run contrary to religious and social conservatism.

Let's stick to the matter at hand. If we were talking about a moderate Republican with some doctrinal differences, I might be inclined to agree that party support is more important than picking nits. If we were talking about a fiscal conservative who was squishy on same-sex marriage, I would grit my teeth but still probably vote for him; he would be on our side fighting nearly all the elements of Obamunism.

But the candidate picked by the GOP nomenklatura, Dede Scozzafava, is neither of the above: She is a brazen liberal, on a par with the Maine twins, Olympia Snowe (R, 12%) and Susan Collins (R, 20%). Scozzafava was not chosen by the rank and file; there was no primary, no election, not even a caucus. How did she get the ballot slot?

State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava beat out a field of eight other Republicans on Wednesday to pick up the GOP endorsement for the 23rd Congressional District seat.

Scozzafava, R-Gouverneur, a moderate Republican who supports a woman's right to choose and gay marriage, has been willing to openly split with her party in Albany.

The six-term Assembly member picked up the endorsement Wednesday after a meeting of the 11 Republican county committee chairs, who had interviewed the candidates at a series of regional meetings over the past month.

That, gentle readers, is the GOP congressional establishment, the Republican nomenklatura, in action: Who cares what Republican voters in the district want? I've got eleven party chairs in my pocket; and after interviewing the job applicants, they decided to hire Dede. And why Dede? Because, although she may be a social liberal, at least she's a fiscal liberal as well?

Now party luminaries like Newt Gingrich are miffed that Republican and Conservative voters in New York-23rd, and even the rest of us elsewhere, dare to question why the loony liberal should be the GOP nominee. The nomenklatura demand that Doug Hoffman withdraw so that Scozzafava can have a clean shot; she is the default candidate, after all.

But it's curious that the "default" is always to feverishly support anyone picked by the party establishment, even if the candidate is a flaming liberal; we joke that we're the "party of orderly succession," and that's how we got Gerald Ford in 1976 and Blob Dole twenty years after.

But it never seems the default position for the party establishment -- the party bosses who put Dede Scozzafava on the ballot on the basis of a job interview -- to nominate someone who actually has the support and approval of the rank and file party members. They only care that she will play ball with them, or perhaps take orders, and above all else won't rock the boat.

Doesn't that seem odd to you?

Why didn't they poll their party members? They had plenty of time: McHugh was tapped for Secretary of the Army on June 2nd -- five months before the November 3rd election. That's more than enough time to spend at least a couple of months finding out who the Republican (and Conservative) voters wanted as their candidate (under normal circumstances, the same person runs on both slates).

Instead, they just rushed to put a safely liberal DIABLO onto the ballot, pillow-talked Newt Gingrich into endorsing her; and now they expect the rest of us to cheer their quiet efficiency. We're to link arms and support the liberal against the other liberal, presumably while singing Solidarity Forever. ("The union makes us strong!")

I am really fuming about this: I am convinced that Dierdre Scozzafava is a vote for ObamaCare, a vote for Energy Cripple and Tax, a vote to pull all the troops out of Afghanistan... possibly even a vote for Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%) to return as Speaker of the House; look up Paul Horcher, Doris Allen, and Brian Setencich on Wikipedia.

It's entirely possible that if Scozzafava turns out to be too liberal for her party in a year, she may turn her coat and, like Arlen Specter, run as a Democrat in 2010.

Take a look at her website. You have to search high and low to find even a single position statement; a paltry handful may be found here, shuffled in among such "publications" (press releases) as "Scozzafava Offers Praise for Outgoing Fort Drum Commander" and "Legislation Mirroring Scozzafava Bill Passes Assembly; Residents to Be Notified Of Sex Offenders." But I can't find anything on the momentus decisions that face the United States Congress.

I have a hard time believing she has no opinion; the most charitable conclusion is that she does have positions, but she doesn't think revealing them would benefit her election chances.

Not only does Scozzafava seem indistinguishable from Bill Owens, the honest Democrat, she is an absolutely ghastly retail candidate: She's a terrible speaker; she hasn't reached out to hardly anyone in the district outside her liberal base; she seems to think that she has been anointed and will simply inherit the seat from the previous RINO, John McHugh (40% rating from the ACU -- probably more than Scozzafava would earn).

It almost looks to me as if the RINO GOP in that district would rather lose with Scozzafava than win with Hoffman. It's not that uncommon an attitude among an ensconced power elite; they're liberal, she's liberal, McHugh was liberal: If she wins, they're still sitting pretty.

Even if she runs and loses (narrowly) to Owens, they still keep their power; they can argue Scozzafava lost because she wasn't liberal enough!

But if, God forbid, Doug Hoffman wins... all the liberals in the permanent floating nominating and campaign committee in the 23rd District of New York could be ousted in favor of conservatives more to the new congressman's liking; it's not likely -- they probably have more power than a mere freshman congressman; but if he stays and is reelected a few times, he could completely change the character of the Republican Party in that district.

The same dynamic beset the Democratic Party in 1984, when Gary Hart came very close to beating Sir Walter Mondale for the nomination; the only reason Mondale won was the Carter-Mondale axis rigged the game by three power plays:

  • They forced a bunch of states to switch from primaries to caucuses, then the Mondale campaign took over the caucus structures... e.g., splitting the congressional and presidential nomination votes into two locations, then only telling Mondale supporters where the presidential one was to be held.
  • The Mondale camp controlled the party establishment in the various states; so that even when Hart won a primary, Mondale still received the majority of the delegates from that state!
  • And of course, through the very aggressive use of "superdelegates," which had pretty much been invented eight years earlier by Jimmy Carter to steal the 1976 nomination away from Jerry Brown and Scoop Jackson.

