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10/27/2009
YES TO HOFFMAN, BUT NO LITMUS TEST PLEASE

I have little doubt but that my plea not to make the NY23 race a litmus test for who get’s to play in the Republican party sandbox will fall on deaf ears, but it must be made regardless.

Yes, Hoffman is by far the better candidate than hapless Scozzafava - the winner of the Margaret Sanger Award from Family Planning Advocates. This is not the worst thing about her. But accepting an award named after the second most prominent and enthusiastic proponent of eugenics in history - after Adolf Hitler - shows either a shocking ignorance of what Sanger’s views on sterilizing and giving forced abortions to “undesirables” like blacks and immigrants actually were, or a political tone deafness that should disqualify her from big time politics.

Indeed, Scozzafava’s campaign has been marked by a not ready for prime time amateurishness, that includes the uproariously funny video of her standing in front of Hoffman’s campaign headquarters holding a press conference while “Hoffman for Congress” signs were arrayed en masse in the background. That, and other clueless statements have destroyed her candidacy so that the most recent poll shows her in 3rd place.

It is a mystery why the GOP establishment in New York and Washington chose her for the race. She apparently supported the stim bill - something no other Republican in Congress did - and she supports the anti-democratic card check bill being pushed by organized labor. For whatever reason, this seemed perfectly fine to Newt Gingrich (who has defended her) as well as the NRCC who flung $1 million into her lap.

But is she conservative enough to be a Republican?

The answer to that question is why I believe that who you support in the NY23 race should not be a litmus test for establishing a baseline for who can identify themselves as a “Republican.” Is someone who supports gun rights, is against cap and trade, opposes most aspects of Obamacare (including the public option), wants to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent while supporting a repeal of the death tax, supports earmark reform, voted against the Paterson budget, and has a decidedly conservative voting record on fiscal matters worthy of being identified as a Republican?

Apparently, not if you are pro-choice and pro-gay marriage.

I will grant that anyone who would have voted for Porkulus and card check should not be supported when a legitimate, reliable conservative like Hoffman is running in the same race.

But suppose there was no Hoffman? The national GOP erred badly both in Florida and NY23 not because they backed candidates who shouldn’t be Republicans but because there were excellent conservative alternatives to Scozzafava and Crist begging for their support. But we better get used to the idea that there are going to be candidates running in many northeastern/New England districts that wouldn’t fit in at a Louisiana clambake but would feel right at home at a Maine Lobsterfest.

Yes, there should be limits to who gets to wear the GOP label. But I don’t think Scozzafava comes very close to the barrier. Gingrich is wrong to label her a good conservative. And the national party was wrong to waste a million bucks on her. But this kind of hysteria from Malkin is almost inexplicable:

If you have given to the NRCC, RNC, or Newt Gingrich under the impression that they are using the money to support conservatism, you might want to ask for your money back.

As I mentioned in my column post on the NY23 special election, the NRCC is using conservatives’ money to back a radical leftist and attack a bona fide, viable conservative candidate for Congress in a safe Republican district. Gingrich has endorsed the radical leftist.

I love Michelle Malkin. She used to be a big supporter of this blog and showed me many personal kindnesses over the years. I used to work for her as comment moderator for her blog. She is a smart, usually savvy about politics, and an independent voice on the right.

But her description of Scozzafava as a “radical leftist” is off the deep end. Yes, she has appeared on the Working Families Party ballot line in New York - no doubt as a result of her stance on gay marriage and abortion (WFP is supporting Owens the Democrat in this election). And it is true that some of that party’s financial support has come from ACORN and SEIU, although referring to the WFP as the party of ACORN is an exaggeration.

But the complicated nature of New York state politics doesn’t make that unusual nor should it necessarily disqualify her from membership in the Republican party - nor should the fact that her husband is a union organizer. Scozzafava said she would have voted to defund ACORN as a result of the exposes done by Big Government. Is that something a “radical leftist” would do?

