Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, has discovered that his endorsement can be political poison. Such was the case with his endorsement at the beginning of this month of the very liberal Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, in the New York 23rd CD special election:
Club for Growth darling Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party line, and has even garnered the endorsement of Fred Thompson. The guy has legitimate traction, fueled by the fact that Dede Scozzafava, the Republican, is actually the most liberal candidate in the race. (Heck, she has run on the very liberal Working Families Party ballot line in the past.)
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). That's why conservatives are panicked about her -- for a party that is becoming more regional, more conservative, more ideologically rigid, Scozzafava's brand of moderate conservatism is grating. Hence, Hoffman has a real shot at not just playing spoiler and undermining the GOP candidate's chances, but also of potentially winning.
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.
Since that Daily Kos endorsement, Scozzafava has faded fast to a distant third place in that race. There were several reasons for her rapid plunge in the polls, such the police being called because of a journalist asking her tough questions, but the kiss of death from Markos sure didn't help her. And now Moulistsas has finally figured out the error of his public endorsement so he has announced his "unendorsement" although he continues to support Scozzafava. Here is Moulitsas realizing that he had a big mouth with his endorsement and is now "gaming it out" in a laughably absurd explanation about why his original endorsement wasn't really an endorsement:
I have no love for the Democrat, Owens, and I clearly have no love for Scozzafava in that post, so only an idiot would construe that as an "endorsement". An endorsement implies love for the candidate being endorsed. I wish nothing but ill will for all candidates in this race. But the GOP is full of idiots, and they've run strong with it, making my "endorsement" part of their anti-Scozzafava narrative. And now we're in a situation in which the conservative candidate Doug Hoffman has a real chance of performing better than the Republican.
Um...please forgive me, Markos, for quoting you directly but let me repeat what you stated on October 1:
...So it's official, I'm rooting for the Republican to win.
You were "rooting for" the Republican to win and you even made it "official." If that's not an endorsement, then I don't know what is. Oh, you stated that an endorsement "implies love for the candidate being endorsed." Um...no it doesn't, Markos. Hillary Clinton eventually endorsed Barack Obama for president last year. Do you actually think this implied love on her part?
Moulitsas then tries to distance himself for the harm his original endorsement caused:
So I'm no longer rooting for a Scozzafava victory. That gets us nothing. And I'm not rooting for a Hoffman victory, and I'm certainly not rooting for Owens because I'm over Lieberdems.
I'll leave it to others to try and squeeze out my "endorsement" from that steaming pile of dog s--t.
But I'm rather pleased I've been used to attack Scozzafava by the likes of Club for Growth and Glenn Beck. Such mischief is almost Rovian!
No longer "rooting for" a Scozzafava victory which means no longer endorsing her (in public). What makes this unendorsement of his original endorsement (oops, I mean "rooting") really hilarious is that this same Markos Moulitsas also lectured NARAL about their endorsement of Scozzafava since it would only harm her. I guess he learned from the error of his own public endorsing/rooting when writing about NARAL's endorsement in this thread, NY-23: NARAL working for right-wing victory. First Markos quotes the NARAL endorsement from Roll Call:
NARAL Pro-Choice New York just launched a campaign on Scozzafava’s behalf that includes mail to more than 10,000 households and volunteer phone banking “highlighting Scozzafava’s many pro-choice, pro-active votes in the State Assembly and her distinction as the only 100% pro-choice candidate in the race,” according to a news release from the group.
This is followed by a Markos sermonette on why this endorsement (at least in public) was so wrong:
Assuming they don't want conservative party teabagger Doug Hoffman to win, this is beyond stupid. First of all, Scozzafava is dead-woman walking. Her numbers are tanking and she's been effectively marginalized out of the race. Her role now is that of spoiler -- can she take enough votes away from Hoffman to give the Democrat, Bill Owens, a plurality victory?
Speaking of stupid, perhaps Markos should wear a sign saying "I'm wif stoopid!" And would it make Moulitsas feel better if NARAL stated that they are only "rooting for," not endorsing, Scozzafava?