05 November 2009

Live by the teabag, die by the teabag (2)

On Tuesday, anticipating that far-right candidate Doug Hoffman would win the NY-23 Congressional race, I said:

If Hoffman wins....the hard right will claim that its strategy -- purge moderates and embrace ideological purity -- has been vindicated (even though this is a low-turnout election in a small, atypical district). And then it will pursue that strategy in 2010 and 2012 -- when it will be doomed among the much larger and more diverse electorates of statewide and nationwide contests.

The actual outcome, from the Democratic viewpoint, is starting to look like the best of both worlds. As we know, Hoffman lost -- but the hard-right element within the Republican party has insisted on learning that self-defeating lesson anyway, without us having to pay the price of Hoffman actually taking a seat in the House. Some right-wingers are proclaiming the NY-23 defeat to be a victory in disguise, bizarrely claiming that it "proves that Republicans can't win without conservatives", whereas what actually happened was that a conservative failed to win (in a district which has been Republican since 1871) without moderate Republicans. They're energized to purge more moderates and get more hard-liners nominated.

The next place to watch here is Florida. The present governor of Florida is Charlie Crist, a Republican who is moderate (at least on environmental and some economic issues), endorsed McCain for the Republican nomination last year, and is widely suspected of being secretly gay, though he is not supportive of gay issues. In 2010, he plans to run for the Senate. While far from liberal, Crist is moderate enough to win office in a culturally-diverse state -- and so he's anathema to the Beck-Limbaugh-teabagger hard-line right, which has found its Florida Hoffman in his more conservative rival Marco Rubio. Polls show Rubio much less likely than Crist to win aganst a Democratic opponent, yet a hard-right groundswell is now building to make Rubio the Republican nominee. Florida -- and many other races -- could be on track for another NY-23-style "conservative victory" next year.

4 Comments:

OpenID 12counts said...

"(in a district which has been Republican since 1871)"

I'm not sure how this bit of misinformation got started, but this district has not been Republican since 1871.

A quick google search shows that in past 21 elections for this seat, Democrats have won 15 times. Ergo, this has been a pretty reliably Democratic district since WWI.

I think this was a right-wing crackup, but not because it lost a Republican district. This is not a Republican district.

05 November, 2009 09:35  
Blogger Sue said...

Come by and see my Dick Armey video speaking on this subject. The rightwing extremists will fight the moderate repubs, very, very interesting indeed!

05 November, 2009 10:29  
Blogger TomCat said...

Bring on the tea bags!!

05 November, 2009 13:32  
Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

For a political party that hopes to win by addition, it makes no sense to engage in subtraction. Shall we call this "self-sabotage!"

05 November, 2009 19:53  

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