She supports the individual’s right to bear arms. Is that a position normally taken by a “radical leftist?

She supports the Bush tax cuts and repeal of the death tax. Radical leftist?

She opposes cap and trade. Radical leftist?

Are all pro-choice and pro-gay marriage politicians “radical leftists?” There is a libertarian case to be made for both so unless you want to brand the pro-choice wing of the GOP “radical leftists” I suggest we tone down the rhetoric a bit. (Not all gay marriage advocates are radical leftists either. Dick Cheney anyone?)

It’s one thing to oppose Scozzafava because there’s a better candidate in the race. It’s something totally different to slime her as a radical leftist when she clearly is not. That is hyperbole, and a gross exaggeration. Getting on the ballot line of as many parties as possible is the way the game is played in New York - one of the few “fusion” states left where a candidate maximizes their chances of winning by garnering the endorsement of parties from across the political spectrum. It makes for some strange bedfellows at times but is hardly cause to read anyone out of either party because they do what is necessary to win the election.

And to show where this kind of madness is leading, Malkin and others have now proclaimed New Gingrich not conservative enough because he endorsed the decision of the New York country organizations who chose Scozzafava. Gingrich was wrong to do so. But does this disqualify one of the leading conservative minds in America from a position of leadership?

Apparently Malkin also believes Gingrich unworthy because he once appeared with Nancy Pelosi in a commercial about climate change, took a charter school tour with Al Sharpton, and appeared with Hillary Clinton to promote some of his pet projects. Has it now become verboten to even appear with the enemy in a public forum? Supporting reasonable legislation on emissions, school reform, and support for some kind of health care reform is hardly leftist, or radical, or even very moderate - unless one’s definition of “conservatism” is so narrow that you could drive a piece of spaghetti through it.

If Malkin and those who join her in this pogrom keep it up, the next GOP convention will be just large enough to be held in my kitchen.

I understand and even agree with the notion that candidates like Hoffman are good for the party and that the GOP establishment definitely needs a wake up call. But trying to marginalize Newt Gingrich? Referring to a moderate Republican as a “radical leftist?” This is madness and can only lead to self destruction as conservatives actively seek out and destroy those whose views on a couple of issues are at variance with their own.

Fight against the Scozzafava’s in the party if you feel you must. Deny them leadership positions, choice seats on important committees, a speaking role at conventions - do all of that if you feel that strongly about it.

But once you start the process of subtraction from the party as a result of your disagreements on very few issues, there is only one way that the GOP will end up; permanent minority status with conservatives continuing to howl in the political wilderness.

By: Rick Moran at 10:58 am
24 Responses to “YES TO HOFFMAN, BUT NO LITMUS TEST PLEASE”
  1. 1
    the Dragon Said:
    11:19 am 

    “But once you start the process of subtraction from the party as a result of your disagreements on very few issues, there is only one way that the GOP will end up; permanent minority status with conservatives continuing to howl in the political wilderness.”

    First, The real question is are there ANY core principles candidates must have? Personally, fiscal responsibility is a MUST for me. Hypothetically, Should an avowed Communist somehow recieve the Republican nomination, I WILL NOT be brow beatten to support them. I WILL advocate and support fiscal conservatives who is for smaller government. ALL other issues, including some personally favored social issues, are subject to disagreements.

    Second, the New York 23rd special election poses a unique set of circumstances. MOST States do not have institutionalized 3rd, 4th…parties institutionalized. For the record, Senator Buckley was elected on the Conservative Party ticket in 1970.

    Third, from MOST blogs and conservative activists I have read, DO NOT advocate creating 3rd party candidates, and prefer to battle in the primary (none in this special election), and IF they cannot get the conservative to the General Election, maybe with less enthusiasm are likely to support the Republican candidate.

