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Scozzafava contest a bellwether for GOP battle between ideology and electability

By Dan Balz
Is politics about standing for principles and fighting for them? Or is politics about winning elections and passing legislation?

In an ideal world, politics is both of those things, but at the moment, both Republicans and Democrats face internal debates about the true nature of what it means to be a political party. A once-obscure special House election in upstate New York and the high-profile debate over health care illustrate the uncomfortable choices that accompany building stable, governing coalitions.

Start with the Republicans. New York's 23rd congressional district, in the far northern reaches of the Empire State, has been in Republican hands for generations. It is now the scene of a high-stakes struggle between national Republican leaders that could result in a Democratic victory and an embarrassment to the GOP.

The story is simple. The 23rd district was held for years by John McHugh, a moderate who fit the district and who was part of a vanishing species of Republicans nationally. Tapped by President Obama to serve as Army secretary, McHugh has left behind what has turned into a nasty mess for his party.

The Republican nominee, backed by local party leaders, is Dede Scozzafava, a state assemblywoman. Like some other northeastern Republicans, she is generally conservative on many fiscal issues but favors both abortion rights and gay rights. She is, say her supporters, the kind of Republican who can win a race in a district like New York's 23rd.

But Scozzafava hardly represents what the base of the Republican Party believes. She is out of step on core issues and, as a result, has drawn opposition from the right. Doug Hoffman, running on the Conservative Party ballot, is challenging the GOP nominee and his growing strength makes it possible that Democrat Bill Owens could grab the seat away from the Republicans.

The race has badly divided the national Republican hierarchy. The contest has become an early example of the fights likely to play out in the future as Republicans argue among themselves about how best to rebuild their party after two devastating defeats in 2006 and 2008.

Scozzafava enjoys the support of former House speaker Newt Gingrich, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the National Rifle Association. Hoffman has won the backing of two prospective 2012 presidential candidates -- former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and a host of other prominent conservative Republicans.

The arguments over the Hoffman-Scozzafava candidacies were summed up best by Palin and Gingrich.

"Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense and a commitment to individual liberty," Palin wrote in her endorsement. "Political parties must stand for something. When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of 'blurring the lines' between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections."

Gingrich warned against imposing ideological litmus tests and said the party should not purge all prospective candidates who don't agree with GOP doctrine 100 percent of the time. That, he told Fox News, will guarantee Obama's reelection in 2012 and a continued Democratic majority in the House.

The most recent polls show Scozzafava sliding and Hoffman rising. Some polling suggests Hoffman might actually be able to slip past both the Republican and Democratic nominees in what would be a major upset, although he will have to withstand a vigorous attack from his rivals in the final days of the campaign to manage that feat. As likely is that Scozzafava and Hoffman will divide the Republican vote and allow Owens to win.

For Democrats, the question of principle vs. winning is playing out now in the Senate and House over health care and whether any bill that includes a public option can win approval.

The base of the Democratic Party has made inclusion of the public option its highest priority. But there is resistance among Democratic senators from red states and for House members who won election in 2006 and 2008 from nominally Republican districts, who fear they might not survive their next elections if they back such a measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has upped the ante by announcing he will send a bill to the floor that includes a public option (though with an opt-out clause for states). His decision has delighted liberals and progressives, both elected officials and grass-roots activists. But it's not clear he has the votes to pass the bill.

One obstacle comes from Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who when he lost the Democratic nomination in 2006 ran as an independent and won his reelection race in Connecticut. He remains a thorn in the side of the Democrats. But there are other moderate Democrats who may present just as many problems to Reid in the coming weeks.

In both New York's 23rd special election and the debate over health care, the question is the price of purity. How much do political parties demand of their members? What compromises are necessary to build and retain coalitions large enough to win a national majority, whether in a presidential election or in 435 individual races for the House?

It is noteworthy that the engineers of the Republican takeover in 1994 and the Democratic takeover in 2006 are the strongest advocates for matching House candidates with their constituencies and then dealing with the consequences.

That was and remains Gingrich's belief, which is why he sided with Scozzafava. It also is how Rahm Emanuel, the former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and now White House Chief of Staff, brought the Democrats back to power. Emanuel's recruitment of moderate Democrats in swing districts became the template for the 2006 successes.

Both Gingrich and Emanuel were celebrated at the time of their victories,. Now they are feeling heat for maintaining those views. Gingrich is under fire from his conservative friends for what they see as a break with orthodoxy. Emanuel, who long has advocated the importance of passing health care, with or without a public option, has drawn fire from the Democratic base for what they see as being too willing to compromise.

The stakes for Democrats in the health-care battle are enormous. For Republicans, the stakes in New York's 23rd district may not be at that level, but nonetheless reveal a potentially debilitating split within their coalition. No matter the outcome next week in New York and, later, in Congress over health care, the arguments underway in both parties will continue to echo into the future.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 28, 2009; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  Dan Balz's Take  
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Comments

A punishing and well-deserved defeat in NY 23 for the fruitcakes on the right!

Just the beginning of many defeats to come.

Posted by: drindl | November 4, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Can this be the end of "bwahahahah?"

The election campain for the NY-23rd Congressional District is the big story of '09. Before the election, it was front page news. Now that the people of the 23rd have spoken, no-one seems to be interested. No one except the smart people. (Yes Mr. Baltz this means you!)

