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Morning Fix: NY-23 as 2012 litmus test?

The Iowa caucuses may be more than two years from now but a series of moves by potential Republican presidential contenders has turned a special election in New York's 23rd district into an early test of conservative bona fides.

In the last week three GOPers with an eye on 2012 -- former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin -- have weighed in on the race with Tpaw and Palin throwing their support behind Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and Gingrich endorsing state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava.

(Polling and conversations with those close to the contest on both sides suggest it is now a two-person race between Hoffman and Democrat Bill Owens with Scozzafava fading badly.)

Both Palin and Pawlenty cast the contest as a fight for the future direction of the Republican party in announcing their decisions to back Hoffman. Palin said her endorsement would send a message to GOP leaders of "no more politics as usual" while Pawlenty said that "we cannot send more politicians to Washington who wear the Republican jersey on the campaign trail, but then vote like Democrats in Congress."

Gingrich, for his part, insisted in an e-mail to the Fix that the special election was not -- and should not be interpreted as -- a conservative litmus test, and explained that his endorsement of Scozzafava was entirely about respecting local party leaders.

Gingrich noted that Hoffman had run against Scozzafava for the Republican nomination and lost at a series of county meetings; he warned of the "grave danger of establishing the precedent that every faction can run a third party candidate if they lose a primary or a convention," adding that such a strategy is "the road to re-elect [President] Obama and make [Nancy] Pelosi speaker for life."

With conservative blogs -- led by -- casting the Nov. 3 special election as a referendum on the state of the party and so many would-be presidential aspirants weighing in, however, it's hard not to see the race through the 2012 lens.

Conservatives dominate the nominating process (as liberals do on the Democratic side) and these are the sort of moments that a relative unknown like Pawlenty will use over the next 18 months to convince voters in places like Iowa and New Hampshire that he is one of them.

Not all of the names mentioned as 2012 candidates are getting involved in NY-23, however. Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman for Mitt Romney, said that the former Massachusetts governor has no plans to weigh in for either Hoffman or Scozzafava. Ditto for former governor Mike Huckabee (Ark.), Sen. John Thune (S.D.) and Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), according to spokespeople for each man.

John Weaver, a former senior adviser to Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) two presidential bids, called the New York special a "proving ground" for aspiring presidential candidates. "[It's] all aimed at the 2012 Iowa caucus and trying to influence some key activists around the country," he added.

Tuesday's Fix Picks:

1. Bob McDonnell up double digits in WaPo govs poll.
2. Grunwald on California on the rise; and the Calitics rebuttal.
3. Reihan Salam eviscerates Charlie Crist.
4. Fred Malek's top 10 Republican leaders.
5. John Irving's latest, reviewed.

Deeds Drastically Cuts Ad Spending: State Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) is spending just over $400,000 on ads in the final week of his campaign for Virginia governor, according to sources familiar with the buy, a massive cutback from his disbursements on television over past weeks. Rumors that Deeds was struggling with cash flow have been rampant in recent days, and the $700,000 reduction in ad spending between last week and this one is a sure sign that things are not going well for the Democrat. According to a source familiar with the Deeds ad buy, the Democrat is only running 400 gross ratings points in the Washington, D.C. media market -- meaning that the average viewer will only see a Deeds ad four times in a week. (Typically campaigns like to close with 2,000 or so points on TV in a key market like Washington.) Word of Deeds's money problems comes less than 24 hours after a new Washington Post poll showed him trailing former state attorney general Bob McDonnell (R) by 11 points.

RGA Pounds Corzine: One week out from the New Jersey governor's election, the Republican Governors Association is now up with 15-second ads they hope will make a final case against Gov. Jon Corzine (D). "The Jon Corzine record -- highest taxes in the nation, highest unemployment in the region," says the ad's narrator. The ad then quickly touts former U.S. attorney Chris Christie's (R) plan for economic recovery -- "now that's a plan," intones the narrator. Fifteen second ads tend not be less effective than their 30-second brethren but the cost of running statewide television in New Jersey is such that the RGA is spending all that it can. Polling -- aside from a seeming outlier survey released Monday by Suffolk University -- shows the race as within the margin of error. The critical question one week out is how much vote share independent candidate Chris Daggett will take. The higher Daggett goes, the better chance Corzine has at pulling off a stunning come-from-behind victory.