    Regards,

  2. 2
    lionheart Said:
    11:25 am 

    Scozzfava’s few conservative leanings are just as likely the result of her understanding the makeup of the constituancy rather than true convictions. Her 2nd amendment stance if VERY likely a “deal with the devil”, so to speak, ensuring NRA support and funding. Her position on ACORN? You would have to be an idiot to claim that you wouldn’t defund them after all that has come out. Tax cuts and opposition to cap and tax? The district votes very conservative, and claiming support for these is easy to do, since there is nothing to prove otherwise.

    On the other hand, it is pretty hard to hide support for card check, unions, abortion on demand, and gay marriage, with all the statements and engagements she has made during her career. Her true colors are liberal, perhaps radical. I think Michelle is closer to being correct in her assessment that you are.

  3. 3
    John Said:
    12:26 pm 

    As far as third party vs. GOP goes, it’s noteworthy that Sarah Palin came out in support of the New Jersey and Virginia Republican candidates for governor this morning. If you go by the media portrayal that Palin is the leader of the rabid take-no-prisoners wing of the conservative movement, you would think she would have supported Daggett as the third party candidate in New Jersey instead of Christie. But she didn’t, because it’s a different situation from the Scozzfava situation in NY-23, and more akin to the 1970 New York State Senate race, where conservatives rebelled against Nelson Rockefeller’s hand-picked fill-in for Bobby Kennedy, Charles Goodell (NFL commissioner Roger’s dad), and elected Conservative Party candidate James Buckley over Goodell and Democrat Thomas Ottinger.

    Most conservatives get the situational differences between different elections, and when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em as far as supporting a candidate who they may not be 100 percent in synch with ideologically. They’re not going to reflexively go running off and support every third party candidate who’s to the right of the Republican nominee, unless that person’s record is so beyond the pale that it’s unlikely they would support a quarter of what you believe in if elected to office. Scozzfava falls under that criteria in her race against Hoffman; Christie doesn’t in his race against Daggett, and the majority of people on the right can tell the difference.

  4. 4
    Harry O Said:
    12:27 pm 

    With her views I would still have a hard time calling her a “moderate” Republican. But, in any case, thanks for giving us your review of the race. It certainly doesn’t appear as black and white as I once thought. I’m still supporting Hoffman, though.

  5. 5
    Sal Said:
    12:53 pm 

    My big beef is along the same lines as yours, Rick. The GOP establishment is deigning from on high who should be the Republican nominee. I’ve always felt that the GOP needs to be moved more Conservative with good, Conservative candidates. In this case, the party bosses picked a candidate who is a liberal, not a moderate as you posit (she has a 15% rating from the ACU, making her to the left of virtually every member of the GOP caucus in Washington). There was a viable, good, Conservative alternative who may yet win the race. The same goes for Florida and Pennsylvania.

    My advice to the GOP establishment: STAY THE HELL OUT OF THE PRIMARIES. Let the people decide without your interference and backing. Once the candidate has been chosen by the people, THEN the NRCC and NRSC can get behind whoever wins.

    If Dede had beaten Hoffman in a primary, I probably would have supported her, for the sake of the numbers in Congress. But there was an alternative, and there was another viable candidate who could win and who was Conservative, and he was passed over.

  6. 6
    Richard bottoms Said:
    1:00 pm 

    Conservatives working hard as ever to ensure that 20% of the population will never vote Republican:

    In an appearance at the University of Arizona College of Law, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that if he were on the court in 1954, he would have dissented in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision that ended school segregation based on race.

    Appearing on stage with Justice Stephen Breyer, Scalia cautioned against “inventing new rights nobody ever thought existed.” Scalia said he advocates an “originalist” approach to the Constitution, warning against an “evolutionary” legal philosophy that he described as, “close your eyes and decide what you think is a good idea.”

  7. 7
    TMLutas Said:
    1:07 pm 

    Found an interesting inter-state political ratings system that puts Scozzafava in perspective. The GOP pick needlessly pulls the district to the left versus the departing incumbent.

