New York — Re-canvassed votes in upstate New York’s 23rd Congressional District foreshadow the second coming of third-party candidate Doug Hoffman. As the Syracuse Post-Standard reported Thursday morning, Conservative nominee Hoffman’s 5,335-vote deficit behind Democrat Bill Owens has shrunk to just 3,026 after Election Night tabulation errors were corrected. Some 10,200 absentee ballots remain uncounted. State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said, “All ballots will be counted, and if the result changes, Owens will have to be removed.”
However this develops, one big myth on this front demands correction, before it hardens into “fact.” Dede Scozzafava is no moderate Republican. The GOP state assemblywoman who abandoned this special election boasts a record far left of the GOP’s center, or even its wobbly port flank — home of Maine senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.
Nonetheless, the GOP’s detractors are showcasing Scozzafava as “proof” that reasonable centrists are unwelcome in today’s intolerant, extreme, far-Right Republican Party.
The Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz called the six-term legislator “a little-known state assemblywoman with moderate Republican views and a mouthful of a surname.” As CBS News’ Steve Chaggaris remarked: “Conservative Republicans will undoubtedly claim victory in sidelining the moderate GOPer, Scozzafava.”
Scozzafava is no upstate version of Long Island’s Peter King (2008 American Conservative Union rating: 50) nor Florida’s Lincoln Diaz-Balart (52), truly centrist congressional Republicans who somehow go astray without offending the Party’s beliefs nor enflaming its base. Conversely, Scozzafava career lowlights reveal a donkey in an elephant costume:
*Scozzafava earned just 15 out of 100 on the New York Conservative Party’s latest legislative report card. Sheldon Silver, an ultraliberal Manhattan trial lawyer and State Assembly Democratic leader, earned a 10. Conservative Party chairman Mike Long observed that among state legislators, “46 Democrats have voting records more conservative than the Republican pick for Congress!”
*Scozzafava voted 190 times to raise or extend taxes. There is nothing moderate about so badly abusing the GOP’s core, tax-limitation plank.
*Scozzafava favors “card check” legislation that would kill secret ballots in union-organizing elections. She also accepted campaign cash from the Longshoreman’s, Electrical Workers’, and Service Employees’ unions, and the National Education Association, the notorious teacher’s union that just screams “NO!” to nearly every school-choice initiative.
*“…I was first on the Planned Parenthood board when I returned to the North Country,” Scozzafava said as she accepted the Family Planning Advocates’ 2008 Margaret Sanger Award for pro-abortion activism.
*Scozzafava was endorsed by the Leftist, ACORN-associated Working Families Party and ran on its ballot line with 2008’s Obama-Biden ticket and 2004’s Kerry-Edwards team.
*Citing polling numbers that plunged after the district’s mainly GOP voters recoiled at her record, Scozzafava suddenly fled the race on Halloween, just three days before the election. Most nominal Republicans would have mirrored the Republican National Committee and endorsed Conservative Hoffman, or at least stayed neutral. Instead, Scozzafava did something truly un-Republican: She embraced Democrat Bill Owens. With Scozzafava’s backing, Owens edged Hoffman 49 percent to 45 on November 3, with Scozzafava scoring 5 percent.
If elected, Hoffman would have rebuffed Nancy Pelosi’s Obamacare bill on November 7. That might have persuaded Rep. Ahn Cao (R- La.) to reverse his lone GOP “yes” vote and join his conference in unanimously rejecting Pelosi’s 1,990-page behemoth. Seeing 100 percent Republican opposition might have inspired another Democrat to spurn this legislation. Obamacare then would have failed by exactly one vote, and this entire sick mess would have flat lined. Thus, Dede Scozzafava is as plausibly responsible as anyone for keeping Obamacare alive.
GOP voters and activists at least grudgingly can accept moderate Republicans who sometimes violate Reaganite principles, especially in states like New York that are not quite Texas or Utah. But henceforth, GOP leaders must understand that picking Scozzafavian candidates is a recipe for revulsion among party stalwarts. If GOP elders prefer to see teardrops rather than confetti fall on election night, they should nominate more Democrats in drag, like Dede Scozzafava.
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