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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some Thoughts Post Election

Here's a phrase that you are likely to hear a lot going forward, "sunny conservatism". That's the description of Bob McDonnell's message. McDonnell did what Republicans have failed to do since 2006. He took a conservative message, gave it a practical application, and turned it into a kitchen table message. The problem for Republicans and conservatives is that they have had a far too theoretical message. McDonnell made it practical and positive.

We all know how the NFL works. The Miami Dolphins try the Wildcat and it works. Suddenly, the entire league has a form of the Wildcat. You can bet that politics will work the same. Watch for every Republican pol to jump on the band wagon and run on their own version of sunny conservatism.

This was a bad night for Democrats and the President. I've long said that health care reform is dead and this night was merely a re affirmation of that. It was also a bad night for the tea party movement. Watch for defenders to spin it as something positive, but it wasn't. Their guy lost. He lost in a conservative district. He lost to a liberal.

Hoffman lost because he turned New York 23 into a national referendum on the future of Republicans. Well, I doubt very much that many in this district cared all that much for being a part of this sort of political struggle. If you're living in New York 23, you want to know what Doug Hoffman will do for your district. Instead, he's talking about how he is trying to bring the Republican party back to its roots.

We saw this before. That was during the Republican primaries. Do you want to know how Mike Huckabee went from a blip to a contender? While the rest of the candidates were trying to have a contest over who is more conservative, Huckabee was talking about the kitchen table issues: health care, jobs, education. Doug Hoffman wasn't talking about jobs, health care, and education. He was talking about the future of conservatism.

If the tea parties want to destroy the Republican party, and nothing more, they will continue to make every single race a struggle for conservatism. They will try and purge every single candidate not sufficiently conservative enough and turn every race into a struggle for the future of the party. The tea parties can come into every single district and state and scream about how a candidate is not "conservative enough" and all they'll do is turn off more people than they attract. Most people are not ideologues. They don't care if someone is conservative enough. They care about jobs, health care, education, etc. Candidates have to address the issues not broad concepts. Anyone that considers this a victory for the tea parties is fooling themselves. Last night showed that the tea parties have become so sufficiently ideological that they turn off more than they turn on.


Anonymous said...

Well said. However, Scozzafava was a terrible alternative. I can't say I really regret the outcome here. At least now, NY23 can blame the correct party for any mismanagement that occurs, instead of blaming the GOP for the RINO they almost got.

Anonymous said...


First I would like to say that this is one of my favorite blogs. After finding you on the internet during the elections last year it has become a must stop site daily, sometimes mulptiple times a day. You do first class work so keep up the good job.

With that being said I think you are off the mark on the Tea Parties in the NY 23rd. The victory for the Tea Parties was won weeks ago when the (R) candidate Scozzafava was rejected over Hoffman. This sent a clear message to the GOP that people are watching and paying attention to what they are doing and who they are doing it with. More importantly I think that this plays a major role in the FL senatorial race of Christ and Rubio.

A couple of days ago you made the point that Palin is putting her reputation on the line with the Hoffman endorsment. I am a fan of Palin but don't necessarly think she would be a good president. I do believe her role in promoting conservatism is where she will make the most impact as seen in the 23rd.

In the end the race in the 23rd was a mess from the get go. A liberal running as a (R) endorsed by the GOP, a Conservative challenger (who might have or might not have had a grasp on the issues)backed by everyone and his brother trying to score brownie points nationally, the (R) candidate Scozzafava then endorsing the (D) Owens, poor GOP ground support, and a national media circus. I think the Christie win and all of the Virginia wins for the (R) were much more important but in the end a message was sent to the GOP and the Dems that the power lies with the people and we will be watching.

Thank you and have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I guess the real question is would Hoffman have won if he was the original Republican candidate? Would this have ever been an issue if the RNC just recruited hard right conservatives to begin with?

I also want to remind everyone that there was also a special election in California's 10th district, and a DLC Democrat was replaced by a solid liberal. Maybe not that big of a deal but its similar to the situation with Hoffman. While the Tea Partiers are out there looking for the most conservative candidates they can, the Democrats are out there looking for as many public option supporters as they can.

mike volpe said...

That last comment was excellent and important, at least for the future of the site.

First, I don't expect anyone to agree with and I certainly don't demand it and I encourage anyone who disagrees to disagree openly. I don't want this to be a robotic political philosophical site.

I also hope that if I am writing a piece or series that you don't like a la Michelle Malkin (which I know conservatives hate)that you'll come back for other articles.

That said, you make some good points and others I disagree with. No doubt the process was horrible. There's no question the Reps screwed up. There's no question they are losers. Yet, you are taking a heads I win tails you lose approach. Hoffman lost. Period. There's no getting around that. He lost because the tea parties turned him into a national referendum and the 23rd voters rejected that notion. Voters all over the country will reject that if it is replicated. That's the point.

If you turn every race into a referendum on the direction of the party, you will cause Reps to lose. This turns every race into a political civil war. That's not a strategy for electoral success.

I worry that there are those patting themselves on the backs thinking that things went well. They didn't. A Democrat hasn't held this seat in a hundred plus years and now he does. That's not what Reps want. That happened because Hoffman ran a platform of being a pure and true conservative and not talking about issues that matter to 23rd. You must recognize that.

David Leach said...

I guess we shall see how this affects the tea party movement but I think you are reading too much into NY23.

There are certainly different shades of conservatism and Scozzafava was none of them. I think the anger here is that the back room republicans selected a candidate for God knows what reasons that was probably further left then the Democratic candidate. Then the national party started throwing support behind this candidate with Newt coming out for her. Some sort of message had to be sent that this was wholly unacceptable.

It would have been different if this candidate had percolated up through a primary race but she didn't and was selected as the candidate. Now I have heard reports that this may have been because no one wanted to run because the district is about to go away because of redistricting activities in NY but still, it was a horrible pick and I don't think too many of the tea party folks are losing any sleep over the outcome.


David Leach said...


I don't think there would be good if Scozzafava had stayed in the race and won the election. From her record she was obviously a vote that the Democrats would be able to count on.

As for nationalizing this race, I think that the other races will be different if they have valid primaries with good candidates. If a candidate wants to run on pure conservative values then the primary system for his/her area will decide the outcome without the influences of the "national" attention.

mike volpe said...

a few things. First, of course, having eleven people pick a candidate in a pizzeria (that's apparently how it went down) is horrible. I am not arguing with anyone here. I am not saying that Scozzafava wasn't a bad choice chosen in the worst way. All of that is accurate.

Maybe it's time and place. It's sort of beside the point. Bottom line is that the tea parties then got behind Hoffman and nationalized it. Why it happened is not as important as that it did, and that he lost.

I am not saying that the movement is over. I am saying that the movement had better learn from this or be prepared to see the same result over and over.