Yes, All Politics Is Local

Republicans are – rightly – crowing this morning about the GOP’s victories in the New Jersey Governor’s race and a battery of races in Virginia from the Governorship on down and what they say about the turn in the national mood, if not in a pro-Republican direction then at least in a direction that’s sufficiently hostile to the Democrats that voters in states won by Obama and dominated by the Democrats in the last few years are willing to give individual Republicans another chance.
But the key word there, even in an across-the-board sweep like happened in Virginia, is individual. There remains an ongoing battle on the Right over how Republicans choose which candidates to support – who voters and the national party organs should back in primaries, when and whether to support third party candidacies, etc. It’s a battle intensified by Doug Hoffman’s loss in the NY-23 race after the NRCC-backed candidate, Dede Scoazzafava, ended up swinging the race to the Democrats when she endorsed Bill Owens. But in making sense of such debates, this is a point that cannot be stressed enough: no matter how favorable or unfavorable the overall national climate may be, no matter what ideological compass you want the party to follow, you can’t ever overlook the importance of the individual candidates and the conditions they run in. I said it in 2008 with regard to presidential campaigns, and it’s true as well of races for Governor, Senate or House: ideas don’t run for president, people do.
This point is overlooked by naysayers arguing that this or that position on a particular race is hypocritical or compels a similar result in other races – e.g., if you support the challenger you must always support the challenger; if you support the moderate, you must always support the moderate, etc. Hugh Hewitt eviscerated David Frum in a hugely entertaining segment last week over a column making a similar argument; I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but this excerpt from the Frum column is a sterling example of the kind of blinkered thinking I’m talking about:

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt this week offered a stern condemnation of this fratricide on his popular program, calling the third-party candidate:
“… a wrecker, a selfish ‘look at me’ poser … It takes an outsized ego to look at poll after poll that puts you behind not one but two candidates by more than 10 points and still declare yourself in the hunt.
“Whoops! Sorry, rewind. Fzzzzwwwwvvvvwwwzzzp. That was an editing error. Hugh Hewitt was not blasting Doug Hoffman, the third-party candidate in New York. In fact, Hoffman is the darling of talk radio and Fox News, which have helped to spread Hoffman Fever for the past few weeks.
“No, Hewitt was attacking the third-party candidate in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race, an independent named Chris Daggett who has drawn votes from the official Republican standard-bearer, Chris Christie.
“From the point of view of most Republican commenters online and on the air, party loyalty is a highly variable principle. As they see it, third-party races by liberal Republicans who want to combine environmental protection with fiscal responsibility are selfish indulgences. But third-party races by conservative Republicans who want to combine pro-life appeals with their economic message? Those are completely different. Those are heroic acts of principle.”