Lawton Drops in WI-Gov: Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Barb Lawton (D) dropped out of the 2010 governor's race on Monday, leaving Democrats without a serious candidate -- for the moment. In an e-mail sent to supporters, Lawton cited "very personal reasons" for her decision to leave the race. Speculation immediately turned to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett who,according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, is the preferred choice of the White House to pick up the Democratic mantle. Barrett, a former congressman, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002 but has won solid reviews for his stewardship of Milwaukee and has drawn national attention for breaking up an assault at the state fair and incurring significant injuries in the process. Some national Democrats remain skeptical that Barrett would run and speculated that Rep. Ron Kind (D), who surprisingly ruled out a bid last month, might take another look at the contest. National Republicans believe Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is a star candidate although former representative Mark Neumann is also in the primary race.

Click It!: Massachusetts state Sen. Scott Brown (R) is a long-shot to beat Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the likely Democratic nominee, in the race to replace the late Ted Kennedy in the Senate, but this video -- centered on Coakley's response that she has a sister who lives oversees when questioned about her foreign policy experience -- is a keeper.

DGA Moves to Strengthen Ritter: The Democratic Governors Association is moving to shore up embattled Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter -- helping to finance new television ads in the state that tout the incumbent's accomplishments including attracting a wind turbine factory to the state. "Bill Ritter: Strong leadership that has Colorado on the move," says the ad's narrator. Ritter, who was elected in a landslide three years ago, has struggled to maintain that popularity since coming into office. Democrats acknowledge that he is in serious electoral jeopardy in this purple state although Republicans seem headed to a feisty primary between former representative Scott McInnis and state Sen. Josh Penry.

Say What?: "They know what they're against. I'm still waiting to hear what they're for." -- Vice President Joe Biden throws a little rhetorical heat Republicans way during a fundraiser for Ohio Reps. John Boccieri and Zack Space.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 27, 2009; 5:05 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Short Takes: Club poll shows Hoffman ahead in NY-23
Next: Fix Poll: The most overrated Governor in the country


Don't forget about David Harmer (R) in CA-10. He could pull off an upset on Nov. 03.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | October 27, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Snowbama, the difference between dissenting against a Democrat and dissenting against a Republican is that the Democrat doesn't care a rat's hairy patoot about your dissent, whereas the Republican will take your name and sic an antiterrorist surveillance unit on you and your family.

Somebody asked about the social makeup of the voters in NY23. Per Congressional Quarterly, in 2008 they went narrowly for Obama and about 2/3 for (incumbent Republican) McHugh. I grew up there, and it's very socially conservative, but dependent on government assistance and state/federal jobs (prisons ar popular); opportunities are very thin on the ground. Much of the area is dependent on tourism, from both the US and Canada. The region is predominately white, Catholic, and educated only through HS/some college, excepting some diversity at Fort Drum and post-bac educational levels at Potsdam and Plattsburgh. In terms of party machinery, the Democrats have never been able to get it together; the Republicans have a long-standing lock on local politics. Mostly, I think people up there are afraid of change, because for at least the past 20 or so years, "change" has meant negative changes in their lives.

Posted by: northgs | October 27, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"Both Palin and Pawlenty cast the contest as a fight for the future direction of the Republican party in announcing their decisions to back Hoffman. Palin said her endorsement would send a message to GOP leaders of "no more politics as usual"

Palin's endorsement seems just a little divisional.

All I can remember is the article by Andrew Sullivan, "The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin: A Round-Up" in July of 2009...interesting articles. It actually list the lies told by Palin. (there were a lot!!!) It was thorough and an assessment made by fact check...

The definition of rogue is:
1 : vagrant, tramp
2 : a dishonest or worthless person : scoundrel
3 : a mischievous person : scamp
4 : a horse inclined to shirk or misbehave
5 : an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation

It fits well. Face book is for SOCIAL networking not policy development from someone unemployed....