    This sort of needless concession to the liberals is not a one time event and the pattern has been repeated often enough that a large number of people, myself included are hot under the collar about the whole phenomenon. I think that it’s this pattern of the GOP insiders persistently pulling the party left that is the real genesis of unkind remarks on the part of conservatives.

  8. 8
    John Burke Said:
    1:38 pm 

    A lot of people (unfamiliar with NY politics) are surprised that Dede had the support of the Working Families Party, which has become known to non-New Yorkers only recently because of its connections with ACORN. But it’s not ACORN that’s behind the WFP; it’s the SEIU that’s behind both the WFP and ACORN. In New York, the SEIU is primarily the huge (300,000 or so members) hospital and health care workers union known for decades as “1199.” 1199 was once a district of the retail workers; then of the UAW; and for some time, of the SEIU. It’s long-time leader, Denis Rivera, forged poltical alliances of convenience with the GOP to protect and enhance the clout of his members and not incidentally their employers (mainly private hospitals and nursing homes). On the other side of this alliance stood the always pragmatic Alphonse D’Amato and his most famous protege, George Pataki. Go here to read about the culmination of Rivera’s hard work in 1199’s endorsement of Pataki (http://www.georgepataki.com/cgi-data/d4p_news/files/7.shtml).

    (Rivera is no longer at 1199; he’s now SEIU’s and Big Labor’s national health care guy.)

    Rivera and the WFP were never dumb. Gaining a permanemt ballot position for the WFP was a big deal, requiring both clever politics and hard work. Like the Liberal Party before it (now defunct), the WFP has always tried to endorse a few Republicans (in the suburbs and upstate where they’re going to win anyway) so as to maintain the perception of a truly separate, independent party. This was easily enough done in Dede’s case, since she had close ties to the labor movement and a moderate profile.

    Thanks for the primer on NY politics. I don’t pretend to understand the nuance of it but I knew that Scozzafava was no “radical leftist.”

    ed.

  9. 9
    Anon Said:
    2:31 pm 

    I don’t see this as a right or far right litmus test at all. Hoffman is a mainstream Republican. Scazzafava is a far-left Republican. Hoffman sought the GOP nomination, but was denied by the NY party bosses, so he opted for third party, but he’s really still just an ordinary Republican. It isn’t that he has passed a litmus test with Republican voters, but that Scazzafava just fails to represent even a single important Republican issue. She’s not a Republican. He is. If that’s a litmus test for how Republicans should vote, well…it ought to be!

  10. 10
    MooseH Said:
    3:53 pm 

    I have come to the conclusion the R. M. is a divider not a uniter.He is a cancer to Republicans under the guise of intellectual discourse. In 5 years I predict he will be vocal liberal.Any bets?

    In five years, I predict you will be just as brain dead as you are today.

    Any bets?

    ed.

  11. 11
    JerryS Said:
    4:03 pm 

    Rick -

    1. Hoffman doesn’t even live in the district. He’s a carpetbagger.

    2. Why does the Conservative “movement” from outside the state think it can tell local and state Republicans what’s best for their district? Dede has about the same social positions as Pataki, Guliani, and Bloomberg, all successful GOP NY elected officials. Why is she sudddenly so far outside the GOP “base”?

    3. A Republican from NY will never be the same as a Republican from Mississippi. If that’s what the GOP is looking for, they’re going to be in the wilderness for a long, long time.

    4. Hoffman recently met with the local paper for the district he’s running in… and was COMPLETELY UNFAMILIAR WITH THE LOCAL ISSUES. http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20091023/OPINION01/310239957/-1/OPINION Hoffman is being exposed as a fraud and a tool in the article. It’s a joke that conservatives are going to GIVE this race to the Democrat by dividing the much larger Republican electorate into two candidated.

    Go Dede!

    With idiots like you plugging for her, I wish her the best.

    Next time, read what I write before commenting. If you had bothered to read, you would have seen large areas of agreement. But lazy asses like you who drop by and comment give your candidate a bad name.

    ed.