This is idiotic. I’ll get to the specific races below, but how can a guy like Frum write this and not notice that Doug Hoffman had a serious chance to win his race – as it turned out, he ran Scozzafava out of the race, drew 45% of the vote and lost a narrow defeat after Scozzafava endorsed his opponent – while Daggett regularly polled below 15% of the vote – often in single digits – and ended up drawing just 6% of the vote in the general election?
Let me illustrate, by discussing several examples from the 2009 and 2010 races, how a principled, pragmatic conservative approach can lead to supporting a variety of different candidates.
The hottest debate for now is over the special election in NY’s 23d Congressional District, long held by moderate Republican John McHugh until he stepped down to accept a position in the Obama Administration. The GOP, without a primary, selected as its candidate state assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, but Doug Hoffman challenged her on the Conservative line and ended up running her out of the race before losing narrowly himself. The NRCC spent almost a million dollars backing Scozzafava, who was also backed by Newt Gingrich and other establishment figures, but RedState and other conservative commentators and blogs, including national figures like Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, joined the revolt and lined up behind Hoffman.
In the abstract, a moderate Republican may well have been the better fit for NY-23. But there were a number of practical reasons why Scozzafava was a bridge too far for conservatives (Jay Cost summarizes the broader problems with her selection here). She had longstanding ties to ACORN and its cat’s paw, the Working Families Party of New York. Her husband was a ranking official in a left-leaning union. She wasn’t just a moderate but a liberal on economic and social issues. She turned out to be a thunderingly incompetent candidate. She had no party loyalty to offset her ideological leanings – she refused to promise to remain a Republican in office, held talks about switching parties in the state legislature, and ended up endorsing the Democrat. And conservatives had never been given a voice in the nominating process, so a third party challenge was the only way to revolt against the party establishment’s candidate.
And perhaps worst of all, and a desperately under-covered aspect of this special election as well as the one to fill Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat in New York’s 20th District in April, Scozzafava has spent more than a decade in New York’s State Assembly. ACORN ties are bad enough, but the most radioactive association possible right now in the State of New York is with the notoriously corrupt, dysfunctional state legislature. Yet the GOP ran the State Assembly Minority Leader, Jim Tedisco (a 23-year veteran of the Assembly), for Gillibrand’s seat, and now Scozzafava. Unsurprisingly, in a climate of pervasive anti-Albany sentiment, both went down to defeat in otherwise winnable races. The nominations of Tedisco and Scozzafava represent a catastrophic failure to understand local sentiment. Conservatives who supported Hoffman, while recognizing that he, too, was an imperfect candidate, saw that at least as a political outsider, he’d have the credibility to speak to the populist revolt against the unholy alliance of Big Federal Government, Big State Government, Big Labor, and Big Business against the ordinary taxpayer.
In New Jersey, by contrast to NY-23, most of us on the Right fell in behind the more moderate candidate, Chris Christie, against both a primary challenge by Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and a third-party challenge, mostly from the Right, by Chris Daggett. Again, we would have liked a strongly conservative candidate, but balanced that against a left-leaning electorate that might be more open to a moderate. But in this race, things were different.
First, Christie’s no liberal, just a guy who shied away from taking conservative stances – or, for that matter, detailing very much of his platform at all (he’ll come to office with a strong mandate to fight corruption and resist tax hikes, but anything else he wants to do, he’ll need to sell the voters on from scratch). Second, unlike Hoffman, Daggett jumped into a race where there had already been a full and fair opportunity for a reasonably well-funded and credible primary challenger (Lonegan) to offer the voters a choice, making the selection of Christie inherently more legitimate and a third-party run more obviously sour grapes designed to split the vote (as it turned out, the Democrats ended up doing robocalls for Daggett). Third, while a political novice, Christie’s an impressive guy, a good debater with a regular-Joe demeanor and a hard-won statewide reputation for prosecuting corruption as US Attorney. And fourth, Christie comes to office without any negative baggage in the form of past associations with the activist Left or past positions defending outrageous examples of overspending and overreaching by the federal government.
With the Right mostly united behind him, Christie was able to reach enough independents and moderates to win the race.
The primary races were less divisive in Virginia this year, but it’s worth mentioning here: Virginia’s been increasingly dominated by the Democrats, who won the state in the presidential election in 2008, won Senate races in 2006 & 2008, and won the Governor’s races in 2001 & 2005. More than a few voices counselled for moderation in statewide races in Virginia, but the GOP instead picked a slate of unapologetic, bold-colors conservatives (Bob McDonnell for Governor, Bill Bolling for Lt. Governor, and Ken Cuccinelli for Attorney General), each of whom won by nearly a 20-point margin. And local dynamics were a significant factor: the state GOP had lost credibility with the voters for its tax-hiking, big-spending ways, so running moderates would only have underlined the extent to which the party hadn’t learned its lessons.
NY Mayor
In a normal electorate, Republicans would regard Mike Bloomberg as the sort of liberal barely-a-RINO deserving of a primary challenge – besides his left-leaning views on a number of issues, he literally only joins the party for election years, and offers zero support to the party city-wide. Plus, a lot of voters didn’t like his decision to amend the city charter to run for a third term. But not only due to his vast wealth did he avoid a serious primary challenge: New York is an overwhelmingly Democratic city, so running a conservative challenger (even a conservative-on-some-issues candidate like Rudy Giuliani) is a tough sell absent an enormous crisis, plus Bloomberg’s basic managerial competence and the fear of what a liberal Democrat would do on the two biggest issues in City politics (crime and taxes) is enough to convince most NYC conservatives, like me, to fall in (however grudgingly) behind Bloomberg.