"amazed at the way a segment of voters is EASILY SWAYED to crash from one political mind-set to another."

I still love this country...

Posted by: lindarc | October 27, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

40% of the country self-identify as conservatives. 20% self-id as liberals


Hate to be the bearer but that does not translate to 40% voting for the far-right cavemen the GOP is planning to run.

Don't count yer chickens.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 27, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The name of President Obama's "CHANGE" is Socialism...


And you expect this to alarm anyone?

Bet you think you're the first to use the S-word. You're not. In fact you guys have long ago taken all the sting out of it.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 27, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

drivl and other Libs who can't count past ten with their sox on, know how many stormed the mall in dissent, previously the highest form of patriotism, now a sign of mental abberation.

All the lib minions are headed out of town on a rail next week. the story will be the sharp rebuke to socialism and weak leadership. the next domino to fall will be the "public option".

Wait, I forgot that with the cooling, it is now called climate change.

I mean insurance change of course. make that insurance choice. Can we weave hope in there somewhere?

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The ultimate in stupid. What a total waste of taxpayer's money.

'Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and 75 other House Republicans have introduced a resolution "expressing gratitude and appreciation to the individuals and families who participated in the Taxpayer March on Washington on September 12, 2009" -- and claiming that the Tea Party march drew many, many times more protesters than it actually did.'

Posted by: drindl | October 27, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Check out the Doug Hoffman ad the Fix mentioned was put out by the DNC. It is *very* effective, esp. for a Democrat.

Posted by: rickedelson | October 27, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

the government option:

U.S. taxpayers spent about $32 subsidizing the cost of the typical Amtrak passenger in 2008, about four times the rail operator's estimate, according to a private study.

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

This country can't survive if you're as childish as the Democrats: For the last few decades, we've had an "adult" party that deals in the real world and a "children's party" that promises everyone everything for nothing. Unfortunately, the "adult party" has been acting a little too much like a 40 year old going through a mid-life crisis for the last few years.

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

This is one Mr. Deeds who apparently isn't going to town. The collapse of the Democratic campaign for governor of Virginia speaks volumes - chapters, anyway - about what the body politic is trying to tell Barack Obama's Democrats.

They're learning, painfully, that campaigning without George W. Bush is baffling, frustrating and scary. Worse, it offers a preview of what the congressional campaigning will be like next year

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

haha - 'paralysis' is a good word. Elected republicans are afraid of GOVERNING and LEGISLATING because that to the base is a sign of 'socialism.' This is what happens when you allow a cult to take over a party:

'In June, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) promised that an alternative health care reform bill would be introduced that Republicans could rally behind. “We’re putting the final touches on our bill,” Boehner said in July. Then, the chairman of the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), admitted that the House GOP leadership was unlikely to introduce a bill. Now, The Hill reports that “some House Republicans are growing frustrated that their leaders have not yet introduced a healthcare reform alternative”:

Rep. Tom Price (Ga.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), revealed the schism within his party late last week.

“There’s a difference of opinion over what ought to be the strategy from a political standpoint on this issue. I happen to believe we ought to have a bill.

One House Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “The fact is, [GOP leaders] are very concerned with doing anything that the base would interpret as ‘Democrat-lite’ or ‘socialized-lite’ … which is forcing a paralysis.”

Posted by: drindl | October 27, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse


endorsement of the kooks on the left - Kos, ACORN, drivl et al, is the kiss of death.

I don't suppose Repubs will allow the loons to choose our candidates for us any longer. that is certainly a losing strategery.

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

interesting how the winger self-identifies as 'aunt pittypat' -- a racist confederate southerner in the movie Gone with the Wind.


Posted by: drindl | October 27, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse


That piece in Forbes truly shreds Charlie Crist! It's devastating. It's not, though, the type of piece that's got legs b/c one has to really get into it before its cumulative impact becomes apparent.

Aren't you glad you're on the reporting side? Whatever some of your detractors in the comments section say, it's nothing compared to the vitriol that gets thrown over politicians.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 27, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I see the progressive paid blogger brigade is out in force today.

40% of the country self-identify as conservatives. 20% self-id as liberals. That's according to a Gallup study of thousands released yesterday.

