Sunday, November 1, 2009

I ate her liver with Scozzofava beans and a nice Chianti

I regret not having written down more about the special election in New York's 23rd CD. It's really a fascinating race, particularly in the sense that we can see the Republican Party -- broadly defined -- try to figure out who it is and what it stands for. Local Republican officials had backed the moderate Dede Scozzofava and the RNC followed suit, but a coalition of outsiders, including Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, said no and publicly backed the more conservative Doug Hoffman. Now Scozzofava has dropped out of the race, leaving the contest to a moderate Democrat and a conservative Republican.

But let me just respectfully disagree with Frank Rich:
No matter what the results in that race on Tuesday, the Republicans are the sure losers.
This reminds me of those claims by conservative pundits that the 2006 congressional elections were somehow a victory for conservatives. Face it: a win is a win. The 23rd CD is a pretty moderate district. Although it's been held for a decade by a Republican, Obama actually won that district by 5 points last year. If conservative activists manage to replace a moderate nominee with a conservative one and still get that nominee elected in a moderate district, that is a pretty big win.


Robert said...

I heard Rush Limbaugh's take on the race, which (shockingly) varies with your take and the conventional view. He says that this is not a case of locals picking one candidate and then outsiders coming in to demand a more conservative candidate. Rather, he points to the fact that because this was a special election it didn't have a primary. And, in a primary, he insists that the local Republicans would have chosen Hoffman. Thus, this isn't a case of locals vs. outsiders, but local party elites vs. the local grassroots.

Seth Masket said...

Rush's argument isn't crazy, but it's impossible to prove. Had there been a primary, local party elites would have done their best to advantage Scozzofava in the contest through money, endorsements, etc. Maybe Hoffman would have prevailed, maybe not.

Counterfactuals are fun.