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The Most Important Number in Politics Today

5

That's the number of times that a new Republican National Committee ad running in New York's 23rd district uses the word "conservative", evidence that establishment GOPers are trying to wrangle the energy of the party base for their political purposes.

"Do you believe in Republican conservative values, like thrift, personal responsibility, and family," asks the ad's narrator. "Let's tell the liberals, enough is enough."

Later in the commercial, the narrator touts the need to vote for "proven conservative ideas" and closes the commercial by saying: "Vote conservative, it matters like never before."

The short-term play here by the RNC is a simple one. After Republican-endorsed state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava dropped from the special election race and endorsed Democrat Bill Owens, the national Republican party quickly moved to embrace Conservative party nominee Doug Hoffman who, according to polling released today, is the favorite heading into tomorrow's vote.

Assuming Hoffman wins, this RNC ad -- along with the full-throated support of RNC Chairman Michael Steele -- will allow national Republicans to claim Hoffman as a victory for their side even though, given the Scozzafava collapse, that point is decidedly debatable.

More broadly -- and importantly -- however, the RNC's ad in NY-23 is an attempt to convince the party base, which, led by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, helped topple Scozzafava as the nominee, that the establishment respects them and wants their voices heard within the party.

While Republicans may well celebrate their gains tomorrow night -- Virginia looks like a lock, Hoffman is the favorite in New York and New Jersey has become a toss-up again -- an undercurrent of unease exists within the GOP, an unease born of the possibility that the very element that has fueled the party's rebirth in the first nine months of the Obama Administration may also, ultimately, spell its long-term demise.

Wrote Jim VandeHei and Alex Isenstadt in a story today in Politico:

"In the wake of conservatives' role in forcing liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava out of Tuesday's special election in New York's 23rd District, GOP officials are trying to make it seem as if they are helping to stoke the passion -- and can harness it to upend President Barack Obama and Democrats. They didn't -- and they can't."

We're not ready to draw that conclusion just yet but the sentiment expressed in the piece is exactly right. The anger on the right has grown organically, without -- and many times in spite of -- the efforts of party leadership. (Remember how few party poobahs embraced the tea party movement when it began.)

Establishment Republicans -- led by the RNC -- are smart to use the special election in New York as a way to prove to conservatives that their causes are not so different and that the two strains within the party have much more in common than either does with Democrats.

Still, it's far from clear that the conservative base -- fresh from claiming a "scalp", according to GOP strategist Mark McKinnon -- will be looking to negotiate a detente with the Republican establishment rather than beginning the hunt for its next Doug Hoffman.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 2, 2009; 1:24 PM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Next: Fix Poll: Tomorrow's Political Headline Today

Comments

If only what people believe were the truth! They get so angry when contradicted. Didn't any conservatives ever have high school debate and need to be equally prepared for both sides of the debate question? The decision for debate winner was in the information, sources and art of persuasion, not the insults and anger about their beliefs. There is no one truth. Argument strengthens the truth and outcome.
Belief is one weak thing, and truth, measurement, science, facts and empirical evidence are another. I rack my brain for why the right wingers are so hateful, ignorant and lacking in introspection. Why are Catholics, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Parsi, Protestant and all other true believers so devoted to the truth of their beliefs? They want to be right without having to prove their beliefs, because they cannot. Beliefs are part of our upbringing and parental and cultural indoctrination. Change the cradle we land in and you will change our indoctrination and beliefs, and certainty. It's pretty simple to see.

Posted by: enough3 | November 3, 2009 1:42 AM | Report abuse

not many elementary school yards allow guns.

==

I will continue to regard these pedophilia asides as proof that I am kicking your a§§ n here. By all means, please continue to call me a pedophile, which I am not, and I will continue to point out that you post from a mental institution, as a patient, which you are.

Let it be a lesson to others: committed Republicans post-torture-memo are not only nutty, but clinically so.

I love it when the world is a coherent place.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Not buying what the Fox (formerly the Fix) is selling. NY-23 voted for BHO in 2008. Let's be patient and wait for the only poll that counts, the one tomorrow. I doubt there are enough teabaggers and birthers to put Hoffman over the top. Any chance Hoffman will move into the district if he wins?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 2, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

CD 23 likes to tell itself it's a conservative district, but they've got their hand in the government till non-stop.

