Sunday, November 01, 2009

NY-23: Buy the ticket, take the ride

Brief synopsis:

President Barack Obama appoints US Representative John McHugh (R-NY) to serve as Secretary of the Army, bringing on a special election in New York's 23rd district.

State legislator Dierdre Scozzafava and accountant Doug Hoffman seek the Republican Party's nomination. Scozzafava wins; Hoffman pouts, runs on the Conservative Party line. The GOP's "conservative" faction pouts, and defects, with him.

Hoffman's campaign quickly picks up enough steam to "spoil" a Republican victory, and looks set to just possibly actually win the seat for him. Scozzafava drops out of the race ... and endorses Democratic candidate Bill Owens.

And why not? Owens certainly isn't a Republican ... but he's not pretending to be one. Which makes him about 1000% more honest than Doug Hoffman, who called himself a Republican for exactly as long as it was convenient to his ambitions to do so, then jumped the GOP ship as soon as his ambitions and the Republican Party's ambitions dipped below 100% correlation.

In the alternative universe inhabited by Robert Stacy McCain, serving as a Republican state legislator and receiving the Republican Party's nomination for Congress makes one a "Republican in Name Only," while putting a torpedo into the GOP's chances of retaining a US House seat makes one a "real Republican."

This hallucination interpretation of reality makes sense to McCain because he conflates the Republican Party (a party of big government from its very beginning, the party which originated "progressivism" -- the party, in other words, of Dede Scozzafava) with a populist splinter school of "conservatism" that's been effectively homeless since it left the party of its upbringing (the Democratic Party) in the last half of the 20th century.

To everyone living in the real world, on the other hand, it only makes sense that the establishment Republican candidate would, having been forced out of the race, endorse the other establishment party's candidate, not the candidate who destroyed her candidacy and broke her party's hold on the district.

As always, the good news remains that there is no good news for the Republican Party in all this. If Hoffman wins, the GOP is on the Peckerwood Populist leash for the next few years and loses, loses, loses. If Owens wins, the GOP loses a seat and goes to war with itself and loses, loses, loses. Either way, third parties in general gain. Gotta love it.

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