Guess the Proggies are running scared. :)

Posted by: auntpittypat | October 27, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Sure Malek is a real credible character when it comes to making lists.

"When Richard M. Nixon wondered in 1971 whether his efforts were being undermined by a "Jewish cabal" operating inside the Bureau of Labor Statistics, he personally directed Fred Malek to compile a list of high-ranking Jews working there. Malek's report on the inquiry concluded:

13 of the 35 fit the other demographic criterion we discussed.
During the following two months, two of the Jews in question were demoted.

He also gave G.W Bush a real job.

Probably worth $250 million, at least according to a 1999 profile in the Washingtonian. Malek was also one of the financial backers who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise and put George W. Bush in charge.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | October 27, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

so with all of this chatter about NY23rd, no one has mentioned what the voters of the district are like, and how they voted in '08. Palin endorsing anyone just might drive the voters towards the dems even more, how well or bad did Palin do in NY? Did she even campaign there? I know she was in NYC letting the Pakastani ambassador 'hug' her, but did she ever campaign there? Deb Snoff(spelling?)... is from the district and has a pretty good idea of how to be a successful republican in a moderate district. Conservatives don't know how to spell "moderate", yet they think their world view is the most popular.

Posted by: katem1 | October 27, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

On Malek's list are quite a few who have never been elected to anything, or never will be again, a couple with dismal records, and one County Executive from Wisconsin.

Color me unimpressed.

Posted by: drindl | October 27, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

it would not surprise me if corzine himself drummed up the scam that netted his cronies billions...
over and over again...
corzine is from the greed is good crowd...
how else did he make millions...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 27, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"that doing away with Medicare, takeover of Car industry, and banks, and education, and installing open Borders where entering our county ILLEGALLY is no longer a crime"

'Democrats doing away with Medicare...' It's tragic how easy it is for the cynical rightwing pols to fool the hopelessly illiterate and uninformed in this country.

Posted by: drindl | October 27, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Ok we have another contender in the Republican comic relief category...

"the Tea Party Express is coming and it is going to run you over..."

So which is it, never a majority party again without "appealing to minorities, especially hispanics" or a crowd of older white bigots with tea bags tied on their hats carrying "we want our country back" signs. Republicans, whither goest thou?

Posted by: shrink2 | October 27, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin, I know exactly what you mean about Deeds' poor command.

He is a weak speaker, doesn't make his points well and has either too little energy or too much. He sometimes looks sad, mad or lost. He hasn't run a good campaign against the super confident Governor Goodhair-in-training, and he hasn't been able to inspire the cadre of Democrat die hards enough to get them to the polls in sufficient number.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 27, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Good posts, jaxas. You are absolutely correct that in an age of globalization, when we need more government -- to protect public safety, for instance, from the influx of foreign foods, drugs and products, and to protect American citizens from the predations of enormously wealthy multi-nationals and to regulated the increasingly complex global financial arena -- what we are getting from so-called 'conservatives' is a cry to dismantle the very structures we need most to survive.

They are offering nothin--only a vaccuum, a void, where leadership, ideas and solutions should be.

Posted by: drindl | October 27, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Heaven Forbid if the "Hard Right Wing" gains control of the Republican Party. Oh Yeah! We need more Kennedy-McCain Bills, Lindsay Graham and Olympia Snowe preaching AMNESTY FOR ALL---Public Option, to speak for the Party.

The above Liberal Democrats on this blog are scared to death that the Conservatives and Moderates and Independents will kick out all the radical left members of the Democratic Party...which just happens to be the first 50 MOST Liberal VOTING U.S. Senators. Surprise, they are all Democrats until you even get to the name of Olympia Snowe.
Consider, the country is being led by FIFTY Left-Wing extremists who are listening..but can't hear or understand--that doing away with Medicare, takeover of Car industry, and banks, and education, and installing open Borders where entering our county ILLEGALLY is no longer a crime. This is not the promised change Americans want or for which they voted.

The name of President Obama's "CHANGE" is Socialism....plain and simple. So please, No more advice from Liberal Dems who are so concerned about the Conservatives exposing the truth of what is actually --going on and look out--the Tea Party Express is coming and it is going to run you over...with truth and votes.