  12. 12
    JerryS Said:
    5:06 pm 

    Rick -

    I read the entire article, and yes, we agree on certain points. However, your post didn’t mention at all why Hoffman is wrong for the district, which was my point.
    I meant no disprespect, other than to point out that the GOP is committing suicide by putting someone like Hoffman into this race. If they had found a conservative from WITHIN the district, it would have been a different story.

    I grew up in this district. I know the people. Hoffman is going to get creamed, but he’s going to pull enough from Dede to get the Democrat elected.

    That’s the larger issue. One more vote for Pelosi, when we could have had a vote for Boehner.

  13. 13
    Vicky Said:
    5:40 pm 

    Thank you for that insight, Jerry. It sounds like you’re saying people inside the district have a different, more moderate perspective (lifestyle?) than much of the rest of the country. Probably true.

    Had the GOP put an ultra/conservative in, s/he would lose. Dede is moderate, but able to win, and can be counted on nationally to vote with the Party.

    We all understand Hoffman would–great for the rest of us, but how would that help the people who actually cast their votes for him, if he isn’t willing to look out for them?

    I’m not sure why people don’t want to acknowledge that sad fact.

  14. 14
    John Burke Said:
    6:07 pm 

    In my post above, I got too bogged down in the details surrounding Scozzafaza’s support by the SEIU-Working Families Party forces and failed to make my point directly:

    It strikes me (from a distanca way downstate) that Dede’s relationship with the WFP (always described by righties as an ACORN outfit) is some sort of scarlet letter. But the fact is that the prime mover behind the WFP was Denis Rivera and his 1199-SEIU healthcare workers union (with 300,000 members, one of the biggest unions in the country). Rivera (who is now the guy doing the outreach to docs, hospitals and insurers on behalf of labor and Obama) delivered his union’s support to George Pataki in 2002 and helped boost some GOP legislative candidates too (through SEIU or the WFP) because the governor and legislature control so much of what benefits his members or their private employers.

    The New York GOP has often done business with folks like Rivera — throughout the era of former Senator Alphonse D’Amato and his pal, former Gov. Pataki. GOP legislators, like their Dem counterparts, have for decades worked to maintain ties with various segments of labor — public employee unions, construction trades, and others like 1199, despite its otherwise liberal leanings.

    None of this is to say that Dede isn’t a lot less conservative than Hoffman. She is but the link to the WFP — which has been stretched to mean a link to ACORN — doesn’t really reflect much, if anything, ideologically. As anothert poster noted, Rudy Giuliani had many stands in common with Dede and would never have been elected mayor without the support of the now-defunct Liberal Party.

  15. 15
    obamathered Said:
    6:46 pm 

    The stimulus bill is the one true litmus test. No one can claim to be conservative, and it is tough to make the case even a moderate, if they supported it. Poor Olympia Snowe fell for it, and that may have made her wary of support for health care with a public option.

    I think the real “purge,” for want of a word, will be of the phony moderate Democrats who voted for the stimulus bill in conservative areas over the next two or three election cycles. The Left also plans its own purge of these faux moderates if they don’t go along with a public option on nationalized health care. I see nothing but win/win from the Hoffman situation because there will be simply a message sent and no subtraction at all, the hint of which seems ironic coming from some corners.

  16. 16
    michael reynolds Said:
    8:54 pm 

    I don’t think GOP litmus tests should be confined to the candidates, I think in fairness you guys should apply them to voters as well. Republicans should stand by their core values and actively discourage votes from anyone who is pro-choice or pro gay marriage.

  17. 17
    theblackcommenter Said:
    9:59 pm 

    I don’t know that there should be “litmus tests” for candidates broadly speaking within the Republican “Big Tent,” but it is certainly true that individuals have their own non-negotiable issues that make moderates even within the party uncomfortable with, especially abortion issues and gay rights. Much of the opposition to these issues are rooted in fundamental moral convictions that supersede other considerations, much in the same way that folks just would not support a party or candidate that advocated reinstating slavery — no matter how fiscally conservative they are.