This one I have discussed before at length: the GOP establishment has thrown its weight behind moderate Florida Governor Charlie Crist against conservative former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio in the race to succeed Senator Mel Martinez. There are all kinds of reasons to prefer Rubio: Florida’s been welcoming territory for conservatives for the past decade; Rubio’s both young and experienced (by Senate candidate standards) and a much better speaker than Crist; a Rubio nomination would be a symbol of inclusiveness given his Cuban heritage, an important factor given Florida’s demographics; and while Crist’s overall profile is moderate, he’s made the crucial error of over-associating himself with the Big-everything Obama agenda, including his support for the bloated stimulus bill. On top of that, because Crist is the sitting Governor and hasn’t been willing to criticize the sitting president’s economic agenda, as a matter of campaign strategy he has no Plan B to fall back on if Floridians are unhappy with the state of the state’s economy. Unsurprisingly, Crist’s approval rating has been eroding, leaving Rubio already the stronger candidate in general election matchups against the likely Democratic opponent. And that opponent, Kendrick Meek, is the final piece of the puzzle: he, like other Democrats mentioned as possible challengers, will run not as a moderate but as an arch-liberal, making it much easier for the GOP to run a conservative and still appeal to voters in the political middle.
The California Senate race to unseat Barbara Boxer is a much tougher call than the Rubio-Crist race. There are a number of reasons why I initially expected to back former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina over California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. First, California’s a liberal state, and Boxer’s an incumbent; despite Boxer’s generally weak poll numbers (she frequently gets less than half of all voters interested in re-electing her, a danger zone for incumbents), either candidate will have a brutally tough road ahead to actually win the race, but the more moderate Fiorina would seem the more natural fit. Second, California and Boxer are especially obsessed with abortion; if I recall correctly, no pro-lifer has won a statewide election in two decades. Third, Fiorina is a woman, a political outsider, a former media darling at HP and much more well-known than DeVore.
But along the way, I ended up siding with a number of other RedStaters in endorsing DeVore. Why? The biggest factor is that I’m just not convinced that Fiorina is a strong candidate – despite the inital good press she was fired for poor performance at HP, and she was sacked by the McCain campaign for her blundering as a spokeswoman. The abortion issue is less of a divide than you might believe; while pro-lifers seem suspicious of her on the issue, Fiorina describes herself as pro-life, so she’ll face the same barrage from Boxer on the issue as DeVore. DeVore, by contrast, seems like an energetic candidate who’s spent a lot more time in the trenches over the past year.
The temper of the times matters. An entrenched incumbent like Boxer can be beaten in a state that normally favors her only if there’s a populist wave to the Right – and the candidate better positioned to ride that wave is Devore, with his ear attuned to the Tea Party movement, not Fiorina, the failed CEO with the golden parachute.
The state of the state party matters too. The California GOP has deep divisions between its persecution-complex-carrying moderate wing and its disaffected conservative activist base. Even if the Senate race is a loss, the best way to fire up the activists – especially against a candidate as famously arch-liberal, nasty, arrogant and dim-witted as Boxer – so as to have them out to vote in the governor’s race and down-ticket races for House seats and the state legislature is to run a candidate who will take the fight to Boxer root and branch, and that factor too favors DeVore. And as discussed below, I expect the more moderate Meg Whitman to win the nomination for Governor and will probably support Whitman. A tag-team of Whitman and DeVore on the ballot is a balanced ticket that shows both wings of the party that they are valued by the state party, and will help defuse momentum for any sort of third-party challenge being mounted by either wing.
To all appearances, the California Governor’s race is a replay of the Senate race: a moderate, female business executive (Meg Whitman) against a male conservative elected official (State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner). And it’s true: Whitman’s had some awful rookie mistakes (she’s spoken glowingly about Van Jones and her first major political donation, made with warm words, was to Boxer), while Poizner, also a successful business executive in his own right, seems an impressive guy.
But this isn’t the Senate race. Whitman was a massively successful businesswoman as the founder and CEO of eBay, and by all accounts is a fiercely disciplined woman. The Governor’s race is for an open seat, with Arnold Schwarzenegger term-limited, so picking a candidate with a good chance to win is paramount. The absence of Boxer from the race will enable Whitman to run an inherently less polarizing campaign. And, as I said, running one moderate and one conservative statewide will best unify a party that notoriously lacks unity.
I could go on. There will undoubtedly be decisions for conservatives to make in Senate races in states like Illinois and Delaware, for example, that will likely shake out in favor of more moderate candidates; there will be others where it will make more sense to go with a more conservative, more populist candidate. But you get my point: the assessment of which candidate to back in a conservative-vs-moderate race is not one to make on automatic pilot. Even if you prefer to always back the conservative, the practical considerations of each race and each set of candidates needs to be evaluated. This is such an obvious point that it shouldn’t need to be emphasized, but it does.