Posted by: passonfirstdown | October 27, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I'd argue that the Deeds general campaign looks a lot like the Moran primary campaign. This was going to be a tough year for VA Democrats in any event. Kaine barely won election running as the co-pilot of a wildly popular governor.

The thesis was overplayed to the point it became the Deeds campaign. It'll be interesting to see how the legislative races in VA turn out. Hopefully, the McDonnell administration will turn out to be more fiscally competent than Gilmore.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 27, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

It was actually Mark Levin that first promoted Hoffman, reaching millions, then Palin, then Pawlenty.

Give Mark a little credit.... Hoffman's coffers were rising as a result of his support and having Hoffman on his radio show. Then, Palin announced and Hoffman's coffers rose even further (skyrocketed, no doubt). Pawlenty offered even more credence to the man.

Good for them.

Posted by: notbuyingit | October 27, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

It was actually Mark Levin that first promoted Hoffman, reaching millions, then Palin, then Pawlenty.

Give Mark a little credit.... Hoffman's coffers were rising as a result of his support and having Hoffman on his radio show. Then, Palin announced and Hoffman's coffers rose even further (skyrocketed, no doubt). Pawlenty offered even more credence to the man.

Good for them.

Posted by: notbuyingit | October 27, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Malek's list has McDonnell as the #1 possibility of running for President. Are you serious? His thesis debacle should automatically disqualify him for any office higher than Governor, and if Deeds had a campaign manager with half a brain they would have smoked McDonnell. Also he has Bobby Jindal on that list. That guy had his ten minutes of fame and was found to be seriously lacking.

If I were a Republican I would look at Maleks' list and cringe. If that list is the best the GOP can offer in the next two elections or so than they are in serious trouble.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 27, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

There is a fatal flaw in conservatism. And it has to do with having a governing philosophy. The fatal flaw is that the underlying founding stone of conservatism is limiting or reducing government at a time when the demand for government services is increasing.

There is a sort of inevitable algorithm to all of this. This experiment began at a time when America--and the rest of the world for that matter--was simple and agrarian in nature. Government power was easy to limit and control. But, it did not take long for American leaders to discover that the velocity with which change was occurring was far outstripping their ability to meet the demands of a growing, prosperous citizenry.

The Supreme Court was the final arbiter on just how government should react to such growing demand for public services when the Marshall Court ruled that the so-called "enumerated powers" were insufficient to meet that demand. Thus in decisions like Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland, the Court ruled that expanded powers to execute the powers implid by the enumerated powers were constitutional; thus, the Implied Powers doctrine.

This brings us to the fatal flaw in conservatism. They reject the Implied Powers doctrine i favor of the far more limited enumerated powers. This, in today's fast-paced, technologically innovative world, would render America an obsolete, quirky, third world country.

Little wonder that conservatives tend to fail in government. It does little good to have this burgeoning capitalist market economy absent a sufficiently strong government to regulate its worst excesses. Conservatives have never understood this.

Posted by: jaxas | October 27, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Ah, who cares what Gingrich thinks? Everyone knows he's a RINO.

Posted by: nodebris | October 27, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Re Fix Pick#4: I find it hilarious that Fred has to mention Rubio because they "need an Hispanic leader" in their party.

Why is there even an open seat for Rubio to run for? Because Martinez quit. He quit because he was too moderate to be allowed to stay in the Republican Party. Crist was going to run to the right of Martinez, and now he's got Rubio on HIS right.

Classic example of how the GOP wants minority candidates, and minorities to vote for them, but not so much as to give an inch on ideology. Definition of a small-tent party.

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 27, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse


Two words for you: Michael Steele.

Posted by: mnteng | October 27, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I guess what I am struck by is how little any of this red state-blue state, right-left, liberal-conservative cluture war nonsense has any meaning to our lives.

Look. I remember in 1980 how the right thought Reagan's win was going to upend all of those "socialist" programs they loved to hate--social security, medicare, aid to education, the EPA, etc, etc. Yet, Reagan found to his own dismay that he could effect very little change and ultimately ended up pretty much governing as a centrist.