I hope they understand that Hoffman and Club for Growth are very set on the kind of small Federal Government that doesn't fund stuff like roads, schools, unneeded military camps, telecommunications, National Parks, small businesses, libraries, land erosion containment and clean water standards, SEC, bank examiners, local law enforcement, hospitals, etc, etc, etc.

Club for Growth is only interested in CD23 because it looks like a cheap seat in Congress.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | November 2, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

"Establishment Republicans -- led by the RNC -- are smart to use the special election in New York as a way to prove to conservatives that their causes are not so different and that the two strains within the party have much more in common than either does with Democrats."

Except of course that they speak out of the other side of their mouth, and far more shrilly, when they step in to a district like the 23rd and veto the local party's choice.

The RNC needs to stop talking to itself, and go out and talk to voters. WHEN the do they need to listen first, and then ask questions that elicit personal feelings, rather than ask questions that try to bend opinions.

The Conservatives need to go a stepfurther and JUST listen, don't so much as ask, "You don't say?"

But that involves learning and changing. And when youalready know everything you have nothing to learn, and when it is your fundamental principle to be against any change anywhere, change isn't something for you to like, or seek.

A three race sweep will convince the Conservatives that they don't need those horrible RINOs, and there will be purge after purge for the next six months. At that point the Republican Ticket will have no-one to the left of Melvyn Mundt, or maybe Herbert Armstrong, and the center will be there for the taking by whomever decides that the center IS where it's at.

Go Hoffman, best of luck.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 2, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse


"The only reason [Democrats] hate that the conservative Republicans didn't back Dede Scozzafava and threw their support to Doug Hoffman instead"

But we don't hate it. We think it's a hoot.

You've really got to find a better reason for living than making us hate things.
======================================

agreed, when I saw the press conference Saturday... I let out a hoot and a holler! Outsider astroturders coming in and forcing out the local gal to install an outside the district immoral minority candidate is as good as it gets in providing a real compare and contrast with the Party of Nada. Like the way Bush/Cheney was selected, we ended up with a neo-con vision that caused a depression and left us with two (2) 100 year wars.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 2, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

At it's core, it does encourage growth, but not the rigged predatory business practicing "free market" system we have now.

==

You're talking about capitalism, which only operates well with strong regulation and steeply progressive taxes. Remove either of those and the directions is monotonically toward slavery and poverty.

"Free market" is just another repackaging of Gilded Age thinking. "Free" is a word people are reluctant to argue against, that's all.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"not many elementary school yards allow guns."

You're working on it, though.

Posted by: nodebris | November 2, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"They realize our free market system encourages growth

==

Anyone who believes that should be on the same floor as snowbama

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanit"
----
At it's core, it does encourage growth, but not the rigged predatory business practicing "free market" system we have now.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 2, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

We get out plenty. And we don't carry guns everywhere we go
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

not many elementary school yards allow guns.

Posted by: snowbama | November 2, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

They realize our free market system encourages growth

==

Anyone who believes that should be on the same floor as snowbama

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The N.Y. 23 district has always been conservative as has the state of Virginia (except the 2008 elections)

This is more about holding on to, or recovering lost ground than it is about anything else.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 2, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"

Liberals need to get out more, or they must be living in a bubble or something -- because their idea of what a conservative is and what conservatives look like, doesn't match any conservatives that I know. The conservatives I know are educated, hard-working, tax-paying Americans who don't take freedom for granted. They realize our free market system encourages growth and innovation and more jobs. They want government to stay out of their lives as much as possible. They want to take home most of their paycheck instead of turning it over to the government to redistribute.

Posted by: ohioan "

Dude, if you're going to whine about conservative stereotypes, don't end it with stupid nonsense about wanting the government to redistribute their paychecks.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 2, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Liberals need to get out more, or they must be living in a bubble or something -- because their idea of what a conservative is and what conservatives look like,

==

We get out plenty. And we don't carry guns everywhere we go, nor are we beholden to crazy notions about thinking money or the grateful conquered. It's you guys who need to get out more and figure out exactly how far you're going to get politically running lunatics and illiterates for important offices.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

What's conservative about Palin and friends. Maybe they will get with First Dude's Alaska secessionists and see if the 23rd District can secede from too liberal New York. Whoops, that sounded like a joke. I shouldn't joke about the Palin crowd. They're not funny and they are not "conservative"!!!!

