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Posted by on Oct 31, 2009 in Breaking News, Politics, Society | 32 comments

Dede Scozzafava

This is not one of the subjects I’ve been following closely, since I don’t live in New York State, but the response to her decision to drop out of the race is interesting.

My understanding is that Scozzafava is a moderate Republican — she does not hew to the far right position on abortion and marriage equality, for example. But Michelle Malkin, in her post exulting about the news that she is no longer a candidate, calls Scozzafava a “radical leftist.” I didn’t realize that even the hard right had gotten extreme enough to consider a moderate Republican a “radical leftist.”

Andrew Sullivan speculates on what it all means:

What we’re seeing, I suspect, is an almost classic example of a political party becoming more ideological after its defeat at the polls. in order for that ideology to win, they will also have to portray the Obama administration as so far to the left that voters have no choice but to back the Poujadists waiting in the wings. And that, of course, is what they’re doing. There is a method to the Ailes-Drudge-Cheney-Rove denialism. They create reality, remember?

From the mindset of an ideologically purist base – where a moderate Republican in New York state is a “radical leftist” – this makes sense. But for all those outside the 20 percent self-identified Republican base, it looks like a mix of a purge and a clusterfuck. If Hoffman wins, and is then embraced by the GOP establishment, you have a recipe for a real nutroots take-over. This blood in the water will bring on more and more and deadlier and deadlier sharks.

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  • Even allowing for Malkin’s propensity for hyperbole, her ridiculous labeling of Scozzafava is pretty eyebrow-raising.

    However — while it’s possible the Sully’s right and there’s some deeper plan at work here, I suspect the far right is merely radicalizing as they echo off of one another. It bodes VERY poorly for the GOP, though, because Sully’s almost certainly right about this: “or all those outside the 20 percent self-identified Republican base, it looks like a mix of a purge and a clusterfuck. “

    • kathykattenburg

      Hey, Polimom! I was just thinking about you, yesterday, wondering where you’d got off to. Glad to see you here again.

  • rfyork

    Ms. Kattenburg,

    This is my second reply to one of your posts today.

    I am a lifelong progressive Democrat. I am just loving what the crazy right is doing. Maybe there’s a new phrase we could use. “self-marginalization”. Now we can just hope that the R’s will be completely dominated by these ninnies and nominate Palin for President, or even VP. Watch that red shrink to the Old South (of which I am a descendant).

    Someday the Olympia Snows and Scozzafavas of this country will recognize the folly of their original party. Remember, it took the Civil Rights Act of 1965 for the Southern Democrats to convert to the Republican Party.

    I know we need the Republicans to act with some moderation but, given their current propensities, that’s a little like asking a 2 year old to take your SAT’s.

    Hee-Haw!! Go Sarah!!

    • kathykattenburg

      I know we need the Republicans to act with some moderation but, given their current propensities, that’s a little like asking a 2 year old to take your SAT’s.

      Yeah I know — it’s the epitome of mixed feelings, isn’t it?

  • DaMav

    Why pick only one issue and ignore the rest? Scozzafava supported the massive pork-laden ineffective Obama “Stimulus”, ran up a liberal tax and spend record in the NY Assembly, backs the ultra-union position of depriving workers of the secret ballot in union certification, and failed to reassure Republicans that she wouldn’t pull another Arlen Specter and bolt the party in the future.

    There’s quite a bit of “whose ox is gored” in evidence. When Scozzafava takes positions out of step with her party base, she is adorned with praise for moderation and independent thought. When Joe Lieberman bucks his party bosses we hear a different tune altogether from many of the same people.

    Dede dropping out bodes very well for the GOP, thank you, as it appeals to the conservatives in the electorate who have been cast adrift by chronic liberalism during the Bush years. Gallup says 40% of the country considers itself conservative vs 20% liberal. A more conservative GOP that doesn’t advance left wing candidates in moderate districts will do a lot better in the future than the wishy washy mess we have had in the past few years.

