On the one hand, the Democrats are trying their best to suffer a devastating blow at the ballot box come November of 2010. After all, the deficits are at obscene levels. Unemployment will be at 10% and go higher. They can't figure out health care, climate change, and they are desperate to lose in Afghanistan. On the other hand, the Republicans are trying just as hard not to take this opening and run with it. When a Congressional race becomes the flashpoint for a political civil war within the party, you know there are problems.
Yet, that's what the party is on the verge of as a result of the special election in the 23rd District of New York. The seat was held by John Mchugh but he became the Army Secretary. It's a seat that's been Republican for well more than a century. So, it's a bit surprising that the Republican Party is backing Dede Scozzafava. Scozzafava is the preferred candidate of ACORN, the Working Families Party (ACORN's political arm in New York) and the SEIU. Scozzafava appears to be the perfect Democratic candidate but yet she's running as a Republican.
I didn't necessarily have a problem with the NRSC backing Charlie Crist. He's a successful and popular Governor in a purple state. He would most likely win whereas his opponent, Marco Rubio, would likely lose. So, when conservative purists screamed and moaned that a "moderate" was the preferred choice of the party, I was pragmatic. Here, backing the liberal seems suicidal.
The preferred choice of the purists is Doug Hoffman. He's now running under the Conservative Party ticket. He would, however, caucus with the Republicans. He's a much more consistent and reliable conservative.
Yet, the NRSC is supporting Scozzafava. What this is creating is even more tension between the establishment in the Republican party and the base. The establishment seems to forget that the Republicans lost in 2006 because the party dismissed the base and engaged in an orgy of spending. The base is looking for fiscal conservatives. That's Hoffman. Scozzafava is a liberal who bears no difference from most Democrats except that there is an R in back of her name.
It seems inexplicable. It's even more inexplicable that Newt Gingrich has endorsed Scozzafava. Gingrich has always been a reliable and consistent conservative. Yet, he's backing Scozzafava? Right now, this story is getting play on talk radio, the blogs, and among activists. So, it's certainly not a mainstream story. Yet, those are the people that will volunteer, donate, and of course come out to vote. The most active portion of the party feels as though D.C. still doesn't get it. The Tea Parties have recently turned on Republicans. That's not totally unsurprising and the Tea Parties have always stipulated that they aren't a lever of the Republican party. Yet, many of those that make up the Tea Parties are part of the Republican base. It's one thing to be a pragmatist and back the candidate with the best chance to win. That's what the NRSC did backing Crist. It's quite another to simply show contempt for your base and back a liberal in a district that's gone your way for more than a century. Doing that puts you one step closer to a political civil war.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"