No, the title is not true. But based on what I’m reading in the right-wing blogosphere and hearing on talk radio these might well be the next claims leveled at this hapless Republican candidate for Congress in New York’s 23rd District in an upcoming special election.
New york State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava was picked to run for the position by the eleven county chairs in her district, based on her successful history in the state assembly. They picked her over 8 other candidates. She has a reputation as a social liberal and fiscal conserevative, making her a viable candidate to challenge the Democrats in the left-leaning congressional district in suburban New York previously held by moderate Republican John McHugh who was recently nominated Secretary of the Army.
Scozzafava has the support of the RNC, the NRCC, her state party, the NRA, Rep. Pete King, Newt Gingrich and his PAC and even the Oswego County ATV Club. She has been able to raise a substantial warchest and seems like a credible contender to take this traditionally Democrat-held seat for the GOP. She opposes Cap and Trade, supports tort reform, believes in gun rights and wants to cut taxes.
So what’s the problem?
Well, it all boils down to a couple of issues. Though you won’t see it mentioned anywhere on her website, Scozzafava is pro-choice and supports gay rights. In addition to her more traditional Republican endorsements, she’s also endorsed by the UAW, the NY State Teachers Union, the Log Cabin Republicans, the Working Families Party (a socialist group connected to ACORN) and even Markos Moulitsos of DailyKos. All of these things might be excusable in the name of winning a difficult seat in Congress, but what’s not excusable is that Scozzafava is pro-choice. Not only that, but she was given the Margaret Sanger Award by Planned Parenthood.
The cries of outrage from the psychotic biddies of Eagle Forum and the bowtied pundits living in their parents basements were deafening. Scozzafava was an ultraleftist, a secret Democrat, endorsed by ACORN, only picked by the NRA because no one else had a voting record on guns and a Hitlerian eugenecist who supports sterilizing the poor because of the Sanger award. None of this was actually true, of course. But being pro-choice and supporting gay marriage are apparently too inexcusable for this vocal minority to contemplate in a GOP candidate.
Now let’s be realistic for a second. New York, which only a few years ago had 9 Republicans in Congress now has only 2. Barack Obama won Scozzafava’s district with a strong 52% majority. John McHugh held the seat for years because he was a moderate Republican like Scozzafava. No one is going to get elected there who is not at least somewhat liberal on social issues. Conservatives have decided to back Doug Hoffman who is running as the Conservative Party candidate, but he’s running third with little chance of catching Scozzafava or her Democrat opponent Bill Owens. All Hoffman is likely to do is split the vote and win the election for the Democrats.
The truth is that Scozzafava is basically a moderate. She’s going to diverge from the Republicans in Congress on some social issue votes but basically stick with them on the key fiscal issues. Some sensible Republicans see this as obvious, but it’s totally unacceptable to the irrational right. They would rather throw away a Congressional seat than compromise on a couple of secondary issues. I hope they’ll be proud when Cap and Trade passes and our taxes skyrocket and Scozzafava’s vote might have stopped it.
These ideologically driven and inflexible single-issue voters have become a liability to the Republican Party and do the party far more harm than moderates like Scozzafava. Moderates can at least be counted on to do the practical thing and support the party most of the time. They aren’t lining up to commit political suicide over a single issue and drag the whole party down with them. The self-righteous extremists seem not to grasp the concept of the lesser of two evils, or understand that a vote against Scozzafava is essentially a vote for Obama and Pelosi and all the marxism they would love to pass into law. They are apparently perfectly willing to have us all live in a marxist dictatorship so long as every fetus gets a chance to share in the slavery.
Now it looks like they are going to make the party pay the price for their bigotry and extremism, because although Scozzafava had been leading in the polls, in the latest results with the election only two weeks away, she has dropped 4 points behind Democrat Bill Owens. If this poll holds true and Owens wins the election, when the 2010 election comes around it might be time to consider purging the party of those elements who have demonstrated that their loyalty is to other issues rather than to the GOP and its basic belief in individual liberty and smaller government.Dave Nalle has worked as a magazine editor, a freelance writer, a capitol hill staffer, a game designer and taught college history for many years. He now designs fonts for a living and lives with his family in a small town just outside Austin where he is ex-president of the local Lions Club. He is on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus and Politics Editor of Blogcritics Magazine. You can find his writings about fonts, art and graphic design at The Scriptorium. He also runs a conspiracy debunking site at IdiotWars.com.