Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beck and Palin didn't help or win

Douglas L. Hoffman, a previously unknown accountant from Lake Placid, ran as a Conservative, and drew the backing of social and fiscal conservatives like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck

Democrats won a special election in New York State’s northernmost Congressional district Tuesday, a setback for national conservatives who heavily promoted a third candidate in what became an intense debate over the direction of the Republican Party.

One can only hope that the right wingers continue their unabashed push to the extreme.

The battle became one of the most closely followed races in the nation, drawing in some of the biggest forces in politics in both parties. Republicans who viewed the race as a test of the party’s most deeply held conservative principles — including Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska; Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, a presidential hopeful; and grass-roots groups that have forcefully opposed Democratic economic and health care policies — rallied behind Mr. Hoffman.

And they failed.

The finger pointing among Republicans started on Wednesday morning. Some conservatives were blaming the Republican Party for the loss, saying that if they had supported a more conservative candidate all along, the seat could have been won.

Victory has many parents, defeat is an orphan.

“I think Doug Hoffman likely would have won if he had been the Republican candidate from the get-go,” said Mike Huckabee, the former Republican presidential contender. “It wasn’t a spike in the end zone for the Democrats. They got that seat not because Democrats were brilliant, but because Republicans were stupid.”

Stupid? Par for the course.

Many conservatives attempted to frame Mr. Hoffman’s defeat as a victory, saying that despite Mr. Hoffman’s loss, conservatives prevailed because the moderate Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, was forced out of the race.

Spin, spin, spin.

“Our number one goal was to make clear that the Republican Party cannot take someone as liberal as Dede Scozzafava and thrust her out on the voters and expect the voters just to accept it,” said Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, which worked to defeat Ms. Scozzafava, the Republican candidate who faced a challenge from Mr. Hoffman.

I rest my case. Still, pray tell, what is this NOM? Their website states opposition to same-sex marriage.

Leading conservative voices — including The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and The Weekly Standard and the talk show personalities Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck — took on the Republican nominee, Assemblywoman Scozzafava, who supports gay rights and abortion rights and had embraced some Democratic economic policies like the federal stimulus package. They labeled her as too liberal.

A veritable who's who of the hard right.

But the race was perhaps most notable for the fissures it opened in the Republican Party. Ms. Scozzafava, who was selected as the Republican nominee by the 11 leaders of the county committees that comprise this vast district along the Canadian border, was excoriated by Washington’s conservative establishment almost as soon as she was nominated.

County leaders chose a candidate that met with disapproval from the conservative establishment, much of which is Washington-based, or otherwise elite.

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