The winged monkeys of republicanism descended on NY 23rd and thought they could kidnap their election and fly off with the "wicked witch of Wazilla." The People of the 23rd just said, "Fuggettaboutit!"

Dede Scozzafava has earned the admiration and respect of all her constituents for standing up to these despicable republican media monkeys when it would have been so easy to kowtow.

Unlike the truly hideous, bullying, morons who now control the republican party, the voters of the 23rd are traditional Republicans who remember leaders like Dwight D. Eisenhower, Everett Dirksen, and John McHugh. They also remember a time when voters expected elected officials to work together with a shared concept of good government and respect for the Constituion.

Since then, republicanism has mutated into a coalition of the rich and the stupid, trading political support for institutional racism, sexism, and homophobia to their religeously fanatic teabagging minions for blank checks, tax evasion, nobid contracts, and an illegitimate, pre-emptive, republican war without end for wealthy global corporatists. This is a nightmare scenario that Eisenhower, Dirkson, and McHugh would have never tolerated in their wildest dreams.

The People of the 23rd have chosen wisely. Moreover, they have set an example for all traditional Republicans who choose not to be represented by the craven corporate handpuppets who currently control the republican party.


Posted by: MrTruth | November 4, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Does no one else find Irony in the fact that Palin cites "individual liberty" as one of the principles involved opposing gay rights?

Posted by: mjd4 | November 3, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Upstate NY is a tough place to live and is largly populated by independent minded people. Most running their mouths have no idea what the locals think or what they want. I am a central new yorker that works primarily in the north country.
I consider myself an upstater.
Here is the way I see it, upstaters want the goverment to stay off their property stay off their job and stay out of their pocket. If you want to see the mess big goverment can make come to New York. Go visit the cesspool the downstaters have created and think long and hard before you bring it to your home.

Posted by: saw1 | November 2, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord, Balz! Isn't there anyone in the WaPo newsroom who can tell you that someone who is "generally conservative on fiscal issues" would NOT have supported the so-called "stimulus" package, cap-and-trade, or card check????
Scozzafava might be a moderate Democrat but she's waaaay out there as a RINO.

Who cares about abortion and gay rights? There are 40 Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak, who are pledge to block the Pelosi health care bill unless it forbids federal funding for abortion.
Are they right wing nuts?

Fiscal responsibility is a mainstream, middle-of-the-road, Democrat/Republican issue. It's the traditional GOP stance that too many, like Scozzafava, have been allowed to stray from while still getting party endorsements. It's time to stop that.

.

Posted by: parkbench | November 2, 2009 2:25 AM | Report abuse

The astro turf tea partiers are led by a Corporate lobbyist, Dick Armey.
Shhh...don't tell them.

Posted by: angie12106 | October 29, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

The citizens of upstate New York have to elect someone to represent them in Congress. It's not a "bellweather" for a Healthcare Plan, it's not a contest with folks from as far away as Alaska weigh in, it is not a prediction for a Republican Candidate for an election three years away.

It is people electing their representative. It means nothing more, nothing less. But the millions of dollars being poured into the New York State media outlets and for the busloads of "volunteer vote getters" sure is appreciated from you ridiculous, partisan, egomaniacs masquerading as political leaders! Let us elect someone who pays attention to us and not to you meglamanics.

Posted by: tommariner | October 29, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

It didn't take long after I voted for Bush to realize he was no conservative. What I find fairly funny is that on blogs, the Libs are still berating him at every chance and the conservatives don't defend him at all. When will Libs realize that Republican does not=Conservative and that we Conservatives have no loyalty whatsoever to Bush.

Posted by: thebink | October 29, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The Republican "Blue Bloods" that think they control the party are in for a very rude awakening. Conservatism is back and it will rule the day. John McCain and his fellow travelers had their chance. In my opinion, they are not "real" Republicans. They are Democrats with a fresh coat of paint. The conservative base of the Party is about to throw the bums out. Let them join Arlen and the Democrats. They can be Marxists together. By 2010, the Party will be on the way to being representative of the conservative will. Those of the country club persuasion can get lost. They can join their communist buddies Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. The Republican Party is about to start representing the ordinary American citizen. We will welcome all races and religions. The only requirement is that you must be a social and fiscal conservative. You must believe in the U. S. Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Declaration of Independence. You must believe in these documents as written by the founders. We do not and will not accept a so-called "dynamic" or growing Constitution. We accept the validity of the original document. All true believer in justice and the American way, should join with us in the "new" Republican Party. All you Democrats with the "big tent" can welcome those Republicans that are striving to be one of you. The Blue Bloods believe the same as Rodney: "Can't we all just get along." The American Communist Party aka the Democratic Party should keep the welcome mat out. The conservative base will run our detractors out. They can sleep with the enemy in the open, and will not have to sneak around anymore. Conservative Unite!!!

Posted by: jerdjon | October 29, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

What can we say to upstate New York? Pump up the Palin? If the people in that district want to vote for a non-resident supported by a celeb with a hair-do, that's there choice.

As for the false distinction bgreen is selling: principle or nation. Er, the article was discussing putting principle before party (or vice versa) not a choice between patriotism and party. Your claim to "insist on candidates whose highest priority is what's best for the country and its citizens" is high-minded perhaps but beside the point. I think we can assume that most politicians would at least claim to have the best interests of the country at heart. The question is whether a politician will put getting elected above party ideology. This has to do with the need to compromise. Something many Republican politicians seem to have forgotten.