    The fulcrum is that this is a very contestable district for conservatives. If Scozzafava had been running in Cambridge, MA this would not have happened. Conservatives have already won a major victory in the 23rd by getting a conservative candidate in a race where the choice was initially between two liberals. This was a major screwup by the Republican establishment, and we are fixing what is obviously broken. Under Construction — Scuse Our Mess. Take all the pot shots you want, we’re not going away.

    Just don’t try to pass this off as if it were all about gay marriage. That’s fundamentally dishonest.

  • Maxwell’s Demon

    The real lesson here is that primaries exist for a reason, and New York should change its candidate selection system.

  • You know as much about New York Republicans and the interplay between the NY Conservative Party and the GOP in New York as you know about….

    Well, most anything.

    • kathykattenburg

      I can finish that sentence for you. I know as much about New York Republicans and the interplay between the NY Conservative Party and the GOP in New York as you know about health care reform.

      No, wait, that’s wrong. Whatever little I know about New York Republicans, etc., is more than you know about health care reform, since you know nothing about health care reform.

      The difference between your lack of subject expertise and mine, of course, is that I acknowledged it right up in the first line of my post, whereas your certainty on any given subject increases the less you know about it.

      Thanks for visiting my thread, Jazz. Don’t come again.

  • JSpencer

    So what’s on your mind Jazz???

    • kathykattenburg

      Being a vicious bully. Nothing new there.

      • JeffersonDavis

        “Being a vicious bully. Nothing new there.”I actually think that Jazz is one of the more “moderate” voices on the The Moderate Voice. There are Conservatives (Leonidas, etc), and Liberals (you, etc). Jazz usually sees the bigger picture better than either the right or the left IMHO.As fare as your article, I agree with your statement about how interesting Scozzafava’s dropping out has become. I personally was looking forward to the Conservative Party versus The Repbulican Party sparr-off. It could have had nationwide implications for a set up of a third-party run at the Whitehouse – something that has been needed for a long long time. The two party system is entrenched in corruption and both, quite frankly, suck. I would prefer parties that more slosely resemble everyone’s eccentric political believes, where a consensus/coalition would be worked out in Congress. It serves everyone a better more in my opinion.

        In reference to Washington, DC; I must quote the Joker in Batman:
        “This town needs an enema!”

    • Davebo

      So what’s on your mind Jazz???

      The comment says it all I’d say. At some point, just like a once strong defensive line on a hot Sunday exhaustion sets in and they can no longer defend. But then they can’t just walk off the field either. And this is what you end up with.

      Sorry for the football metaphor.

  • This write-up from Politico about Republican late-comers to the Hoffman endorsement party was a great read. (Link) Got several chuckles out of it. But aside from the amusing antics of transparently maneuvering politicians, there was a serious bit at the end:

    Even as their campaign encountered strong resistance from conservatives, Scozzafava allies say they were taken aback by the hemorrhaging of GOP establishment support to Hoffman.“It’s almost like we have two parties now. Is the NRCC going to be relevant in the future?” one person close to the Scozzafava campaign remarked late this week. “This is the strangest thing I have ever seen.”

    Indeed. The conservatives are giddy tonight, but the damage done to the Republican party looks pretty deep to me. It’ll be interesting to watch how the situation evolves over the coming months.

  • troosvelt_1858

    While I am not a fan of the hard right pushing out a basically moderate Republican I do think that this debate (both here and on the net in general) shows an interesting tendency in personal biases.

    I wouldn’t rate Dede as a radical leftist, but I have seen plenty of folks from the left rate relative moderates like Lieberman/Bloomberg/etc as right wingers.

    It’s all a matter of perspective in which many people assume they are the center

    That’s why I try my best to rely on relatively independent political surveys to try and give me an idea of where my own politics lie.