24 thoughts on “Yes, All Politics Is Local”

  1. This analysis is the equivalent of calling a winner in the first quarter of a football game. Everybody ran a script to see what would happen 23 in NY will cause some to double down or reach for solid middle ground. Losing the gov races is not that bad as losing seat in congress.

  2. I have to say that I find Crank’s analysis ludicrous. To start with the obvious, by electing Owens in NY-23, the right-wing crowd at RedState and elsewhere just handed Nancy Pelosi another vote for health care, cap and trade, and all the rest of the Democrat policies. I know they are very proud of themselves for giving Pelosi another vote, but as I am looking at it, Nancy Pelosi has one more spare vote she can lose today as compared to yesterday. The right wing may care more about dominating the GOP, but I care about defeating health care, cap and trade, etc. And the right has just made that *harder*, not easier.
    Now, it is true that the process (with its lack of a primary) there lead to a poor candidate. But that doesn’t justify giving the right’s policy of destroying the GOP candidate and giving the seat to Owens.
    This leads to the flawed analysis of FL-Senate. The idea that Florida is “welcoming territory for conservatives for the past decade” is likewise ludicrous. Florida is welcoming territory for MODERATE Republicans. Charlie Crist. Mel Martinez. Jeb Bush. Conservatives like Katherine Harris and Bill McCollum got destroyed. Now the right wing wants to repeat their error in FL-Senate by nominating someone who is much less likely to win. And, no, one single Rasmussen poll, after months of Repulicans bashing Charlie Crist, is not persuasive evidence that Rubio is more electible than Crist. Crist has proven that he can win statewide, and Rubio has proven nothing. Crist is the better option for Republicans. Rubio ought to stand down and challenge Nelson in 2012, instead of spending his time and energy bashing Republicans.
    I stand for two things:
    1. Republicans ought to follow Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” The RedState crowd absolutely revel in violating this commitment – taking every possible opportunity to tear down fellow Republicans like Crist. By all means, tell us why you think Rubio is better (and Crank tells us well why he thinks that above). But every post about how awful Dede was or Crist is hurts Republicans and helps Democrats.
    2. The most important trait of any Republican is electibility. A losing conservative (Hoffman) is simply much, much worse than a winning moderate.

  3. Jeb Bush is a moderate? Seriously? On immigration, yes, but not much else. Do you consider George W a moderate?
    A Crist general election campaign is a disaster waiting to happen.