CB in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | October 29, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I for one have had enough of political parties making their highest priority their 'principles'. I insist on candidates whose highest priority is what's best for the country and its citizens. Neither party's political philosophy trumps the interests of our nation, and in this way, I am NOT alone.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | October 29, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Beacon2 | October 28, 2009 7:19 PM
"Upper NY is a classless community."

AND LOWER NY IS CLUELESS.

They are conservative and self-sufficient and they don't like being told how to live their lives. If they want a junk car in their backyard, nobody tells them different. They are especially honest and deals are win-win, hence very suspicious of Wall Street types. If you can't afford a doctor's visit, he might take a load of firewood. Their value system is their own. They are not going to tell their neighbor to not have an abortion because it s part of their Conservative value system.

AND YOUR PROBLEM WITH THIS IS_________?

What they lack is the vertical caste system of the southern plantation aristocracy or the religious silos of the mid-west. Palin can bang her bible and she will get blank stares. Being a politician will make people suspicious of her motives. Dick Armey is a fish out of water in that area. These people are of modest means and modest wants, not part of his worldview. As another poster mentioned,
they are not dumb.

WOW! NO PREJUDICE IN THAT PARAGRAPH AT ALL.

They supplied a lot of Union soldiers during the Civil War. They probably sent many to fight the present wars and they cannot fail but notice that we are exactly back where we started and a trillion down the drain after our eight long years of regime change and nation building experiments. That they be soured on all government would be understandable. If the "Values" crowd gets these people to vote against their own reasonable value system, and replace it where the Southerners and Wall Street are running the show, telling them how to live their lives, I will be amazed and a bit disappointed.

NOTHING LIKE TALKING OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF YOU MOUTH!


Posted by: peggy1949 | October 29, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

REPLY TO anOPINIONATEDsob | October 29, 2009 9:28 AM

I'M SORRY THAT I DIDN'T USE THE KING JAMES VERSION FOR YOU. IN THAT CASE, IT WOULD BE "THOU SHALT NOT KILL". EITHER WAY, YOU GOT THE MESSAGE.

DOESN'T PROPER ENGLIGH ALWAYS CALL FOR CAPITALIZATION OF PROPER NAMES?

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE FOR ALL BELIEVERS--AND YES, THAT INCLUDES ME.

Posted by: peggy1949 | October 29, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I STILL REMEMBER "YOU SHALL NOT KILL."
Posted by: peggy1949 | October 28, 2009 5:33 PM

The above comment is a perfect example of the mindset of typical republican "conservatives". The Freudian slip is telling for her thumping bible misquote "you" shall not kill says nothing is off limits for her or those who think as she does and that was the Bush basis for the Iraq war. The REAL quote is "Thou" shall not kill and that is not mutually exclusive to those who think they have privileged communication from God.

Oh, and one other correction to this womans rantings. She objected to someones not capitalising her name as an insult to her status but you will notice her signature is also not capitalised and could that be another Freudian slip? Are rules for others and not for her? Now that's a republican plank in their platform for sure!!!!

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | October 29, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Reply to JC505, not all southerners are brain dead blue haired raisin republicans. We sent you Rubin Askew for president after her restored Florida to sanity in the 70s and you didn't like him because he was Jewish so you kept Reagan and began the long and painful "conservative" financial decline broken only by Clinton's 8 years of profitability to the working class. Other than that, it has been ever increasing platinum parachutes for incompetent con artists connected to the Bush mafia including their best friends, the Bin Ladens. I wonder why that does not anger "real" Americans?

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | October 29, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: TrulyIndy -- "PM My My Peggy, and Rufus North Country people don't care who endorses whom."

Good point TrulyIndy. Your county is caught up in events much larger than your geographical boundaries.

You say "The GOP will eat itself". Hopefully the GOP will become a useful instrument of Freedom loving fiscal conservatives.

Posted by: RufusJunior | October 28, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Peggy is a foreigner. Upper NY is a classless community. They are conservative and self-sufficient and they don't like being told how to live their lives. If they want a junk car in their backyard, nobody tells them different. They are especially honest and deals are win-win, hence very suspicious of Wall Street types. If you can't afford a doctor's visit, he might take a load of firewood. Their value system is their own. They are not going to tell their neighbor to not have an abortion because it s part of their Conservative value system.

What they lack is the vertical caste system of the southern plantation aristocracy or the religious silos of the mid-west. Palin can bang her bible and she will get blank stares. Being a politician will make people suspicious of her motives. Dick Armey is a fish out of water in that area. These people are of modest means and modest wants, not part of his worldview. As another poster mentioned, they are not dumb.

They supplied a lot of Union soldiers during the Civil War. They probably sent many to fight the present wars and they cannot fail but notice that we are exactly back where we started and a trillion down the drain after our eight long years of regime change and nation building experiments. That they be soured on all government would be understandable. If the "Values" crowd gets these people to vote against their own reasonable value system, and replace it where the Southerners and Wall Street are running the show, telling them how to live their lives, I will be amazed and a bit disappointed.

