Regardless of whether third party candidate, conservative Doug Hoffman, wins the special election in New York’s 23rd
Congressional District on Tuesday or not, the fact that a district wide and nation wide backlash forced liberal Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava out of the race, was already a dramatic victory of sorts. It marked one of the first times that many high profile Republicans publicly as well as rank and file Republicans, did away with their loyalty to the party label and placed a priorty on the party’s ethical and ideological standards. It was a victory against RINO Republicanism that sent a message to establishment Republicans. The message it delivered is one that lets the old guard know that they better stay true to the principles of our party, the principles which made this country strong and can keep it prosperous.
Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava was not made the Republican nominee for Congress in the 23rd by Republican voters. If they selected the nominee, it would not have nominated a liberal. Scozzafava only became the nominee after the 11 Republican County Chairmen, who have portions of their counties fall into the 23rd CD, got together and decided on making Scozzafava the candidate. This was a special election, so special rules allowed Party bosses to award the nomination to whomever they saw fit. You would think that 11 Republican Party bosses would select a candidate strong on conservative Republican values. You would think that. But such is not the case with the establishment of the Party. The Republican establishment focuses on political expediency and they believe the politically expedient thing to do is act like Democrats so that we can win Democrats voters over. The problem with that thinking is that if Democrats have a choice, why would they select a Democrat who runs as a Republican when they can elect a Democrat who acts like…., well…., like a Democrat.
That thinking is why Dede Scozzafava was forced to shut down her campaign for Congress on Saturday.
Republicans saw that Scozzafava was a liberal. Between her positions on abortion, Card Check, ACORN, taxes, spending, the stimulus packages and a host of other issues, Dede Scozzafava was clearly more in tune with the left than the right. So in a district that is heavily Republican, and has been ever since the Civil War, Scozzafava saw her support cut by more than half when a conservative Doug Hoffman became a viable alternative to the choice of Scozzafava .
The appalling liberalism that establishment Republicans tried to hide under the Republican label was so obvious and offensive that it drew national attention. It caused former Vice Presidential candidates and governors and even several incumbent governors, to throw their two cents in and demand that Republican nominees reflect the principles of the Republican Party.
In the end, there was so much attention given to the bad decision that the Republican establishment made by choosing Scozzafava that it became ground zero in the battle for the future of the GOP.
It was a battle won by the Republican wing of the Republican Party. It was a battle won by conservatives over liberals, the anti-establishment over the establishment.
But was it decisive? Was it a turning point?
That remains to be seen. After all, till this day, historians and experts on the Civil War still debate if there was a single decisive turning point in the Civil War. And if there was, there is still debate over which point it was that turned the tide in the Union’s favor.
Many contend that the combined effects of the Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg were the turning point in the Civil War. Others contend that it was Grant’s appointment as Union General-In-Chief in 1864, while some say it was the Union’s third victory in Chattanooga that set in motion the fall of the Confederacy. Than there are those who say the war turned around when the Union captured Atlanta while many claim Lincoln’s winning reelection was what really did the trick.
I contend that it was all of these events and factors, combined with a few others. Together, they allowed things to turn around and maintained the forward momentum that led to the final conclusion of hostilities and the reunification of the states. Had anyone of the events heretofore mentioned turned out differently, the ensuing chain of events could have achieved very different results than they did.
Thus is why I will not say that the collapse of the Scozzafava campaign is a turning point in the Republican Party. It was most definitely a shot heard throughout the Party. It makes many incumbent Republicans a little fearful. At the very least, it has gotten the attention of them and the rest of the establishment Republican powerbrokers and Party bosses who are concerned more with politics than policy.
As they all await the results of Tuesday’s elections, they are hoping that resounding Republican victories in Virginia and New Jersey set the stage for a Republican resurgence in 2010. As such, having already crushed the chances of one their hand picked candidate, even before any votes were counted, the anti-establishment has shown the establishment that if they choose to have a fighting chance in 2010, they need to run Republicans loyal to the principles of the party. The events in the 23rd district prove that if the GOP tries to run candidates who resemble Democrats, the Republican Party will be entering next November’s field of battle with far less fighting power than they could have. If they are going to continue running republican-lite nominees, the Republican base will not show up to fight with the establishment. They will fight against the establishment.
It is for those reasons that I will not declare the defeat of Scozzafava to be a turning point. It could be, but only if the establishment learned their lesson and catches up to the anti-establishment Republicans who are ahead of the curve and the wave of the future of the GOP. The events in the 23rd district could prove to be a turning point if the Republican wing of the Republican Party prepares to replace the old guard with the new guard and are willing to offer primary challenges to those Republicans who have betrayed the principles of our Party.
In a state like New Jersey, that would mean that it is necessary to confront people like Representatives Leonard Lance, Chris Smith and Frank LoBiondo, the Jersey Three who voted with Democrats to pass the Cap-and-Trade measure that would tax the air that we breathe and amount to the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind. By supporting a measure like Cap-and-Trade, Republican like Lance, LoBiondo and Smith have proven themselves to be unworthy of our trust and unworthy of our nomination. They have proven that they can not be counted to stand up against big government, big spending and the abuse of state’s and individual’s rights.
These are the type of establishment Republicans that must be purged as the GOP moves forward. They are the type of quasi-Republicans that the anti-establishment must make sure are challenged and defeated in a primary battle for the Republican nomination in their Congressional Districts come next year. I am one of those willing to challenge my Congressman, Chris Smith, a 14 term incumbent who rode his way into office on the coattails of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Now, 29 years later, and Smith is an entrenched establishment Republican who sides with Nancy Pelosi.
If the GOP intends to reinvent itself, it can not do so with Republicans like Chris Smith or Leonard Lance and Frank LoBiondo. Such inside-the-beltway, establishment stalwarts of old must be replaced by Republicans willing to lead us rather than be led by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
The Republican establishment will not change themselves. We have to change them. Just as the anti-establishment did by successfully shutting down the campaign of the establishment’s hand picked nominee for Congress in New York. Unless Republicans in districts represented by RINO’s are willing to find their own Doug Hoffman’s and turn their opponents into Scozzafava’s, the Republican Party will never change and it will never become the force for change that it could and should be.
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The collapse of the campaign of a Republican candidate for Congress in New York’s North Country was indeed a victory but whether or not it is a turning point, has yet to be seen. It has the potential to be one, but only if the anti-establishment pushes ahead hard. Real hard. They must do all that is possible to spur the victory of Marco Rubio over Charlie Crist in Florida’s race for the U.S. Senate. They must find viable alternatives to the likes of Olympia Snowe of Maine and replace pseudo sometime Republicans like California’s Mary Bono, New Jersey’s Chris Smith, Delaware’s Mike Castle and Illinois’ Mark Kirk. They must all be Scozzafavarized. Then and only then will October 31st, 2009 be considered as a turning point in the resurgence of republicanism in America.