  4. Jeb was pretty moderate on environmental issues too. And a Crist general election campaign is a disaster waiting to happen? Really? I remember Crist already holding a general election campaign once, in which he prevailed in 2006 – a very, very tough year for Republicans. Crist has already proven that he can run a successful statewide campaign, even against the headwind of an awful year for Republicans (remember that the conservative Senate candidate in the same year lost by 20%).
    The only realistic way that Crist could lose is if *conservatives* destroy him. Which they are already trying to do. Let’s face it, most of the right wingers on Red State would rather that a Democrat win than Crist win, because they are more interested in dominating the GOP than in winning elections. So they are doing their very best to destroy a winning candidate in Crist (and have already hurt him more than the Democrats could ever hurt him).

  5. A.S.,
    Wasn’t Scozzafava, were she to have won, going to be just another vote for Nancy’s policies, as well? Even Kos said that she was more liberal than Owens when he (first) endorsed her. That is, after all, why the conservatives were upset: she was a liberal Democrat masked in a Republican’s clothing (a sentiment which she cemented as “reality” when she endorsed Owens, by the way, showing that the conservatives’ angst was well founded).
    Were Scozz to have won, the GOP would either have to live with an incumbent & female Jim Jeffords who is no different than Charlie Rangel when it comes to voting, or the situation we have now: Owens in for prolly one year & next November a certifiable conservative Republican runs for the seat & most likely wins.
    100% of the fault lies with the group of GOP suits that chose Scozzafava.
    As far as Crist goes: I’m okay with him if he wins the primary. He’s no DIABLO. But, this IS a primary and it’s okay to take sides in a primary & then convene around the eventual winner. That’s what always happens & I’m befuddled at why we’re supposed to follow the lead of the GOP suits who are telling us who to choose when the GOP suits and the country club leadership therein are the people who are largely responsible for the horrible brand that the term “Republican” has nowadays.

  6. A losing conservative (Hoffman) is simply much, much worse than a winning moderate.
    Scozzafava was no moderate. That was the problem.
    Any arguments about that can be taken up with her endorsement of the LIBERAL DEMOCRAT. I’ve read her views & her votes. She is no moderate. If she switched over to the Dems after one month of a candidate siphoning her votes, how hard was it going to be for Nancy & co. to get her to vote their way when it came to their buying her votes via pork had she won? Look, I’m a big tenter & Rudy freaking Giuliani was my #1 choice in ’08, but choosing Scozzafava for that seat is akin to someone deciding that Sean Penn would be a good candidate for CA senator for Republicans.

  7. “Wasn’t Scozzafava, were she to have won, going to be just another vote for Nancy’s policies, as well?”
    I don’t know that and you don’t either. I am relatively comfortable saying that she would be more conservative than Owens will be. For all I know, the only non-Democrat that could win in that district is a moderate who might vote for some Pelosi policies. After all, the former officeholder, McHugh, was also a moderate. But one thing that yesterday proved is that a conservative can’t and won’t win in that district – even with all of the energy and momentum that Hoffman had. (Kos, BTW, surely “endorsed” Dede simply to have the effect of spoiling the GOP side by encouraging the intra-party fight – and his tactic worked to perfection.)
    Oh, and BTW, I am perfectly fine with you choosing a side in a primary and then living with the result if you lose. I think that Crist is a better option than Rubio, because I think that he can win and Rubio is much more unlikely to win. You may think differently. But the one thing that I abhor – that really p*sses me off – is tearing down a fellow Republican. Rubio should tell us why he is a good candidate, not why Crist is a bad candidate.
    Reagan’s 11th commandment is very important. The RedState folks not only violate it all the time, but it seems to me that RedState’s raison d’etre is to violate it. RedState posters are simply far more interested tearing down the apostate du jour than in electing Republicans.

  8. I don’t know that and you don’t either. I
    Her endorsement of Owens points me in the general direction of “I know what she’d do”.
    But the one thing that I abhor – that really p*sses me off – is tearing down a fellow Republican.
    I’m with you 100%. But, one DOES need to point out where one thinks their opponent is wrong. No, I don’t want everyone who isn’t Reagan targeted, but neither did I consider Dede a Republican. She proved me correct.
    I’m pretty ignorant on Crist/Rubio, outside of the “shush” chatter about Crist’s personal life, which WILL come out in the general, should he be the nominee….the left is vicious, so I have no dog in that hunt.
    Note: I don’t read redstate. Ever.