    The problem with the Republican Party in the eyes of many conservatives has been that every faction - social, fiscal, and foreign policy - of conservatives have held their noses and supported the party only to see policies of social liberalism, fiscal irresponsibility, and foreign policy adventure seeking enacted. No one has a problem with a big tent, but folks on the ground are no longer content with voting against the wicked evil free spending Democrat only to get a wicked evil free spending Republican on the ballot.

  18. 18
    shau Said:
    7:39 am 

    In the hopes that this comment is published and doesn’t disappear into the ozone as have some other recent pearls of wisdom from me, I make this brief observation:

    One of the reasons that the Democrats succeeded so well in 2008 was their effort to build voter and candidate interest from the grassroots up. The Republicans, even more lost in the wilderness than they were on November 5, 2008, are trying to dictate from the top down.

    Sacre bleu!

    Your other comment is posted now -

    And you’re right - they are trying. At the moment, I don’t know which would be worse; Gingrich being right or Sarah Palin. We’ll see.

    ed.

  19. 19
    Mike Giles Said:
    12:06 pm 

    I read an article recently - I think it was on the Riehlworldview.com - that stated that Scozzfava’s election was due to the actions of her friend from the state assembly, another liberal republican, who happened to be a county chairman. More cronyism, the ideology.

  20. 20
    Mike Giles Said:
    12:43 pm 

    Damn. I forgot to add that the actions of the friend seemed to contravene the wishes of the voters in that county, who had originally selected a more conservative candidate.

  21. 21
    Pam Said:
    4:57 am 

    You must be the lone sane person over at AT. (Even my fav James Lewis has succumbed to Palin-Mania.)

    For the life of me, I don’t get it.

    Endorsing Hoffman didn’t cost Palin anything - it was not courageous. She relented to the pressure, and the prayer circles calling for her to endorse. What did she have to lose? It appears that she may have acted too hastily, and Pawlenty as well.

    Hoffman is turning out to be a dud, not much better than Dede. There might be a reason they had to go with Dede. This should have remained a local issue, and Hoffman should have waited for the primary next year.

    Now the left gets to talk about the GOP implosion. Romney was exactly right to stay out of it.

  22. 22
    LindaD in Nevada Said:
    8:02 am 

    You’ve explained it better than most, Rick — thank you! But, I’m still very unhappy with Newt. First for his endorsement, but even more for his criticism of the R’s who have endorsed Hoffman. Knowing that Hoffman IS a Republican, who will caucus with the House R’s, should have been enough for him to hold back his ire. The party leadership would be wise to throw a few bones to the conservatives across the country who are becoming more passionate about their principles every day. We’ve had enough of D.C. nonsense already!

  23. 23
    Right Wing Nut House » ‘UNRULY’ CONSERVATIVES SHOCK THE GOP IN NY23 Pinged With:
    8:14 am 

    [...] THE GOVERNMENT THINK YOU’RE STUPID? OR A CHILD? THE RICK MORAN SHOW: STORM BREWING IN NY23 YES TO HOFFMAN, BUT NO LITMUS TEST PLEASE WHY THE SHORTAGE OF SWINE FLU VACCINE? WILL WE MAKE HEZBALLAH ANOTHER ‘PARTNER FOR [...]

  24. 24
    Right Wing Nut House » TOO DELICIOUS TO BE TERMED ‘IRONY’ Pinged With:
    4:25 pm 

    [...] THE GOVERNMENT THINK YOU’RE STUPID? OR A CHILD? THE RICK MORAN SHOW: STORM BREWING IN NY23 YES TO HOFFMAN, BUT NO LITMUS TEST PLEASE WHY THE SHORTAGE OF SWINE FLU VACCINE? WILL WE MAKE HEZBALLAH ANOTHER ‘PARTNER FOR [...]

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