Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Real Lesson of the NY-23 Race
The conservative blogosphere has been abuzz about the New York 23rd district special election, and conservatives have been lining up to pick sides. This reliably Republican rural district in way upstate New York, vacated when President Obama appointed John Hugh to Secretary of the Army. Instead of holding primary, the party county chairmen picked the candidates. On the left is down-the-line Democrat Bill Owens, in the center is socially liberal and economically moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava, and on the right is Doug Hoffman of the Conservative Party. Often, the Conservative Party endorses the Republican candidate, and Doug Hoffman initially sought the Republican nomination, and was nominated as a Conservative when the pro-choice, pro-gay marriage Scozzafava (who voiced support for the bank bailout) was nominated. Recent polls show Doug Hoffman leading, which would certainly empower the Tea Party movement, and the New York Times has declared the race a battle for the soul of the Republican Party. But the truth is that grassroots Republicans have already been indicted in this race. If they really wanted a down-the-line conservative, they should have been involved before now. If Conservatives get upset at the Republican Party, take their ball and leave, the moderates, neoconservatives, and liberals will take control of the Party. And when they do, don't expect them to pick anything other than moderates, neoconservatives, or liberals. If conservatives are upset with the Republican Party, that is all the more reason to get involved and try to change it. The process might not be democratic, but the Republican Party county chairmen unanimously chose Dede Scozzafava as their candidate. I'd like to think that involved conservatives would have changed that, and we wouldn't have to be dividing the center-right voters.