  9. It’s not as if Crist is gonna lay off Rubio. Heck, we had the whole thing last week where Crist’s campaign created a fake attack on Crist and put it on a fake Rubio website, and got caught red-handed doing it.

  10. I’m trying my best to keep my political intake to be wide-ranging. I promised that I would never resemble the douchebags of the left that we’ve all encountered during the Bush years & part of their d-baggery derives, IMO, from their living in an echo chamber (you know the names of some of the people I’m thinking of, I’m sure). I read you, Ace, hotair, Malkin, Goldstein, Big Hollywood and a few others, so I get my share of righty opinion, which I already get while listening to Limbaugh & Dennis Miller as I read you guys. 🙂
    But, I’ll start checking it out on your recommendation.

  11. RW – my comment wasn’t meant to be solely focused on Red State – I just am mentioning that site because Crank writes there and this post is cross-posted there. Red State is in my RSS reader, and so I read some of the stuff posted there, but it gets tedious to me. The majority of the posts there seems to be bashing Scozz or Crist or whoever else is the apostate of the day. It is basically the flip side of the Frum/Bartlett crowd – people who are far more interested in winning the intra-party battles than in beating Democrats.
    BTW, I agree with you that a lot of the blame for NY-23 should go to the folks who picked Scozz in the first place. That was obviously an error. But IMO the “cure” for the error was worse than making the error in the first place.

  12. A.S. – I can’t vouch for every individual diarist at RS, obviously we fight some battles over perspective there. I assume you mostly mean Erick, who takes the main laboring oar on these internal battles. Obviously he and I have some stylistic differences in the way we write this stuff, but I’m largely in agreement with what he’s trying to accomplish, which proceeds from the premises that (1) the party fell from power in significant part because it got too comfortable spending other people’s money and generally not listening to the grassroots, and (2) we’re not gonna go back to beating the Democrats if we don’t fix that. Sometimes you have to play the long game.

  13. I don’t get A.S.’s point anyway. Is he saying anybody with an (R) by his name gets a pass no matter his ideology? I have asked again and again what exactly makes Dede a Republican–to name one policy she endorses that’s in line with mainstream, small-government GOP philosophy. Nobody can give me an example. And when she turns and endorses the Donk? Who are you trying to kid here?
    Owens campaigned on a No vote on government health care. He can’t spend a year sucking up to Nancy and expect to be re-elected in that district.
    It seems to me A.S. is basing his argument on a lot of errant data.

  14. Personally, I think A.S. is coming at it from the standpoint that Haley Barbour espoused, “do not interfere with primaries if you’re a national Republican and let the primary voters work it out”. But, A.S. can correct me if I’m wrong. NY-23 was different, as we all know, as there was no primary.
    A good case can be made for that theory, based on Haley Barbour’s ultra-successful run as GOP chairman, and FLA is a good place to point to as an example between the more moderate Crist & the more conservative Rubio. NY-23, though, is a slam-dunk because Dede was a Democrat and I’d bet my mortgage that she’d have switched parties after wards, had she won.

  15. Meg Whitman is not the founder of eBay; Pierre Omidyar is. Whitman joined eBay in 1998, three years after it was created.

  16. “I assume you mostly mean Erick”
    He’s the most prominent, I suppose. Stylistically, I appreciate your writing much, much, much more. Substantively, I think you’re both wrong. I agree that the party largely lost its way in fiscal matters. I don’t think that justifies the attacks on Republicans that I see at Red State. There are other, more productive ways of changing the party than tearing down Republicans you consider apostates. Tell us why the person you support is good. Don’t tell us why another Republican – who just might be the nominee against a Democrat – is bad. The attacks against Republicans are all just helping the Democrats. (I have the same opinion of the Frum’s and Bartlett’s of the world, btw.)