In 1994, when the republicans swept botyh houses, the right thought finally it was the end of the old liberal infrastructure. Yet by 1995, it was painfully clear that even control of both houses could not overcome the anger of the American people at their attempts to do away with a single department of government (Education) and shut down the federal government to get there. It diodn't happen because what conservatives do not understand is that notwithstanding how people answer a poll question on whether they describe themselves as liberal or conservative, when it comes to government, they are pretty darn liberal inside.

Now here they are again insisting theat if they win this irrelevant little NY district it will point to a new desire on the part of the American people for putting conservatives back in power. It never seems to occur to them that the voters elect politicians to actually govern. They proceed under the false assumption that they are elcted to dismantle government.

Posted by: jaxas | October 27, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

NewsBusters -- WaPo: 'It Is Now a Two-Person Race Between Hoffman and Democrat Bill Owens With Scozzafava Fading Badly'

Posted by: StewartIII | October 27, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse


Regardless of the outcome in New York's 23rd, the big winner is Newt Gingrich and the big loser is Pawlenty.

The national GOP infrastructure has not been fractured by the tea-baggers, and Newt knows this. In big party politics, loyalty can (and probably should) eclipse ideology; it's the only way to build a broad enough coalition to win national elections (assuming hard-right extremists don't rig those electronic voting machines that no one is talking about these days...)



• Deposed Honduras President Manuel Zaleya confirms the essence what unjustly targeted citizens worldwide -- including this journalist -- have been reporting for years...

...military, secret security and intelligence services of many nations, including the U.S., silently assault and torture "targeted individuals," including those regarded as "dissenters" or slandered as undesirables, with debilitating, health-degrading, "slow-kill" electromagnetic microwave and laser radiation weapons systems -- reported to include a nationwide installation disguised as cell towers.


OR (if link is corrupted): RE: "Gov't Tortures" and "Gestapo USA."

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 27, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

In re Marco Rubio, (#4) Fred Malek says,

"We desperately need in our own party a young Hispanic leader. We cannot again be a majority party without better understanding and appealing to minorities, especially Hispanics."

This makes me laugh. I don't know why exactly, the phrasing, the obvious, the several ironies. It will stand as my Republican joke of the day until someone says something even funnier.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 27, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse


Much better analysis of NY-23 than the poorly thought out post on the CfG poll. Thanks -- that's why I still come back.

And thanks to AndyR3 for a good follow-up.

Malek's list of Rs is also worthwhile.

Posted by: mnteng | October 27, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I think Gingrich is right. I hope exactly half of Republicans believe him. In NY-23 next week, in primaries next year, and in choosing a nominee in 2012.

I hope the Conservative Party runs its own viable candidate in a record number of congressional races next year, as opposed to endorsing the Republican. Who knows how many seats the Dems might pick up?

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 27, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"The public option is so bad and unpopular, ninny peloony is renaming it."

Read the polls lately? Even in its "public option" incarnation it was polling way past the midway mark. People want alternatives and know that private insurance has no interest in providing them. Maybe you like your products to come from monopolies, but some of us prefer products developed in a competitive atmosphere.

Speaking of a competitive atmosphere, this intramural fight in a small Republican district in upstate NY is simply that. That Palin et al have decided to flex their reactionary muscle there is telling, but not necessarily predictive. Palin may be popular with the base, but on a national level, she's seen as a divisive figure careening around creating havoc. Gingrich represents the wing of the GOP that actually likes to win elections, not spoil them.

Posted by: Koko3 | October 27, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Also, this big loser is helping Hoffman. It's like everyone who lost the last election is in NY23 'helping' Hoffman.

"The newest ad from Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, stars none other than former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN), a presidential candidate from the 2007/2008 Republican primaries."

Posted by: drindl | October 27, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

pamela is absolutely right here:

'Electing a conservative to a seat held previously by a Republican, in a heavily Republican district (the districts in upstate NY are gerrymandered beyond belief) especially in an off-year election where turnout really matters simply proves - nothing.'

