Of Political Treason and Forgetful Elephants

The disloyalty of liberal RINOs.

It's been a very strange twelve months politically.

One year ago, the airwaves resounded with wishful hopes that conservatism was dead and the Republican Party was deader.  One year ago, not only did Democrats sweep the polls, but the furthest-left president in all of American history was elected by a clear and convincing majority, to join the furthest left Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader in all of American history.

American exceptionalism was at an end; soon we would be no different from any other sclerotic, over-regulated, high-tax European welfare state, and of course never dream of making a move internationally without the august permission of the U.N. and all our enemies therein.

Well.  Barack Obama has indeed been delivering change, but not the sort he expected.  The Republican Party, as a party, is still flat on its back; but Conservatism is fired up, ready to go, and thirsting for blood.  And for the Right, the first order of business is to clean house, ridding the Republican party of RINOs.

Republican party grandees could not be more horrified.  Much of the country is not deeply conservative; in order to have a Republican majority ever again, we cannot expect each and every Republican elected official to be a little Rush Limbaugh clone, they say.

That's indisputably true.  What's also indisputably true is that, while the Right needs to honor Reagan's "big tent" approach, there are nevertheless certain core beliefs that you have to have in order to be worthy of the name of Republican - to say nothing of deserving conservative support.

Too Many Stabs In The Back

One of those core conservative beliefs is at least a rudimentary sense of loyalty.  In 2004, the whole Republican party apparatus from President Bush on down dumped massive resources into helping "moderate" Sen. Arlen Specter win his primary against a more conservative Republican opponent.

How'd that work as an investment?  Not too well; as soon as Obama swept to power, Sen. Specter jumped across the aisle.  He's now a card-carrying Democrat.

The Republican party would have done better to support his conservative opponent Pat Toomey, who could not possibly ever be imagined as switching parties, or at the least sat it out and spent its money elsewhere.

This is not an isolated occurrence.  Time after time, Republican bigshots spend contributors' money to preserve the seats of people who are barely Republicans at all and who then turn around and stab them in the back.

Just as with tax dollars, though, these foolish "leaders" are not spending their own money.  It is the money of the donors - Republican voters, the base of the party.

Finally, after seeing the same blunders made habitual, the base of the part has had enough.  This off-year election contained the most smashing rebuke to Republican Party leadership seen in many, many years.

The party grandees of rural northern New York congressional district 23 anointed one Dede Scozzafava to run in a special election, replacing Republican John McHugh whom Barack Obama appointed to be Secretary of the Army.  There was no primary, no consultation of Republican voters; Ms. Scozzafava emerged from a classic smoke-filled room.

What a Frankenstein's monster the establishment's candidate turned out to be!  Nobody is surprised to see a pro-abortion, pro-same-sex-marriage, pro-tax, pro-union-card-check, ACORN- and Daily Kos-endorsed candidate in New York; but not usually rural New York, and certainly not on the Republican slate.

The base revolted.  Instead of rallying to the faux-Republican banner, conservatives across the state and the country stood with Doug Hoffman, normally a Republican but running as a "Conservative" since the Republican party leadership didn't want him.  Since NY-23 had not elected a Democrat since the Civil War, there was certainly no reason to put forward a squish; Hoffman was much more in line with the general views of the district than Scozzafava, who could be considered further left than the Democratic candidate.

Chaos ensued.  Newt Gingrich endorsed Scozzafava; Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson sprung for Hoffman; Mitt Romney sat it out.  Accusations of spoiling and disloyalty flew back and forth.  Meanwhile, polls showed Scozzafava to be placing a distant third, far behind "Conservative" Hoffman and the Democrat.

Then last week, a scant few days before the election, Scozzafava threw her last two bombs into the arena.

First, she abruptly withdrew from the race and shut down her campaign.  With a sigh of relief, every Republican not already in up to their necks raced to endorse Hoffman.

Except, that is, for Scozzafava, who the next day endorsed... Democrat Bill Owens.

Failure Is An Orphan... But Not For Long!

Today we see the result of this disgraceful charade: For the first time since the Civil War, NY-23 has elected a Democrat to Congress.  The fight between Scozzafava and Hoffman did, indeed, split the vote, and did, indeed, give Barack Obama yet one more vote for big government statism.

Or did it?  Let's look at the numbers:

With 88 percent of the precincts reporting, Owens had 49 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Hoffman. Scozzafava had 6 percent... Owens defeated Conservative Doug Hoffman and Republican Dierdre Scozzafava (skoh-zuh-FAH'-vuh) in the heavily Republican 23rd congressional District in rural northern New York. Scozzafava abruptly withdrew Saturday and supported Owens[emphasis added]

Combine the votes for Hoffman and Scozzafava, and Owens would not have won.  But at 46 vs 6, who is the spoiler?  Not the conservative; it was the far-left RINO who fouled the nest.

Who was it that set up this disaster?  Again, not the base; it was the Republican party leadership, who for reasons known only to themselves chose to back an individual who opposes everything most Republicans stand for, and stands for everything most Republicans oppose.

Clearly there is more house-cleaning yet to be done.  To start with, the Right needs to make it absolutely clear that to get conservative support, you'd better be, well, at least a little bit conservative.  If you prefer liberalism, there is already a party that would be happy to have you.

If you want to lead the Republican party, you'd better know what it's supposed to stand for and act accordingly - or else.

In that oldest of Republican slogans, American wants "A Choice, Not An Echo."  Let's provide them one, now and in the future.  Let's not forget who would rather be an echo when the time comes to write checks and pull voting levers.

Oh, and one trenchant reminder for those who would seek power: Republicans won governorships in New Jersey and in Virginia in spite of Mr. Obama's support of the Democratic candidates.  The Republican party may be on life support, but conservatism isn't, and the more Mr. Obama spends, the livelier conservatism becomes.

Who knows?  Much more of this, and what once was "conservative" may acquire a capital letter and become "Conservative", like the party identification next to Doug Hoffman's name.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments
Three cheers for Hoffman. He obviously would have won if properly backed by the GOP from the beginning. At the least, he screwed the RINOs. I can live with that.

(Another great article, by the way)
November 5, 2009 8:23 AM
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