  17. “Is he saying anybody with an (R) by his name gets a pass no matter his ideology? I have asked again and again what exactly makes Dede a Republican–to name one policy she endorses that’s in line with mainstream, small-government GOP philosophy”
    Well, she appeared to be a pretty typical GOP member of the NY State legislature. Now, I understand that isn’t saying much in terms of the national GOP positions. But she appeared to know how to win races ini NY. If by “mainstream, small-government GOP philosophy” you mean “in what way is she like Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn”, well, she isn’t. But if you want someone who has a proven record of winning in upstate NY, well she ha(d) it.
    Look, if you want everyone in the GOP to mirror Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn, it’s going to be a very small party, and you had better get used to large Democrat majorities in Congress. I myself prefer Republican majorities, even if there are some Olympia Snowe-types in the party.

  18. “And when she turns and endorses the Donk? Who are you trying to kid here?”
    I don’t know why anybody should expect any loyalty from her after what the national GOP did to her. You treat her like that, and she’s naturally going to repay the favor.
    After all, why do you think Joe Lieberman is opposing cloture on Baucuscare?

  19. You don’t really have a clue, do you? You have no idea what policies Dede supports and whether she’s in tune with ANY mainstream GOP positions, right?
    Did you know she was on the board at Planned Parenthood? That she supports card check? Gay marriage? These are a few of the signs that she’s not in touch with the mainstream of the GOP. Can you tell me any position she holds that would mitigate those? I asked for just one and got zippo.
    And what exactly did the national GOP do to her? Fund her campaign to the tune of $900,000? Well, they’re sorry for “what they did to her”, but I suspect not for reasons you’d agree with.
    A.S., you don’t have the slightest idea of what you’re talking about here. Listen to you here:
    I am relatively comfortable saying that she would be more conservative than Owens will be.
    Why? Did you give one single policy she’d be “more conservative” on than Owens? Even one?
    And here:
    by electing Owens in NY-23, the right-wing crowd at RedState and elsewhere just handed Nancy Pelosi another vote for health care, cap and trade, and all the rest of the Democrat policies.
    Really? Do you know where Owens stands on these issues? Why do you believe that a Democrat from a relatively red district would vote against his campaign speeches when he’s running again in a year? Did you even know he has to stand for that seat next year?
    If you want to come in here and lecture us on how we ought not to kick each other around in the primaries, I would suggest you bone up a little first. All you did here was impeach yourself as any reliable observer whatever. In the process of beclowning yourself, you dinged the good faith of any so-called moderates supposedly interested in the fortunes of the GOP.
    You’re what’s called a “concern troll”. So very concerned about what these awful right-wingers are doing to “our party”.

  20. You totally misread VA. The GOP three may be hard right, but they won by claiming to be centrists. Living in the MD suburbs, we’ve been bombarded by the TV ads. Not one of those ever identified themsleves as Republicans in any ad I remember seeing. And McDonnell ran away from his past. Maybe he was lying, but if so, the GOP will have a hard time succeeding him in 4 years.

  21. I agree with Crank (dodging lightning bolt). Jeb is no moderate. I sat with him last week at a Chamber of Commerce lunch and he is what Jack Germond used ot call a “full-mooner.”

  22. You have no idea what policies Dede supports and whether she’s in tune with ANY mainstream GOP positions, right?
    Did you know she was on the board at Planned Parenthood? That she supports card check? Gay marriage?
    She supports lots of mainstream GOP positions, such as opposing gun control, cap and trade, and tax increases. What she didn’t support is the hardcore right wing positions on social issues. And if the Republican Party limits itself to only candidates who are acceptable in the deep South on social issues, then it is going to be a minority party.
    You’re what’s called a “concern troll”.
    That’s right. I’m concerned about winning elections. People who are more interested in purity than winning, such as yourself, are harmful to the party and the positions that most of us espouse.

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