    • kathykattenburg

      I don’t assume I’m the center. I’m left, and proud of it! 🙂

      But I do understand what you’re saying, Patrick.

  • adelinesdad

    I agree with your general point, Kathy, but then how do you respond to the left’s recent criticism of Lieberman? I’m sure it wasn’t coordinated, but it is certainly a strange coincidence that the post before this one is discussing Lieberman’s perceived betrayal of the Democrats. In that post, Reid is quoted as saying:”I do not believe that Joe Lieberman would want to be the one person who caucuses with the Democrats … to bring this bill down. I don’t think he wants to go down in history like that,” he said, noting that he got to keep his gavel “because of the indulgence of the Democratic Caucus.”Hows that for a not-so-veiled threat?Yes, I know he is technically an Independent, but that was only because the Dems wouldn’t support him in an election (sound familiar) and he still caucuses with the Dems and the Dems still consider him one of them (for now) as Reid pointed out.Now, I’ll concede that calling Dede a “radical leftist” probably goes way too far (I admit to knowing very little about her positions, but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt), but we’re giving way too much weight to two words from one blogger. I see very little difference in the Republican shunning of moderation in their party and the Democrats doing the same.

    • SteveK

      adelinesdad, Is there a reason that you’re trying to hijack this thread from one about Dede Scozzafava to one about Joe Lieberman?

      Regarding Jazz’s comment – It sounds more like he’s “in his cups” than pretending to be a bully.

      • JeffersonDavis

        “adelinesdad, Is there a reason that you’re trying to hijack this thread from one about Dede Scozzafava to one about Joe Lieberman?”

        Translation:
        Don’t tell me what my own party is doing when I’m busy ragging on the opposition.

        Tee hee.

      • kathykattenburg

        AD’s okay, Steve. I have no problems with him. I don’t think he’s trying to hijack anything. Save your opprobrium (love that word!) for Jazz, who truly does deserve it.

      • adelinesdad

        “adelinesdad, Is there a reason that you’re trying to hijack this thread from one about Dede Scozzafava to one about Joe Lieberman?”

        The thread is about the Republican party pushing out moderates. As Kathy implied, the race itself is not that interesting; what Kathy (almost wrote “she”, sorry Kathy:)) found interesting was the Republican reaction. I won’t speak for Kathy, but it seems to me Kathy would agree with me that the thread is not so much about Dede but about the perceived exclusions of moderates in the GOP.

        While I mentioned that I agree with Kathy’s general point, I think pointing out a double-standard is relevant and is not a hijack. My comment does relate to the post as a whole, it specifically relates to the quote from Andrew:

        “What we’re seeing, I suspect, is an almost classic example of a political party becoming more ideological after its defeat at the polls.”

        When one considers examples of the Democratic party doing the same, it calls that logic into question. Therefore, I stand by my comment as relevant to the current topic.

        • kathykattenburg

          You’re fine, AD, as far as any “appropriateness” of your comment as a response to my post. However, as I indicated in my other reply to you, Joe Lieberman is not at all a good example of a “double standard” with regard to pushing moderates out of the party. For the reason I gave above, but also because Lieberman is simply not a “moderate” in relation to the rest of the Democratic party. The GOP leadership — the mainstream of the party — has become a narrowly ideological party catering to the most extreme right-wing voices in the party. Political and social positions that deviate in the slightest from the “party line” are demonized. This is something one simply cannot accurately and truthfully say about the Democratic Party.

          • adelinesdad

            I still think the situation with Lieberman and Democratic party is very similar to the situation with Scozzafava. I think a right winger (the counterpart to your self-confessed left wing position) would probably describe Scozzafava’s positions as “not moderate in relation to the rest of the [Republican] party” also, so I don’t see much difference except for perspective. I also don’t think Lieberman ever promised, either explicitly or implicitly, that he would support a public option in return for the forgiveness he received from the party, so I don’t buy your “back-stabber” argument.

