November 2, 2009
NY-23: New York Race - Chicago Rules, and What Dede Learned From David
As the Permanent Presidential Campaign rolls along, the most recent victims are the Republicans of New York's 23rd district... who awoke today to discover something truly remarkable about erstwhile congressional candidate Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava -- that "lifelong Republican" who swore she would never leave the GOP -- and her seemingly inexplicable endorsement of the Democrat remaining in the race, Bill Owens, rather than the conservative Republican, Doug Hoffman.
They learned (if they read the news ) that -- drum roll, please: The betraying endorsement was engineered by the Barack H. Obama White House.
Politico reports that the administration and Friends of Barack lured Scozzafava to the dark side by playing on her senses of grievance and entitlement:
The story of how it went down began in Washington, where the White House and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quarterbacked the effort to secure Scozzafava’s endorsement.
According to several senior Democratic officials, Rep. Steve Israel, a Long Island Democrat and DCCC official, was dispatched to meet face to face with Scozzafava in her upstate New York district, within hours of her departure from the race, to make the case on behalf of the national party. He carried the proxy of the White House and congressional Democrats.
Scozzafava, according to one account, was receptive to the entreaties after becoming a target of intense conservative opposition over the past month. The nomination of the moderate to liberal assemblywoman who was backed by the national GOP establishment had become a rallying point for conservative grass-roots activists, who argued that she was far too liberal for them to support.
“She’s devastated that these outside interests are trying to hijack her moderate wing of the party," said one New York Democrat who had spoken to Scozzafava.
Hijack? Those forces (outside or in) were trying to push the moderates aside and support the conservative wing... just as the moderates did the exact opposite when eleven GOP party bosses anointed DIABLO Scozzafava to succeed RINO John McHugh, who jumped at the chance to join the Obama administration. (For those of you who have lived in Plato's cave for some months now, RINO is of course "Republican in name only," while DIABLO, coined by Mark Steyn, stands for "Democrat in all but label only.")
Of course, by "outside interests," the unnamed "New York Democrat" meant only conservatives across the country who rallied to Hoffman's cause, and possibly Hoffman himself, who resides in a nearby district. For some reason, the specter of a far-left president and his top aides, most from Chicago, don't count as "outsiders;" and neither do other New York Democrats who reside all over the state.
What they're really saying seems clear to me: Dede Scozzafava thought the fix was in, and she was gobsmacked by the speed of the unraveling.
She was selected by the Republican nomenklatura to succeed John McHugh; sure, she was trailing Bill Owens in the polls, but that was all just for show. When election time rolled around, Scozzafava was sure the conservatives, having made their displeasure known, would hold their noses and vote for her. After all, they had nowhere else to go.
(The same dynamic had already happened with the national GOP and several big names in the party; having nowhere else to light, they smiled and nodded and gave Scozzafava their blessings.)
She would be elected, and her life would be set: She would serve several terms then be appointed a federal judge; or perhaps she would receive a succession of appointments at la Casa Blanca, culminating in a minor cabinet position... perhaps Secretary of Health and Human Services or Director of the EPA under President Biden.
Sure, this is rank speculation on my part; but her reaction to conservatives in her own district rallying to Doug Hoffman, the collapse of her own support, her whiny departure, and her immediate embrace of the Democrat tells me that she herself feels "betrayed" by her own party... and she's lashing out in angry revenge. Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned.
In fact, Dede Scozzafava reminds me a lot of David Brock. Brock is a former Republican investigative writer who flipped to the Democratic side, reportedly because he was furious over being snubbed by a few conservatives at cocktail parties. (He could only name one such snubbery, by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. of the American Spectator, Brock's former employer.)
Short detour: Brock was the toast of Washington after his first and still best book, the Real Anita Hill. In that book, he took apart the self-serving portrait of Clarence Thomas' wannabe political character assassin, Nina Totenberg of NPR, exposing her as an ultra liberal, Democratic Party hatchet-girl. Brock argued (with good evidence) that Totenberg and her fellows in the anti-Thomas brigade of the "shadow government" suborned perjury by Anita Hill.
