In an October 20 The Gaggle blog post, Newsweek's David A. Graham sought to explain to readers why the New York 23rd Congressional District special election on November 3 "is more important than" the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races.
Graham portrayed the race -- pitting liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava against Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and Democratic candidate Bill Owens -- as a bellwether fight for the soul of the Republican Party. Graham noted Scozzafava's socially liberal stances, implying that conservative ire over her nomination tothe GOP ticket in the special election was based solely on the ire of social conservatives.
Yet nowhere in his blog post did Graham explain that economic conservatives and libertarian-leaning Republicans worry Scozzafava is truly a Republican-in-name-only (RINO) on economic matters as well, given her ties to ACORN.
As Human Events reporter John Gizzi noted a month ago (emphasis mine):
The Republican nominee for Congress in the soon-to-be-open 23rd District of New York came under harsh fire from conservatives last week for her past acceptance of support from a third party considered “a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACORN.”
State Assemblywoman Deidre “Dede” Scozzafava, the New York House candidate has been re-elected several times on the ballot line of the Empire State’s far-left Working Families Party, one of whose co-founders is ACORN. (ACORN head Bertha Lewis, who was much in the news last week, doubles as vice chairman of the Working Families Party).
(New York is one of six states that permits “fusion voting,” or permitting votes cast for a candidate appearing on multiple ballot lines to be counted for that one candidate; thus, New York is home to several minor parties -- the Independence Party on Row C, the Conservative Party on Row D, and the WFP on Row E -- that “cross-endorse” major party nominees for office).
Founded in 1998, Working Families Party has focused on Democrats and this “enabled it to accumulate surprising influence over Democratic officials, yanking them left on economic issues like the minimum wage, which the party was instrumental in helping to raise in New York State, in exchange for its support.” (American Prospect Magazine, May 2006).
But sometimes, the byzantine world of New York’s multiple parties and their “cross-endorsements” lead to “strange bedfellows.” In ’04, liberal GOPer Scozzafava was re-elected after also appearing on the WFP ballot line with Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. Last fall, she won again and shared the WFP ticket with Barack Obama.
Now, with the special election for McHugh’s seat likely to be held November 3, will Scozzafava become the first Republican U.S. House hopeful to run with the ballot line of the Working Families Party -- whose co-founders include veteran leftist organizers Dan Cantor and Bob Master, the United Auto Workers and ACORN?
What's more, for his part -- and Graham did mention this in passing -- liberal Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas gave his endorsement of Scozzafava, heralding her as a tax-hiking "Susan Collins-type Republican" (emphasis mine):
Sure, she is a Republican, and opposes the public option. But she's been willing to raise taxes when budgets require it, and is to the left of most Democrats on social issues (including supporting gay marriage).
So who to root for? A Blue Dog who would strengthen the Democrats' corporatist faction, or a Republican version of a Lieberdem, who will probably be muzzled, but could -- if she remained true to her record in Albany -- be more of a Susan Collins-type Republican, a moderate in an ideologically rigid party willing to give the Dems fake "bipartisan" cover with crossover votes every once in a while.
If Republicans lose the seat, it'll dent that sense of momentum they believe is headed their way. If they win the seat, it will have been with a liberal Republican, suggesting that their path to electoral relevance in the northeast is to ditch the Southern-fueled ultra conservatism. Both are good for us.
If the Democrat loses the race, we lose nothing -- it was previously held by a Republican. If he wins the seat, we gain another obnoxious Blue Dog, undermining our caucus from within while adding just a single vote to our already dominant House majorities. Furthermore, the typical DC wankers will take this as "proof" that you need to run Lieberdems in such districts to win them, while ignoring the fragmented conservative opposition. Not much of an advantage at all. More than likely, a net disadvantage.
So it's official, I'm rooting for the Republican to win. As a congresswoman, she could either move even more to the left to properly represent her progressive-trending district and be a pain in the side of the GOP caucus (they have nothing like our Blue Dogs), or Democrats can field a real Democrat to challenge her in 2010.