Wednesday, October 28, 2009

GOP Schism in NY's 23rd CD Special Election

For the Republican Party to become significantly relevant in Washington, DC it's candidates have to win. This means that any viable candidate should be supported, less those with extremist views that are aberrant.

In New Jersey and Virginia many moderate Republicans are supporting GOP gubernatorial candidates Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell with campaign contributions. While on many social issues these Republicans may not be in agreement with the candidate, they likely understand that winning a statewide election in the mid-year cycle is important for building momentum going into the mid-term elections in 2010.

On the national party level there are numerous high net worth, moderate Republicans who supported both George W. Bush and John McCain for president beginning in 2000 in leadership positions. Similarly, both of the presidential nominees were not moderates but conservatives, yet still the moderate GOP large donors gave considerable contributions and raised even more funds because they understood that agreeing with the candidate 80 percent of the time was a reasonable choice.

Yet now purist, self-centered conservative political characters are unwilling to demonstrate the same deference in the special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district. Most notably are Sarah Palin and Steve Forbes shirking the state Republican Party by breaking ranks to support a sore loser now running for congress on the Conservative Party line. This is wrong coming from a former Republican vice presidential nominee and a two-time presidential primary candidate.

The GOP nominee in NY’s 23rd CD is Dede Scozzafava who is a moderate candidate seeking to fill the seat previously held by moderate Republican congressmen for 26 years (accounting for redistricting between congressional districts 23 and 24). Her Conservative Party opponent is Doug Hoffman who was a candidate for the Republican nomination but was not picked by GOP county leaders to be the candidate in the November 3rd special election. Despite Mr. Hoffman’s previous statement that he would respect and support the GOP’s choice of candidate, he quickly reversed himself and agreed to be the Conservative Party nominee; therefore exhibiting questionable principles and forever placing doubt on his own convictions.

If highly intelligent, principled and committed moderate Republican majopr donors like Lew Eisenberg, Don Bren, John Moran and others are comfortable with an 80-20 solution on issues, it is not too much to expect conservatives like Sarah Palin, Steve Forbes and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) to do the same. It is assured that if any of these people are a future Republican presidential nominee they would ask these same high net worth GOP contributors to financially support their candidacy.

In the event Hoffman is victorious (which inlcudes denying Scozzafava a win) in a low-turnout special election, it sends a clear message to moderate Republicans that it may well be time to seek a new home by supporting Blue Dog Democrats and leaving the Republican Party to the purists who are doomed to small victories while never again having a chance for the GOP to govern as a majority.

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