Chris, why don't you take the lead in finding an official new word for this howling mob of teabagger pseudo-conservative hucksters.

Conservative should be a reputable word that means being careful about changing so bad unintended consequences do not take place. Under this definition, how would Phil Graham's financial deregulations be conservative when they have led to utter chaos and without the stimulus and barely working bailout to near complete collapse?

What's "conservative" about greedy experiments that bring on near complete economic collapse?

What's conservative about a man from elsewhere/nowhere rushing in to con the sheep into voting for a complete unknown?

Posted by: gradya3 | November 2, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Liberals need to get out more, or they must be living in a bubble or something -- because their idea of what a conservative is and what conservatives look like, doesn't match any conservatives that I know. The conservatives I know are educated, hard-working, tax-paying Americans who don't take freedom for granted. They realize our free market system encourages growth and innovation and more jobs. They want government to stay out of their lives as much as possible. They want to take home most of their paycheck instead of turning it over to the government to redistribute.

Posted by: ohioan | November 2, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Goldandtanzanite, "nutcase, heh heh heh,whackjobs,bullet hoarding racist BS,red faced bigots"...you have a little anger management problem going on to say nothing of the fact that you are actually hurting your own party, cause whatever by acting like a 2 year old.

==

Ah, it's the guy who calls'em as he sees'em who has the anger management problem, while the guys who show up at political rallies in Tim McVeigh T-shirts packing heat and screaming themselves hoarse are "conservatives" and "patriots"

Good luck selling that one, champ

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"drindl,

Are you really that dense? Turns out the electable Rs are conservatives who you refer to as "wingnuts." Conservatives are poised to sweep the elections tomorrow. not the so-called "pragamatic" Rs who are simply a paler shade of Democrats.

Posted by: TooMuchSoccer | November 2, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse"

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 2, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"The only reason [Democrats] hate that the conservative Republicans didn't back Dede Scozzafava and threw their support to Doug Hoffman instead"

But we don't hate it. We think it's a hoot.

You've really got to find a better reason for living than making us hate things.

Posted by: nodebris | November 2, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Goldandtanzanite, "nutcase, heh heh heh,whackjobs,bullet hoarding racist BS,red faced bigots"...you have a little anger management problem going on to say nothing of the fact that you are actually hurting your own party, cause whatever by acting like a 2 year old.

Posted by: thebink | November 2, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

drindl,

Are you really that dense? Turns out the electable Rs are conservatives who you refer to as "wingnuts." Conservatives are poised to sweep the elections tomorrow. not the so-called "pragamatic" Rs who are simply a paler shade of Democrats.

Posted by: TooMuchSoccer | November 2, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

(shades eyes, rotates head)

what conservatives? I don't see any conservatives.

If you want to refer to a bunch of red-faced bigots as "conservatives" then knock your addled selves out but don't expect anyone outside your nasty little cult to play along.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

can NAMBLA post 2 of every 3 posts for the rest of the day?

you bet.

Can she make them all devoid of intelligence? most but not all. drivl is the only one capable of that feat.

Posted by: snowbama | November 2, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I only hope that Republican politicians are paying attention and will get back to conservative policies. And for those of you that still think that calling conservatives names and pegging us with false IDS, you're not only wrong, you are oh so yesterday.

Posted by: thebink | November 2, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Turns out the electable Rs are conservatives who you refer to as "wingnuts."

==

hahahhahaa

you hang on to that, dreamer

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Great news for Democrats that Republicans are so willfully self-deceiving a la armpeg .. firmly believing, with hollow-eyed conviction, that nominating whack jobs for important positions represents the way back to power.

Since the last two elections show that there are barely enough conservative voters to keep one conservative party alive (pay no attention to the heart-lung machine or the lactate drip), it's a GREAT time to splinter into two or three or them.

You guys keep on purging the sane.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

drindl,

Are you really that dense? Turns out the electable Rs are conservatives who you refer to as "wingnuts." Conservatives are poised to sweep the elections tomorrow. not the so-called "pragamatic" Rs who are simply a paler shade of Democrats.