Posted by: Beacon2 | October 28, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

My My Peggy, and Rufus
North Country people don't care who endorses whom. They care that they are isolated in a state where the power centers don't give a (expletive) about them. Hence Sarah P., Armey, and Hoffman making this an issue of Conservatives vs. RINO is idiotic. It is also the reason that the 23rd has voted GOP since the mid 1800's in a very Democratic state. So this RINO would like be voted in and the the GOP would have another seat that they could convince or mammer in to toe-the-line. Hoffman is a millionair outsider, that admits to not knowing the issues for his district. The GOP will eat itself

Posted by: TrulyIndy | October 28, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 28, 2009 4:59 PM
"Religions have tenets, peggy. Landlords have tenants. I'm guessing it's been a while since you've been in a confirmation class."

I BEG YOUR PARDON SIR, THANK YOU FOR THE CORRECTION. WHILE WE'RE IN SPELL CHECK MODE, THE FIRST LETTER OF MY NAME IS CAPITALIZED. YES, IT HAS BEEN MANY YEARS SINCE CONFIRMATION CLASS, BUT I STILL REMEMBER "YOU SHALL NOT KILL."


Posted by: peggy1949 | October 28, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

jkoch2 -- "If perfect is the enemy of good, and a DINO preferable to a RINO, then let Rufus Jr., Sarah, and the whole herd of Repubicans RUSH to the realm of extinct reptiles."

Sorry J, but great thundering herds of us will be trampling our way to the realm of the Voting Booth; and NY 23rd is only a dim foreshadowing of November 2, 2010.

Government should not be deciding how much people earn or what television stations give us legitimate news. The White House has meddled too deeply in the private sector.

Posted by: RufusJunior | October 28, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Beacon2 | October 28, 2009 4:53 PM
"The people of upstate NY have always been ignored, regardless how they vote."

PERHAPS THEY'VE HAD ENOUGH!

They are practical

AND TIRED OF BEING KICKED TO THE CURB.

and I don't believe they will vote Plantation Republican Imperial President ideology.

SORRY, MY POOR,WHITE, UNEDUCATED BRAIN DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS.

While everyone wants small government and lower taxes, we just had eight years of small-minded government

THE TERM IS SMALLER GOVERNMENT

that brought two senseless wars,

I BELIEVE THAT WAS STARTED AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER--DID YOU FORGET ALREADY?

joblessness and a ruined economy

SINCE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER CONGRESS IN 2006.

I can't see the upstaters falling for the Crackpots'simple-minded BS.

THE TERM IS CONSERVATIVE VALUE SYSTEM.

Especially when a NYC tycoon, Steve Forbes, will probably be the presidential candidate.

IS NEW YORK THE ONLY STATE WHO CAN PRODUCE A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE?

What has Steve done for upstate NY?

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR UPSTATE NEW YORK?


Posted by: peggy1949 | October 28, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Religions have tenets, peggy. Landlords have tenants. I'm guessing it's been a while since you've been in a confirmation class.

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 28, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: enough3 | October 28, 2009 12:43 PM
"The North country is a poor, sparsely populated area with few minorities or immigrants, just mostly poor white families eking out an existence in an eternally poor area, with low educational and income levels. These folks are not dumb, however, and care more about economic issues...."

THE FACT THAT YOU FELT THE NEED TO DESCRIBE OTHER VOTERS IN THIS WAY IS EXACTLY WHY THE BASE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS FIGHTING BACK. OBVIOUSLY SOMEONE LOOKING DOWN HIS OR HER NOSE AT THESE VOTERS DECIDED WHO THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THEIR AREA WAS. THIS DECISION IS BEST LEFT TO THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE AND WORK HARD IN THIS AREA.


Posted by: peggy1949 | October 28, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The people of upstate NY have always been ignored, regardless how they vote. They are practical and I don't believe they will vote Plantation Republican Imperial President ideology. While everyone wants small government and lower taxes, we just had eight years of small-minded government that brought two senseless wars, joblessness and a ruined economy. I can't see the upstaters falling for the Crackpots' simple-minded BS. Especially when a NYC tycoon, Steve Forbes, will probably be the presidential candidate. What has Steve done for upstate NY?

Posted by: Beacon2 | October 28, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Gingrich converted to Catholicism yet backs a socially liberal Republican? He either doesn't understand the tenants of his faith or the base of his party--or both!

Posted by: peggy1949 | October 28, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Independents and moderates are repulsed by the socialist agenda of Obama and the Democrats in Congress. Moderate states like Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and many others will vote Republican in the next two elections, mostly as a rejection of Democratic corruption, incompetence, and extreme ideology. Posted by: Jerzy"

Interesting. I heard almost exactly that in the early part of the Dianne Rheem show this morning. Three very conservative republicans and a very conservative moderator spent lost of time talking over one and other, describing how the party had no room for crypto Democrats like Scozzafava. One of them, in very good Conservative form, made three very bad tries at her name and then excused himself with, "I never could pronounce her name!" Neither of his cohorts, nor the moderator corrected him. Apparently having an unpronounceable name is also not permissible in a Republican Candidate.

They actually did do a great job of describing the future of the republican party, although not one of them realized what they were saying.

The Republicans have no future, because they have a past and a History that speaks more eloquently against them than anything any Democrat could ever say.

