Friday, October 23, 2009

Showdown Upstate

They are having a special election next month, in the 23rd Congressional district, State of New York. There are parts of this district which haven't been represented by anybody but a Republican Congressman since before the Civil War. These are Northeasterners, fiscally conservative, not so socially conservative. The Republican candidate is a woman named Dede Scozzafava. She is no homophobe and believes that legal abortion is settled law. These are not radical beliefs. They are the law of the land and have been for some time.

The Republican party has broken ranks over her candidacy. Newt Gingrich and most of the old guard, Republican establishment, inside the beltway, support her. Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, Dick Armey and the maverick heartland crew, have lined up behind a fundamentalist third party candidate.

None of these things is going to make any difference to the voters in the twenty third district of New York. They're going to vote the same way they would have anyway, probably for Dede.

The important thing here is the assertion now, by the fundamentalist, tea party faction of the Republican establishment, that there is no room for social moderates or a big tent in the future.

In time, the social conservatives will destroy the two party system as it has previously existed in American politics.


Buck said...

I live in NY (not the 23rd though) and concur with the assessment that Dede is a centrist. So does 538

The smart Republicans are backing her because even though she votes often with NY Democrats, she doesn't ALWAYS, and as a practical matter, a seat in Republican hands is a seat not in Democrat hands.

The ideologues aren't interested in maintaining Republican party unity; they want their brand of politics no matter how impractical it might be in the real world.

W.C. Varones said...

I see it differently.

It's not social conservatism, it's fiscal. Scozzafava supports pork and card-check.

I could give a rat's ass about who's a Republican. I want limited-government reformers in office regardless of their party affiliation. I don't like the Republican Party bosses.

Principle over party.

reddog said...

Dede was the Republican candidate chosen in the primary election. The third party candidate ran in the Republican primary and came in fourth. I don't see how the process was unfair or subverted in any way.

What will happen now is that the candidate endorsed by the wing nuts will split the vote and the Democrat will walk away with a plurality and the Congressional seat.

I'm OK with that but it doesn't bode well for the future of the Republican party in areas where the membership is not socially conservative.