They worked hand in sock puppet with top Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to attempt to destroy Thomas -- for the crime of being a conservative black man. Or as Emerge, a black magazine, so graciously put it -- "Uncle Thomas, Lawn Jockey for the Far Right."
Brock did yeoman work exposing this dark undercurrent of Democratic racism and dirty tricks. He rightly noted that if Republicans had tried the same vile tactic to defeat a black liberal Democratic Supreme-Court nominee -- accusing him of uncontrollable sexuality, a traditional racist attack on black men -- the screams of rage from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the usual ranks fo the perpetually aggrieved would have rolled three times 'round the world. David Brock was feted and petted, courted and bedded.
But after his second book, the Seduction of Hillary Rodham -- in which he was perceived as having cuddled a bit too close to his subject -- he drifted off everybody's A-list.
Gone were the invites to cocktail parties starring top congressional Republicans, the talk-show circuits, the frequent appearances as guest commentator on TV ("the Republican," given twenty seconds to counter the six Democrats who had yammered on for twenty minutes about whatever issue burned that day).
Brock reportedly flew into a Rumplestiltskin-like rage at his maltreatment, especially at parties; he flipped completely, turning not only Democrat but attack-dog Democrat. He published Blinded by the Right, an unreadable screed against everyone he had formerly worked with; and he accused Republicans of rejecting him because he was openly gay.
Of course, he was openly gay when he published the Real Anita Hill, and that didn't seem to bother Republicans. Logic is not the long suit of avatars of self pity.
I have no idea whether Scozzafava ever met David Brock; the latter quickly dropped off the radar, after the sensation of his complete betrayal and subsequent toadying up to the far left lost its novelty. But she is following the same pattern as he, and I strongly suspect for the same reason: Thwarted entitlement.
Just as Brock believed his future was set (he was going to be the next conservative icon, a literary Rush Limbaugh, and incidentally a multimillionaire best seller), so Scozzafava -- judging by her campaign, her collapse, and her subsequent openness to complete betrayal of her former party -- saw the actual vote as mere formal flummery. She had already won the seat when the boys in the back room anointed her. They promised!
It turns out, Politico notes, that Scozzafava was promised power, prestige, and support if she flipped -- especially if she formally turned her coat. Such promises are invariably part of the wooing process... and almost always disingenuously so:
Also critical was [New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon] Silver’s assurance, in a phone conversation with Scozzafava, that the state Assembly Democratic caucus would embrace her if she chose to switch parties, now viewed as a real possibility after her endorsement Sunday of Owens.
Yep. I'm sure that next year, New York state Democrats will be eager to shove aside some life-long Democrat in favor of a humiliated and crushed erstwhile Republican, hated by a huge number of voters in the district, who just lost an election that was expected to be a shoe-in. Lots of luck, Dede.
I make a further prediction: After tomorrow, when Hoffman wins the race -- or even if Democrat Bill Owens squeaks out a narrow victory -- the Chicago Left will toss Scozzafava aside like a used Kleenex.
She may think she will be showered with gratitude from the president; she may fantasize that she'll have an honored place in the pantheon of New York liberals; but the reality is that nobody ever trusts a traitor again, especially not the beneficiaries of her partisan treason. Instead, Scozzafava will be utterly marginalized and shunted aside, abandoned, and embittered... just as was David Brock. (Anybody hear from him recently? Perhaps, continuing our Rumplestiltskin comparison, Brock stamped his foot so hard, he opened a crack and fell through the Earth.)
Such is the fruit of betrayal. I can't work up much sympathy, either for the party bosses who called themselves "the moderate wing" of the Republican Party or for Dede Scozzafava herself; I'm repelled by those who see the democratic process as nothing but a necessary and annoying evil, the klunky mechanism for their own career ambitions -- and to hell with what their constituents want.
But I do feel some pity for those honest moderate GOP voters: It's bad enough to lose what amounts to a post-hoc primary against the conservatives, without having to be humiliated by the thoughtless and insulting antics of their erstwhile standard bearer. Gracious and fairminded Democrats must have felt the same sinking horror in 2000, as they watched Al Gore try to sue his way into the White House.
Perhaps moderate New York Republicans should likewise think a second time before picking the next champion of their cause.
Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 2, 2009, at the time of 4:26 PM
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