Hoover, Landen, Wilkie, Dewey, (twice), Eisenhoer/Nixon, Nixon/Lodge, Goldwater/miller, Nixon/Agnew, (twice), Fortd/Rockefeller, Reagan/Bush, (twice), Bush/Quayle, (twice), Dole/Kemp, Bush/Cheney, (twice), McCain Palin. No voter alive goes back farther than that. That is what the Republicans have had to offer, and now they have decided that they need to purify their ranks.

When they have ejected the three Republicans in five that are to the Left of their great purity standards, that three Rinos in five needs only about ten percent of the electorate just to the left of center to begin winning elections. They won't need the lunatic base that Palin, and virtually every other Republican hopeful courts, to win, and won't owe that lunatic fringe anything when they do begin winning. For a while there will be two 40% parties and a 20% party out in the wilderness. Because the fight will be over the center the republicans abandoned in 1980, the Republicans will be loud and obnoxious and not in office.

And odds are they will keep trying to refine their purity even more to compensate.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 28, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

There are Republicans from the East and Republicans from the West, but the base is ALL THE REST.

Posted by: peggy1949 | October 28, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: amaikovich

"Interesting issue. Who do you vote for if you are liberal socially, but fiscally conservative. (These voters do exist.) Right now, they're more welcome in the Democratic Party."

BY ALL MEANS, REMAIN IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. THE LINES ARE ALREADY BLURRED IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE TERM "RINO"?

Posted by: peggy1949 | October 28, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The entire nation would be standing in soup lines were it not for the bold, decisive leadership of Democrats. the Republicans fight hard to maintain the Bush status quo, a condition that nearly drove this nation into bankruptcy. If the 23rd congressional district voters want to maintain and support failed Republican economic policies, then they are dooming the nation to a future of mediocracy.

Posted by: mavajuan | October 28, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

What this election will show us is neither, what you mention in this article. It will show us if HOFFMAN wins. "WE THE PEOPLE" are sick of the PARTY POLITICS from BOTH Parties. If Palin runs in 2012 will she run as an INDEPENDANT.

The "SPEECH GIVER" and this CONGRESS is by far the worst at PARTY POLITICS!!

TERM LIMITS NOWW!! FAIR TAX NOW!! and SEND IN THE DAMN TROOPS NOW!!!!

Posted by: 79USMC83 | October 28, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/misc?url=/templates/zoom.pbs&Site=WD&Date=20091028&Category=BLOGS09&Lopenr=910289993&Ref=ARurl=/templates/zoom.pbs&Site=WD&Date=20091028&Category=BLOGS09&Lopenr=910289993&Ref=AR
Is a link to a political Cartoon the seems to sum up feelings of the fine people in the North Country of NY. The North Country is what these proud people call their land, My family has lived there for centuries.
Armey stepped in to it for Hoffman because if ever "all politics is local" is true it's there. The North Country is like the red-headed stepchild of New York, that has to kick-n-scratch for any funding that it can get away from the areas of Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and of course The City.
This Cartoon's caption reads "Well look what have we here. It's a donkey, and an elephant, and a scary scary vampire."
Can you guess on whose neck the vampire is hanging. The Conservatives have done themselves bad, in picking this as their battleground.

Posted by: TrulyIndy | October 28, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"To say that this race, in a state where 26 of the 29 seats already belong to the Democrats, is a "GOP bellweather," is misleading to say the least.

The real "bellweather" election next week will be right here in Virginia, in a state that just last November was declared "Blue."

Why the media is not picking up on this state-wide election is absurd. This election will be a response to Obama-politics much more than a race in NY, which will soon turn into Massachusetts."

This is complete rot. The VA election is a bellwether of nothing. Deeds has run a horrible campaign, and in fact ran away from Obama for months. McDonnell has run a slick, safe campaign. Further, recent polls indicate that voters' views of Obama will have little effect on this race.

Further, in every gov election since 1977, VA has chosen the candidate whose party lost the previous year's presidential election.

So the expected McDonnell win proves little if anything. A Deeds win would be much greater news and more indicative of a trend.

Sorry annandaleannie, but your analysis is weak. In fact, I don't believe you're even in annandale, because you seem ignorant of the facts on the ground. Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, maybe.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 28, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The cited election is an anomaly that does not prove the rule.

The real contests will be head-to-head in moderate districts and states in 2010 and 2012, and Democrats should be very worried.

Independents and moderates are repulsed by the socialist agenda of Obama and the Democrats in Congress. Moderate states like Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and many others will vote Republican in the next two elections, mostly as a rejection of Democratic corruption, incompetence, and extreme ideology.

Posted by: Jerzy | October 28, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: amaikovich

Interesting issue. Who do you vote for if you are liberal socially, but fiscally conservative. (These voters do exist.) Right now, they're more welcome in the Democratic Party.

-------------------------------

Here's an interesting issue: social conservatives have no impact on your life, but fiscal liberals can destroy this economy and make you a slave to the government ala Europe. Perhaps you feel better about yourself knowing that gays can marry, but in the end, how does that affect you. Even if you gay, it's only about making society tell you you're normal, which you aren't. You may be more welcome from the dimorats, but they don't care one bit about your fiscal conservatism and in the end, you end up screwing yourself. And that's what always happens to those in the middle, they get run over.

