Clueless GOP leaders have apparently come to the brain-dead conclusion that John McCain lost to Barack Obama last November because McCain was too conservative.
Otherwise, why have they spent so much time since then promoting moderate and left-leaning candidates and policies?
In the latest affront to the party’s conservative base, GOP leaders are heavily promoting the candidacy of one Dede Scozzafava in New York’s 23rd congressional district special election. As National Review notes, Scozzafava falls to the left of many Democrats in this conservative-leaning district:
In spite of its having gone for Obama in 2008, the district’s history suggests that it is basically conservative; Ms. Scozzafava is basically not. Boy, is she not: Not only pro-choice and in favor of homosexual marriage — common if distasteful concessions to the secular liberals’ agenda — she also supports some of the most odious items on the Left’s wish-list, including the “card check” initiative that would put a big cudgel in the hands of Big Labor while effectively disenfranchising millions of American workers who may not desire to become Teamsters, SEIU members, or similar. She signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to oppose tax hikes but immediately declared that she was not bound by having done so. It is no surprise that she is supported by the public-employees unions, ACORN — and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga. (Really.)
You may agree with all of these policy opinions, but if you do, chances are strong that you aren’t a Republican. Ms. Scozzafava may not feel herself overly bound to that label either:
It may be too generous even to say that Ms. Scozzafava is a RINO — Republican In Name Only — inasmuch as she has emanated mixed signals about her commitment to remaining a Republican post-election. (Her spokesman now affirms to The Weekly Standard that Ms. Scozzafava is a “vote for John Boehner to be speaker of the House of Representatives,” if she is in office in 2011; earlier, her campaign had declined to answer that question.) It is entirely conceivable that Ms. Scozzafava will be tempted to switch to the party whose values she shares. She will be especially vulnerable to that temptation if she should face a tough primary challenge in 2010; given that Ms. Scozzafava is to the left of a great many Democratic voters, to say nothing of the typical Republican, the GOP bosses who foisted her upon the party have all but ensured that she does face such a challenge. They very well may have created the next Arlen Specter.
Not an original thought, but it bears repeating: Voters faced with a choice between a Democrat and a Republican who acts like a Democrat are most likely to pull the lever for the real deal.
UPDATE: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Newt Gingrich is trying to salvage Scozzafava’s campaign.
Once a reliable champion of the conservative view of things, he’s taken a nasty pragmatic turn in recent years. This was most apparent when he publicly conceded just about every premise of the climate change alarmists, choosing instead to work for free-market remedies.
Now he wants us to believe that conservatism is best served by enthusiastically supporting whoever the GOP throws at us, no matter how odious.
The CQ article linked above ends with a perfect summary of the GOP’s strategy for keeping conservatives on their leash:
The GOP hope to convince conservative voters that a vote for Hoffman is a vote for the Democrats.
They say that a vote for Hoffman is tantamount to a vote for the Democrats.
Then again, a vote for Scozzafava is a vote for someone who is indistinguishable from the Democrats. A vote for Scozzafava is another vote in Congress for the Democrat agenda. A vote for Scozzafava sends a message to the GOP leaders that conservatives care more about party than they do about principle, and that the party can run whoever it pleases without consequence.
Tell me – how can a vote for Scozzafava be anything but a disaster for conservatives?