The civil war in the Republican Party between the forces
of principle and the forces of expediency has come to the
23rd Congressional District of the state of New York.
The district, which comprises much of upstate New York,
is sparsely populated with much of the populace concentrated
in small towns while a scattering of dairy farms dot the area.
Politically, the citizens lean rightward, although Barack Obama
won the district with 52% of the vote, while they sent U.S. Repre-
sentative John McHugh (R) to Congress nine consecutive times.
With McHugh having been appointed Secretary of the Army by
Presidnet Obama, a special election will be held on Tuesday,
November 3 to choose McHugh's successor.
Three candidates are on the ballot: Republican candidate Dede
Scozzafava, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, and
Democrat candidate Bill Owens. The district's GOP is divided
between Scozzafava, the pick of the party bosses, and Hoffman,
the choice of the rank-and-file Republicans and the Tea Party
Dede Scozzafava, a 10-year member of the New York State
Assembly, compiled a voting record that one would expect
of a substantially liberal democrat. In fact, her voting record
puts Scozzafava to the left of nearly half of the Democrats in
the assembly! She has voted for a state version of "Card Check",
a measure which would eliminate the Secret Ballot in union
certification elections as well as force workers to accept binding
arbitration. Workers would be vulnerable to attempts to pressure
them into voting in a union in their workplaces. This measure also
mirrors the federal legislation crafted by congressional Democrats.
Scozzafava also has spoken in favor of President Obama's stimulus
plan and has voted for a state stimulus plan drawn up in Albany.
Furthermore, she has cosistently voted for increased taxation and
spending throughout her decade in New York's Assembly and is
also a staunch abortion rights supporter. The 23rd District counties'
GOP chairmen have gotten behind Scozzafava; though disturbing,
this is not surprising when you consider that the liberal wing of
the New York Republican Party reclaimed control of the party
in recent years.
Doug Hoffman, an accountant, is a rock-solid conservative
Republican. Snubbed by the district's party bosses, Hoffman has
the enthusiastic support of the Tea Party people along with that
of the New York Conservative Party. Favoring tax cuts over tax
increases, growing the economy over growing the government,
and being conservative both fiscally and socially (Hoffman is pro-
life on the issue of abortion), he says "I am not your run-of-the-mill
politician, and maybe that's why the Republican bosses don't like
me." A first-time office seeker, he has steadily gained ground on
both Scozzafava and Owen in recent polls.
Bill Owen, an attorney, is a garden-variety liberal Democrat.
He stands out in contrast to Dede Scozzafava in one way:
Owen has actually criticized her for SPENDING TOO
MUCH MONEY! He has publically ripped Scozzafava for
voting for bloated, tax-and-spend-crazy state budgets in the
Assembly(!). Robert Ripley, call your office! This story is
an item for your "Believe It Or Not!" Museum!
Do you see how Republicans are shooting themselves in the
foot here? They have a golden opportunity to retain a long-
held congressional seat and make a statement at the same time,
that the GOP is back on the wagon of fiscal restraint, the pre-
servation of personal freedom, and halting runaway government,
but they're blowing it big-time! William Farber, Hamilton County
Republican Chairman, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal in
an October 16 article about the upcoming special election
stating "We asked, is it possible to put in place a Republican
candidate that uniformly stands for all the conservative values
of the far right, but is unelectable? I would much rather have a
candidate like Dede Scozzafava that I don't agree with 100% of
the time, but has always been honest and forthright."
Judging by Farber's remarks, one can draw the following
conclusions: (1) Farber does not know his district very well,
if at all. It has approximately 46,000 more registered Republicans
than Democrats, and most of the time votes for conservative
candidates. (2) Farber is ignorant of the fact that the conservative
values of what he arrogantly terms "the far right" helped the
Republican Party become the majority party for the while it
adhered to those values. That is how Ronald Reagan was elected
to the presidency in 1980, and how the party won both houses
of congress in 1994. (3) If Farber does not, in fact, agree with
Dede Scozzafava "100% of the time", he at least seems to agree
with her enough of the time to back her over the much more
conservative Douglas Hoffman. The New York Conservative
Party has given her a 15% conservative rating based on their
analysis of her votes in the Assembly; she is regarded as one of
the most liberal members of that chamber, regardless of party
affiliation. So what does that say about Chairman Farber?
(4) Finally, since Farber finds Scozzafava "honest and forthright",
can it be implied that he finds Hoffman dishonest and shifty?
If so, is it because of some character flaws that Farber has seen
but has not become apparent to anyone else, or is it because Farber
believes, ad hominem, that conservatives are untrustworthy?
Such ignorance and stupidity can only doom the Republican Party
to further wandering in the political wilderness. The GOP-leaning
electorate in New York's 23rd Congressional District can drive this
point home by voting for Douglas Hoffman to be their next U.S.
Representative in Congress.