Posted by: george69isatrannie | October 28, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"FED SECRETIVE SECURITY AGENCIES FUND, OVERSEE NATIONWIDE VIGILANTE 'GESTAPO" -- EXTRAJUDICIAL BYPASS OF THE RULE OF LAW"

Isn't it great to be able to write this stuff as you sit smugly at your desk.

Knowing full well that if it weren't for the "secretive security agencies" you'd be cowering under your desk.

Posted by: TrueObserver | October 28, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Thee is a big difference between a total ideological litmus test and no litmus test. There must be somethings that succinctly differentiate a Democrat from a Republican. Palin and Co. want Republicanism to mean reactionary social policies- gay rights, church and state etc. They regard the traditional Republican view of conservatism -less government- as antiquated since they do believe in active government in their social policies. Whatever the merits of their argument they have a point that parties must stand for something otherwise they are nothing more than platforms for people to be elected to office and for the party leadership to retain their perks.

As a Democrat I think any Senator who would join the Republican's in a filibuster on health care should leave the party. I would make the point that some of those so called "moderates" should remember that if they could win on just Republican votes they should run as Republicans and none of them will be able to win if the Democratic wing of the Democratic party doesn't support them.

Posted by: rds7481 | October 28, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

To say that this race, in a state where 26 of the 29 seats already belong to the Democrats, is a "GOP bellweather," is misleading to say the least.

The real "bellweather" election next week will be right here in Virginia, in a state that just last November was declared "Blue."

Why the media is not picking up on this state-wide election is absurd. This election will be a response to Obama-politics much more than a race in NY, which will soon turn into Massachusetts.

Posted by: AnnandaleAnnie | October 28, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

THIS is what the Bush-Cheney Hard-Right Ideology Has Wrought:

FED SECRETIVE SECURITY AGENCIES FUND, OVERSEE NATIONWIDE VIGILANTE 'GESTAPO" -- EXTRAJUDICIAL BYPASS OF THE RULE OF LAW

• Civilian volunteers fronted by federally-funded organizations such as Citizen Corps, Infragard, C.O.P.S. and USA on Watch stalk, harass, vandalize, terrorize unjustly "targeted" persons and families with covertly placed, warrantless GPS tracking devices -- an unconstitutional extrajudicial targeting and punishment matrix.

• Reports of physical impairment, disabling injury from silent microwave/laser radiation "directed energy weapons" covertly deployed against U.S. citizens via electromagnetic spectrum and to local law enforcement under various federal programs.

• Feds, locals refuse to investigate victim complaints in nationwide cover-up of alleged atrocities, enabled by co-opted and complicit local police -- an American slow genocide-politicide.

• Array of "programs of personal financial destruction" slowly destroy livelihoods and family finances -- a slow, methodical genocide that targets those labeled as "dissidents," or "social deviates," whistle-blowers, ethnic and religious minorities.

WHEN WILL CONGRESS AND THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WAKE UP AND SMELL THE POLICE STATE THAT SUBVERTS THE RULE OF LAW?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 28, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The republicon party needs to continue to purge and purge and purge. Not until it is pure and white as the driven snows of Alsaska will the conservative party of fox/limbaugh, beck and hiniti be safe from the communists. Purge. Purify. Ban any unbelievers. Cast out the sinners and anyone who dares utter heresey in the temples of st. reagan. Throw them all out until only the true beleivers are welcome or even allowed to speak the sacred words.

It is what your country demands of you for its continued properity and health.

Posted by: John1263 | October 28, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

TheMadKing waaaaaaaay overestimates the financial resources of "liberal lefties" if he thinks they can afford to bus-in ACORN rabble rousers. Union folks who show up probably are locals - sorry about the t-shirts. When Mike Dukakis & Jerry Brown show up in Watertown to stump for the Democrat like Palin & Armey are doing for the conservative, please let me know!

Posted by: SC_observer | October 28, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"Palin wrote in her endorsement" (from Face Book, a social networking site)

Creating divisional among two entities will always assurance the third entity will win...
basic math....

Posted by: lindarc | October 28, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

kare1, re GOP carpetbaggers, allow me to retort:

Is packing town halls with out-of-towners and even out-of-state ACORN rabblerousers and SEIU Purpleshirts to intimidate the locals the only way LibDem Lefties can prevail on the issues, as they tried to here in NH and all over the country?

How many DNC out-of-towners and out-of-staters are pouring into NY-23 right now to try to swing a local election their way? What YOU don't seem to understand is that carpetbagging is SOP for both parties, but YOU only want to rail against the GOP side, i.e. stay blind in one eye. Might as well blind the other one, for all the good it's doing you.

Posted by: TheMadKing | October 28, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Like some other northeastern Republicans, she (Scozzafava) is generally conservative on many fiscal issues but favors both abortion rights and gay rights."

Conservative on fiscal issues, LOL! Compared to whom? Obama and Pelosi? Not to mention the Planned Parenthood, SEIU, ACORN and WFP support? Shoots down the whole argument of Dede being within a twenty meter cattle prod's distance of being Republican!

Is it any wonder newspapers are tanking when their readers are far more informed than their journalists?

Posted by: TheMadKing | October 28, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"she wont be voting for irresponsible tax hikes or excessive regulation."

What about the irresponsible tax breaks, deficits and excessive deregulation that got America into the mess we're in now?

Never trust a Republican with budget or defense matters.