Hoffman gets this huge infusion of cash from the fat cats at Club for Growth and floods a small rightwing district. His primary opponent gets trashed by her own party. What it all adds up to is zero in terms of a trend.

Posted by: drindl | October 27, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@MM: Creigh is just running an awful campaign and Mac is running a great one.
Had Brian Moran been the Dem nominee, Brian would be 11 ahead.
Checklist. Five checks.

Pawlenty in 2012. Check.
Phalin in 2012. Check.
GOP comeback shout out. Check.
Free ad for extremist Hoffman. Check.
No positive mention of our 44th President. Check.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 27, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

The public option is so bad and unpopular, ninny peloony is renaming it.

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The NY-23rd district should definitly not be taken as representative of NY as a whole or our country as a whole. It has a large Army base in its borders and is heavily republican. However, this election can be used as a bell-weather for what is to come in the GOP, and I don't know as a liberal which winner will serve the democratic party better.

If Owens wins, I think the Democratic party can and will claim victory of a VERY red seat in congress which they may be able to hold if Owens can play the moderate as well as he has so far. It will also tramp down some of the talk that the GOP is gaining steam. If they're smart the GOP power structure will use it as a lesson that the party most present a unified front or it will get creamed even in solidly republican areas.

The flip-side is that if Hoffman wins, it will embolden the far-right of the party, and could create a shift in the power structure to a more hardline conservative platform. This would have disasterous consequences for the GOP, IMO. Which as die-hard democrat may end up being more beneficial in the long run.

The key to this election as any special election will be turn-out in places like
Watertown, Ogdensburg, and even Wanakena (beautiful little town in the Adirondack Park where they had one of the debates that Hoffman skipped).

We know the loyal GOP and Democratic party foot soldiers (highly involved in the party itself) will vote for their candidate (I would say 20% each). If the remaining 60% split down the middle to Owens and Hoffman than Owens wins it. If Hoffman pulls in the lionshare of that 60% and maybe pulls a few party loyalists away then we may have a race on our hands.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 27, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

If Hoffman wins in NY-23, and Republican activists believe this "proves" that only a "true" conservative can prevail, I think they're deluding themselves. They should ask themselves if a candidate like Hoffman could win state-wide? Do they truly think that the reason there are so few Republicans left in congressional districts in the north east is because those formerly incumbent Republicans were not conservative enough?

Electing a conservative to a seat held previously by a Republican, in a heavily Republican district (the districts in upstate NY are gerrymandered beyond belief) especially in an off-year election where turnout really matters simply proves - nothing.

Posted by: -pamela | October 27, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

margaret, I am not there, in VA, but it does seem as if CD projects incompetence and McD projects relative command. That would explain a significant part of the "change of heart". Voters like me will look for the one most likely to keep the state's business operating, even if the candidate has weird beliefs about women. The low turnout for statewide elections explains the rest. Key loyal D constituencies staying home in larger proportion than key loyal R constituencies in non=presidential years is not a new phenomenon. It is not a phenomenon at all.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 27, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link to the "Time" sunshine article on CA. It was upbeat to the point of boosterism; nevertheless, it provided a counterweight to the gloomy news we hear from CA on a regular basis.
Because few parts of the nation could afford an R split and still have one of the R fragments whip a D, either NY-23 bodes ill for Rs; or else it is meaningless to most of the nation. If Rs think McC lost because he did not run far enough to the right they will mirror those Ds who actually think when they lose it is b/c their candidate did not run to the left. Seizing the center is the key to national electoral victory for either party. That is self-evident, except to liberals and conservatives.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 27, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to hear about the trend in Virginia. I am amazed at the way a segment of voters is easily swayed to crash from one political mind-set to another. I guess the trick is that the mind isn't doing much work, so advertising and "good repositioning" makes this segment say baaaah and trot off after a candidate they find attractive.

chaujohnathon, just what rock does your greatness lie under?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 27, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

leading this world in the right direction, will benefit amerca to a large extent.

liberty first, religious liberty second, hillary (aka obama) got it wrong.

they just don't have a clue on how to advance america. they don't know what america's greatness lies under.

Posted by: chaujohnthan | October 27, 2009 5:53 AM | Report abuse

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