03 November 2009


One election being held today may have an important impact on the future of the Republican party, even though no Republican candidate is actively running in it.

The 23rd Congressional district of New York state is rural and fairly conservative, though it went for Obama by a narrow margin last November. The Republican candidate who until recently was running in the district, Dede Scozzafava, is a moderate, even liberal by Republican standards; she supports abortion rights and gay rights to an extent, positions which are anathema to the Christian Right which now dominates the Republican base. Besides her Democratic opponent, Bill Owens, she faced a hard-line right-wing challenger, Doug Hoffman, running on the ticket of the minor Conservative party. Major hard-right Republican figures such as Sarah Palin have campaigned for Hoffman over their own party's candidate (Hoffman has been called a "carpetbagger" because he doesn't live in NY-23; this is misleading, but most of his money comes from outside the district, and he's clearly the candidate of the nationwide hard-line right in its battle against what remains of moderate conservatism). Recent polls showed Owens and Hoffman each supported by about 35% of voters, while Scozzafava hovered around 20%.

Over the weekend, Scozzafava dropped out, leaving the race to Owens and Hoffman. She endorsed Owens.

NY-23 has never elected a Democrat, and most analysts expect Hoffman to win easily today (dissenting view here). If he does, the hard right will celebrate -- but it could doom or at least deeply undermine the Republican party's hopes for a comeback.

The party's national support is still declining. This is what pretty much always happens in the US when a party goes too far in the direction of ideological purity and abandons the center (there have been times when it happened to the Democrats too), and yet -- again, just as usually happens in such situations -- among the ideological hard-liners there are those who claim that the party's problem is that it isn't extremist enough, that it needs to be even more purist in order to energize the base. A party's return from the wilderness generally begins when it learns to stop listening to those people and move back toward the center.

If Hoffman wins, it will push that day much further into the future for the Republican party. 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 irony is that the Republicans actually have an example of an effective comeback strategy staring them in the face on this very same election day, provided by one of those larger contests -- the Virginia governor's race. The current Democratic governor, Tim Kaine, cannot run again due to term limits, and polls show that the Republican candidate, Bob McDonnell, will almost certainly win -- precisely because he is a relative moderate who has moved away from earlier hard-line positions and can appeal to a more diverse electorate. The whole state of Virginia is certainly a lot more like the US as a whole than one district in upstate New York is.

At a time when their party is on the ropes, you'd think Republicans would be excited at the prospect of picking up a major office now held by a Democrat -- but among those to whom far-right ideology is what really matters, NY-23 has sucked up all the attention, and the wrong lessons will be learned.


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Thanx for the preshow on the NY-23 and the lowdown's.No doubt I been hearing quite a bit about that one this last week in the media.

I am disappointed actually locally in Dallas County, because the early voting turnout was very low, so I am hoping that folk's here get out and vote today in higher number's.That is one of the biggest problem's I see amongst voter's ...they get lazy to vote, or too busy...and only turn out heavy when push come's to shove and desperation set's in.The election's last November 08 turned out record number's in other word's.I can only HOPE here.The weather here is excellent as far as any wait...70 degree high, with nice breeze...sunny ... and I look at some of the weather people have to stand in at some places around the nation,yet they dont whine about it.I have no excuse .. my vote location is a 5 minute walk from my back door.Yet I alway's hear excuses from folk's on why they dont vote...you can vote here 2 week's early as well ... it's sad!Then when time's get tough...folk's whine!

I am particularly hungry to vote today because 3 Dallas school board seat's will be decided today. Not that we had much problem in Dallas...however...there is a movement in the state where they been getting very sneaky about issue's like textbook's, and this intelligent design crap,and their sneaky slippery bastard's too!...I even heard locally that some rural town was trying to sneak this religious crap in through not science...but literature classes...as "art". Call me paranoid...that's fine ...but I live in Texas...and I dont trust any of these SOB's as far as I could throw them! I reckon in a place like Oregon you dont have to worry about the stuff we do down here.

I am so desperate...that even though I dont officially have a party...I will only vote straight democrat(so my vote will actually at least count)and the most liberal I can find at that! I am too the point where I would vote for goddamn Ronald McDonald if he was running as a democrat,I am so desperate!

Thanx Guy...........

03 November, 2009 04:38  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

One more thing ... I am actually in a daze still over the GOP which today just mean's "God's Own Party" because it has been highjacked from the real conservative's and raped of it's dignity and integrity it once stood for! ALL true conservative's of this nation especially Texan's should be outraged on what these bastard's have turned this party into!

I have said in posting's over a year ago that I believe Palin is a winner and I still do,regardless of what any poll's say.I like her personality...and I know she could win alot of vote's...I know a good bet when I see it usually...and even though they say she cant run or wont run or whatever ... I dont buy any of that crap until I see it in person.There is not a snowball's chance in HELL that I would vote for her...nor do I buy this crap that she is "moderate" as far as being too religious.I can see through her ... and she is sharp...and also think's she is chosen by God...if she were given too much responsibility.Romney is another slippery one...with a great personality I dont trust.Another who is even deadlier is Huckabee...he is Mr.Personality to the extreme...he could sell a lemon car to a used car salesman he's so smooth...and very nice and charming too! What is so confusing to me...is I dont think I have ever been so mixed up on what strategy a party is taking.I mean...we have this GOP in the hole still...and worsening as month's go by...yet they still keep holding on to damaged good's as if they can sell them, and tightening the noose even tighter around their neck's ... why would you possibly do that? And what am I missing here ... as far as what strategy they will try to slither in over the next couple year's? There must be something I am not seeing ... because NO ONE can possibly be this stupid.

Thanx ......

03 November, 2009 04:57  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NO ONE can possibly be this stupid.

Uh, we're talking about people who believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that global warming is a giant hoax by the scientific community. Care to think again?

03 November, 2009 06:09  
Blogger JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

You can never underestimate the stupidity of the public. People hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe no matter what their eyes and ears actually see and hear.

03 November, 2009 16:32  

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