Posted by: thebobbob | October 28, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Suits: Re YOUR opinions .... listen to the wooden indian.

Posted by: economist2 | October 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

When I lived in the 23rd. District of NY, if you did not register Democratic, you were registered Republican, and your vote was counted for that party. NO MATTER WHAT STATE YOUR LEGAL RESIDENCE WAS IN.

Posted by: laurelphoto | October 28, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Question: What happens when Hoffman beats both the GOP and Democratic candidate? Who will be more embarrassed, the GOP candidate who lost to the conservative base of her own party or the Democrat who lost to a divided Republican party?

Posted by: SUMB44 | October 28, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Only conservative Republicans would fly people and candidates in that KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE TOWN OR DISTRICT. THEN MAKE A POINT OF FLYING ALL THE UBER_CONSERVATIVE Losers in to try to make a point. (PALIN, ARMEY, Thompson, Pawlenty)

COULD any of them even find the town on a map without GPS>

Is this how the GOP of going to work now - recruit out of towner all across the country to run in districts where the people don't even live

IS THIS THE ONLY WAY THEY CAN WIN

Posted by: kare1 | October 28, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Splitting the vote is the major reason Kathleen Sebelius was first elected Governor of (deeply red) Kansas, much to the embarrassment of Republicans. Sebelius has many policies, no doubt more liberal than the typical Kansan, but she was elected to power because of in-fighting between purists and moderates.

Secondly, social liberal/moderates and fiscal conservatives typifies Libertarians, not Liberals. She might help the Democrats repeal DoMA, but she wont be voting for irresponsible tax hikes or excessive regulation.

A rational discussion of all candidates is not a "liberal hit job". Balz doesn't come close to expressing an opinion, persuasion or anything other than portraying the facts. I suspect the attempt to portray "rational news" as radically liberal is nothing more than trying to change what rational news is - the mindset is: unless it is a pro-conservative piece, it is liberal bias.

Posted by: scadolph | October 28, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

RufusJunior: "We believe that even a loss to the Democrat, Owens, would be better than sitting idly while the GOP runs more RINO candidates like Scozzafava."

If perfect is the enemy of good, and a DINO preferable to a RINO, then let Rufus Jr., Sarah, and the whole herd of Repubicans RUSH to the realm of extinct reptiles.

Posted by: jkoch2 | October 28, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"they need every reminder they can get that it's the values of Reagan, not Rockefeller or Gingrich or McCain, that wins elections for the GOP."

Please, numbnutz, other than his own elections, what elections did the "values of Reagan" win for the GOP?

The values of Gingrich won control of the House for 12 years for the GOP.

But hey, keep digging up Reagan's corpse. See how far that gets you. In fact, totally ignore -- like you're now doing -- every other great Republican of the past. Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, etc. Forget 'em! Ride that Reagan horse.

LOL what a bunch of freakazoid losers.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 28, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

It didn't go well: Hoffman is not even a resident in the NY 23 district, and told them he knows very little and almost nothing about local issues in the district. And then Dick Armey chimed in to justify these defects by saying that the local issues "are parochial issues and not relevant" to the campaign.
------
This goes to show you when the party recruits individuals or individual themselves has no understanding of the issues or the larger of scheme of things to even be running. I see this all the time and it does not surprise me...

Posted by: beeker25 | October 28, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Interesting issue. Who do you vote for if you are liberal socially, but fiscally conservative. (These voters do exist.) Right now, they're more welcome in the Democratic Party.

Posted by: amaikovich | October 28, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RufusJunior
On the few occaisions when I have called John Boehner's office I always got a stoned out hippie sounding intern named Brandon, or Justin, or Jason; who sounded cosmically indifferent to the future of the Republican Party, much less the United States of America.
-----

The reason for the attitude because Boehner demands those to follow the script. Have you noticed he and Cantor were eager to attach themselves to the Tea-party protesters because they are void of leadership and were eager capitalize on the anger despite the fact that it was his party working in lockstep with Bush put themselves there. And it does not help that leadership has scolded Steele for straying into policy decisions by telling him to butt out.
===============
Posted by: hrtshpdbox
they need every reminder they can get that it's the values of Reagan, not Rockefeller or Gingrich or McCain, that wins elections for the GOP.
----
Reagan did not have the low tax and small government values because at first he lowered taxes and raised spending(primarily defense) Then realized that the deficit was spiraling out of control, so he signed several legislations that actually raised taxes to cover the shortfall.
He said the new debt of $3.0T was his greatest disappointment of his presidency.
In reality he has charisma that he was able to sell that idea to capitalize om voters disenchantment and they took the bait. It was the same with GWB. I am seeing the same sets issues that occurred back in 1992.

Posted by: beeker25 | October 28, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

If the wingnuts want to go down with the ship, I say let 'em drown.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 28, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

If Gingrich, Boehner, and the NRA represent the "moderate" side of a Republican feud, it only shows how unhinged the party has become.

Posted by: rashomon | October 28, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Right winger Hoffman went to the Watertown newspaper editorial board for a candidate interview and possible endorsement, and took fellow traveler Dick Armey with him. It didn't go well: Hoffman is not even a resident in the NY 23 district, and told them he knows very little and almost nothing about local issues in the district. And then Dick Armey chimed in to justify these defects by saying that the local issues "are parochial issues and not relevant" to the campaign. The editorial board did not take kindly to this arrogant attitude, and ran their influential story about the disastrous Hoffman visit on the paper's front page. The damage is done and it was big.