Posted by: TooMuchSoccer | November 2, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The only reason the Obama worshippers hate that the conservative Republicans didn't back Dede Scozzafava and threw their support to Doug Hoffman instead, is because as long as the RINO Dede was the GOP nominee, they had a shot of picking off this NY seat. With Hoffman they've got no chance at all.
Also not surprising is that Dede Scozzafava then endorsed the Democrap Socialist candidate Owens. Since she and the Democrap Socialist Owens are linked at the hip on just about everything the Obama worshippers believe in anyway, she sure as he** is no loss to the GOP. If she's honest, she'll change her registration to the Democrap Socialist Party, and make the marriage that always was, work.

Posted by: armpeg | November 2, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Exactly: "They didn't--and they can't".

Cilizza is exactly correct that "the very element that has fueled the party's rebirth in the first nine months of the Obama Administration may also, ultimately, spell its long-term demise"--a lack of fact, an excess of distortion.

Just read the news at the full-bore daily Obama Administration website, the LT:

www.lipmantimes.com

From the economy, to health care, to Afpak and Iran--the facts show genuine progress.

Posted by: DocinDC1 | November 2, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

two things I like about this is immoral minority outsiders brought in an outside candidate AND they forced out a female candidate.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 2, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

stand back. there is nothing worse than a liberal, faced with massive election losses and no one to blame.

==

heh heh heh massive election losses heh heh heh

White House, both houses of Congress, substantial majoritities, and you think a single House race in upstate NY marinated in outsider money is some sort of major harbinger?

You are exactly where you belong, nutcase.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

stand back. there is nothing worse than a liberal, faced with massive election losses and no one to blame.

Can we call up a fleet of busses with lots of room underneath?

I expect the three stooges of the apocalypse (drivl, Loud and Dumb and NAMBLA) to post non stop until their tiny brains burst.

Posted by: snowbama | November 2, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

i'm a deadbeat, don't want to pay my share or carry my weight.

==

Thanks for admitting what everyone here already knows anyway. Now go attend the morning group and regale everyone with your hatred of "Obimbo" and "drivel," I'm sure they're looking forward to yet another repetition.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

'i'm a deadbeat, don't want to pay my share or carry my weight.'

we already knew that about you, yellowsnow. society carries you, as your government disability pays for that nice room you have at the institution.

Posted by: drindl | November 2, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

i'm a deadbeat, don't want to pay my share or carry my weight.


- the liberal base. taxes are for others. do you know who I am?

Posted by: snowbama | November 2, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is like a merry-go-round whose governor has broken, spinning faster and faster and mass-producing corpses

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

ahh, the third stooge.

Posted by: snowbama | November 2, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

You got the scoop now, CC -- the real battle coming up is not Rs vs Ds -- that's over for now. It's the pragmatic, electable Rs against the wingnuts.

They may win a few, but ultimately they will R tear the party wide open.

Posted by: drindl | November 2, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I know what you mean, snowglobe. I keep waiting for the Republicans to run as the Theocratic Aristocratic Corporate Greed War-Mongering Fascist Illiterate White Male party, but they just won't accept these labels. How deceptive of them! If they correctly labeled themselves, they wouldn't even win in South Carolina. Well, ok, maybe in South Carolina.

Posted by: nodebris | November 2, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The word 'conservatism' no longer has any meaning. As Gat states, it's all dog-whistle politics now, code words:

'thrift' = i'm a deadbeat, don't want to pay my share or carry my weight.

'personal responsibility' = do what I say, not what I do

'family' = I hate homosexuals

Posted by: drindl | November 2, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

snow--if the gop ever actually uesed proper terminlolgy for themselves- fascists, nazi's , totaliterians, banana republicans, they could not get elected, even in Montana

Posted by: tru-indy | November 2, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"the conservative base -- fresh from claiming a "scalp""

But, again, it was a *Republican* scalp.

Posted by: nodebris | November 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Problem here is that "conservative" here isn't really about conservatism, it's dog-whistle for that teabagger / take back America / bullet-hoarding racist BS

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 2, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It's called honesty in advertising. the Libs should try it and see how far they get. If they ever actually used the proper terminology, like leftist, socialist, communist, liberal, etc. , they could not get elected, even in San Fran.

Posted by: snowbama | November 2, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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