That is the power the party establishment can yield, particularly over the nomination process; it's made easier in the Scozzafava case by the circumstances: The nomenklatura simply met in a smoke-filled room and declared her the nominee.

Scozzafava is going to fade in the next week or so. The election will come down to Bill Owens versus Doug Hoffman, and Hoffman, I believe, will win. I wonder... when he does, will Republican leaders demand a recount?

Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 26, 2009, at the time of 9:33 PM

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Politico now reports new polling in the NY-23 special election that shows that the previous poll by the Club for Growth, which we talked about in an earlier post, was no fluke: Even the Daily Kos's polling now sees a... [Read More]

Tracked on October 29, 2009 5:15 PM


The following hissed in response by: Mastermind2much

Great analysis, this is why I love the Big Lizards. Keep up the good work.

The above hissed in response by: Mastermind2much [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2009 3:41 AM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

Thank you! You must understand my confusion. I come from a place in which such decisions WOULD be made by calling a special endorsing convention-- hundreds of folks, not just 11. Even at that, as we currently stand, there are going to be a lot of people (even some who attend such conventions) claiming that somehow "the establishment" is ignoring conservative wishes. It isn't enough that there was a competition and the candidate perceived as the more conservative, for whatever reason, failed to prevail. No, unless that conservative won the competition the game was somehow rigged, the majority of these elected-by-the-grassroots delegates were just "establishment" lackeys, they were wrong and the lone conservative (each in their own mind) was absolutely right. This type of grudge thinking leads to splitting the vote (even if conservatives simply don't vote for the GOP candidate), and to the Democrat winning. Again, in most cases, that means somebody even less conservative than the GOP candidate. Example: Would you rather have McCain (R-80%) or Obama (D-0%) as President?

NY-23, as you have explained, is an entirely different animal, and I hope you are right that Hoffman wins. First and foremost, as even I recognize, NY has an actual conservative party, and the GOP are of the "Rockefeller Republican" variety. No doubt the county chairs have held their positions a long time by defending that middle ground, and are comfortable enough in that position to select, of their own wisdom, a "terrible" candidate in a time at which boldness in defense of freedom is called for. They are right about only one thing, and shakily on even that, which is that an "R" is better than a "D" on some votes, and especially on the first and most important, that of electing a Speaker, who heavily influences everything thereafter and stands third in the line of succession. If DD cannot be trusted on that, she's not even a good NY Republican.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2009 7:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

NY-23, as well as the districts south and west of 23, running to the PA border, have been devastated by the fiscal disaster that Albany has become. The GOP is as culpable as the Democrats, since Pataki and Bruno had as much power, and for as many years, as the Democrat twins Silver and Cuomo.

Just drive through upstate New York sometime, and you might think you are in Mississippi from twenty years ago, or Maine today. Poverty is what you'll see, and high taxes are the root cause. Sure, upstate has plenty of nice highways and the schools are pretty decent. But jobs are just a rumor and St. Lawrence shipping is all going someplace else. Buffalo and Rochester and Syracuse are still holding out against the tide, and still have some economic life to them, but the patient is sick enough to be in the hospital and will soon be in the ICU. Young people have moved steadily away from New York for two generations, leaving shell communities.

Ever since the woeful days of Rockefeller, the NY Republicans have been hemi-semi-Democrats, and are nothing more than another party of fiscal stimulus- just so long as it's their spending priotities that get funded, instead of the Democrats-- and they're as equally corrupt as the Dems (New Jersey may be corrupt, but not in as sophisticated a way, just follow the Ratner stories of pay-for-play and you'll see what I mean).

The Conservative party was formed to counterbalance the RINOS who run the GOP machine, and sometimes the party has a real influence. THe partiy's support was critical to Rudy Guiliani in his first campaign for mayor and he might well have been the Senator from New York right now, if he'd been willing to walk back from supporting partial birth abortion, but even the Conservative party focuses almost entirely on social issues. I don't live in upstate New York anymore, so my information might be dated and someone who lives there today might correct me, but I really do not believe there is any party espousing "fiscal restraint" in New York. It's a huge oportunity to forge a new consensus, I believe, in New York as in the nation as a whole.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2009 6:24 AM

The following hissed in response by: Rod

Welcome aboard~ 4 years ago when I said that Bush and Rove were not trying to expand the GOP base but were in fact *URGING THE REAGAN FOLK* you blasted me (politely but blast nonetheless).
Yes the extreme left wing of the GOP would rather lose than have a conservative GOP win! Which is what I said way back when.
Liberals lie. Liberal Republicans lie more than any other liberal.

The last 2 elections prove that they want to purge conservatives from the GOP even if it means losing, and losing big. in elections.

Your apology for junping the gun 4 years ago is accepted.
Rod Stanton

The above hissed in response by: Rod [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 30, 2009 4:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Rod Stanton:

Your apology for junping the gun 4 years ago is accepted.

I made no such apology; please stop trying to insert your foot into my mouth.

If you equate Dede Scozzafava to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, you marginalize yourself as a hysterical idealogue.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 30, 2009 4:29 AM

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