The North country is a poor, sparsely populated area with few minorities or immigrants, just mostly poor white families eking out an existence in an eternally poor area, with low educational and income levels. These folks are not dumb, however, and care more about economic issues than the interests of the Club for Growth top 1% crowd, which uses good citizens as tools for their power grab and economic exploitation of America. They are not patriots, rather they are economic Huns raping America and using Ayn Rand's vicious ideas to guide them toward tyranny.

Posted by: enough3 | October 28, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I am a swing voter -- registered Indepedent who left the Republican party 10 years ago when the party was shifting dramatically to the right on social issues. If the Republicans wanted me back (and I am willing to come back), they need to come back closer to the center on social issues. The more that socially conservative Republicans are elected, the less likely I will be able to come back. Perhaps that's fine with the R party, but it doesn't seem very prudent to be punting the swing voters out.

Posted by: CNY-DC | October 28, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

This is a simple GOP re-branding exercise. The brand's been tarnished by the McCains of the world and it may take a district caught in as collateral damage to reestablish what GOP stands for. We don't need two Democrat parties in this country. One can't destroy this country fast enough, and the other will only be cheerleading.

Posted by: NoWeCant | October 28, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is now busily dividing itself into purer and purer factions.

As an end result, I think America needs a ideologically pure GOP that represents as much as, say, 10% of the population, mostly in the South and maybe Alaska.

Then we can ignore them completely and get on with rebuilding America after this long GOP nightmare!

Posted by: JC505 | October 28, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The question is will the good people of New York take the time to study the candidates and make an informed decision.

Too many people vote for political parties and disregard qualified 3rd-party candidates.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | October 28, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Beware liberal Washington Post columnists who give strategy advice to to GOP.

First of all, the columnist says the election could "result in a Democratic victory and that would be an embarrassment to the GOP".

Many conservatives would like to see the GOP embarrassed now instead of in 2010. We believe that even a loss to the Democrat, Owens, would be better than sitting idly while the GOP runs more RINO candidates like Scozzafava.

More important, nearly everything that liberal media pundits said about the Tea Partiers has turned out to be wrong, including the idea that Tea Partiers were an Astroturf creation of Newt Gingrich et. al.

Much of the RNC (Republican National Committee) is old, moldy, and out of touch with the vibrant young fiscal conservatives who are driving the Tea Party Movement.

For some time now the GOP National Strategy has been to take the phone off the hook, close the blinds, and buy expensive ads at election time.

On the few occaisions when I have called John Boehner's office I always got a stoned out hippie sounding intern named Brandon, or Justin, or Jason; who sounded cosmically indifferent to the future of the Republican Party, much less the United States of America.

Much of the Republican Party is useless and irrelevant to the Tea Partiers. The GOP has a year to change this, or become irrelevant forever.

Taking out Dede Scozzafava was the cheapest way for the Tea Partiers to show GOP two things:

(1) We're serious
(2) We have power

Posted by: RufusJunior | October 28, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Athens.

Sparta.

Who remembers the mealy mouths?

Principle wins every time.

Posted by: TrueObserver | October 28, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

What's the point of voting someone into office who will mostly vote against your fundamental beliefs simply because they have an R beside their name on the ballot. If Scozzafava changed her party affiliation to Democrat would anyone notice?

Posted by: RobT1 | October 28, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Coalition-building sounds to me like one of those good problems. Once you have something like that, you hold the power. Becoming ideologically homogeneous, as Bill Kristol argued for, doesn't get you anywhere but in the minority...permanently.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | October 28, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Ha. Typical. Attack the columnist. No matter that he's objectively right, and this issue is what's going to force he GOP even further into the minority and irrelevancy. Bill Owens and democrats like him from coast to coast will continue to will moderate districts where the Right-wing activists continue to snipe at moderates in both parties. Personally, I don't mind because Bush taught me the fewer republicans in government, the better. And the likes of Hoffman, Palin, Pawlenty, and DIck Armey seem to be helping us, the Democratic majority, enormously.

Posted by: JoeAnon | October 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"Doug Hoffman is challenging the GOP nominee and his growing strength makes it possible that Democrat Bill Owens could grab the seat away from the Republicans."

Nope. His growing strength makes it possible (probable, likely, near-certain) that Hoffman, as the only conservative in a conservative district, will win the election. And that's good for the GOP and their 2010 prospects; they need every reminder they can get that it's the values of Reagan, not Rockefeller or Gingrich or McCain, that wins elections for the GOP.

Posted by: hrtshpdbox | October 28, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

It's very simple.

The extra dem vote means nothing.

But.

At the next primary Dede wont even put up her name for the Republican nomination.

If Hoffman doesn't win now, he will November 2010.

We don't have to wait to see the biggest loser on election night.

It's Gingrich already.

He was just a little too cute.

Posted by: TrueObserver | October 28, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Typical liberal hit job by a WP columnist. The anger from the right has little to do with abortion or gay “rights”. Scozzafava is not a moderate, she is a liberal. She supported Pelosi’s so called stimulus package and supports union efforts to do away with elections.

Posted by: BenLaGuer | October 28, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

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