          • kathykattenburg

            AD, we don’t have to guess at how a right-winger would describe Scozzafava. She’s a “radical left-winger.” That shows you the difference right there. No human being in their right mind would think Scozzafava is a “radical left-winger.” And no right-winger would describe her as “not moderate” in relation to the rest of the party. Right-wingers do not think of themselves as “moderate.” Their whole thing is that they want the party to follow the farthest right voices among them. “Moderate” is not a compliment to the Republicans who wanted Scozzafava out of the race.And it doesn’t matter that Lieberman didn’t promise specifically to support “a public option.” He committed to supporting the Democrats’ legislation on health care reform. He didn’t say, “except if it has a public option.” He didn’t say, “No health care reform at all is better than health care reform with a public option.” Furthermore, the point is moot anyway because Lieberman also opposed the Baucus bill, which did not even have a public option.

          • adelinesdad

            Again, I don’t think you can use a quote from one right-wing blogger to prove your point about the Republican party in general, just as I can’t use a quote from a left-wing blog to paint the Democrats with a broad brush. Regarding Palin, she ran for VP with McCain, someone widely regarded as a moderate. So I think it’s more accurate to say that Palin doesn’t feel that Scozzafava is in the same category as McCain (ie. “not moderate”) rather than to say that she doesn’t tolerate moderates. I don’t know enough about Scozzafava to know if Palin is right, but it seems just as plausible are your case that Leiberman is “not moderate”.

            Secondly, I find it very hard to believe that a long-time independently-minded senator like Lieberman would write a blank check to the Democratic party and agree to support their bill unconditionally before it was even written, but if you have evidence that that’s what he agreed to I’d reconsider. It’s more likely that he agreed to support the effort for health care reform in general, but in the end the bill turned out more left that he expected.

            Thirdly, I’m feeling less-than-motivated to continue arguing for what could be considered a defense of the Republican party. That’s not my intent. So, let me try to make a concession: Yes, the rhetoric on the right has been more extreme than on the left. But it seems to me it’s mostly just that: a rhetorical shift, not as much an ideological shift. In that sense, I would agree with Andrew that this is common among parties out of power, just as the far left did under Bush. The “get out of Iraq now” and “Bush lied” crowd was very loud, but when one of their own gets into power it is revealed that his actually policy decisions are more nuanced as he understands that getting out of Iraq now would be a disaster. So it remains to be seen what that means for the ideology of the Republican party. If the party nominates Palin in 2012, I’ll eat my words, but I don’t believe that will happen.

    • kathykattenburg

      Yes, I know he is technically an Independent, but that was only because the Dems wouldn’t support him in an election….

      He lost in the primary, adelinesdad. The Democratic voters of Connecticut picked Ned Lamont over him. It was his decision to then run as an independent and win by splitting the vote. I don’t understand what Democrats in Congress have to do with that.

      Hows that for a not-so-veiled threat?

      Gosh, AD, I guess I just can’t muster up any sympathy for poor old Joe. I mean, can we remember for a moment that the condition he agreed to in exchange for Harry Reid letting him keep his chair of Homeland Security even though he had campaigned for John McCain, *and* said things about Obama that were just despicable lies was that he would be loyal to the Democrats at least on alternate weekends? The whole reason for not removing him from one of the most powerful committee chairmanships in the Senate was that the Democrats needed his 60th vote on health care. He knew that. He used it to keep his committee assignment.

      This is not principled call to conscience we’re talking about here, AD. Joe Lieberman is simply not comparable to ANY other lawmaker in Congress, Democrat OR Republican, liberal OR conservative OR centrist. Lieberman is a man with absolutely no sense of loyalty and not an ounce of integrity or honesty. He’s a snake, AD. He’s a back-stabber. There is no good faith in anything he does. You just cannot compare him to Olympia Snowe or Blanche Lincoln or Ben Nelson. They’re not back-stabbers. They don’t promise something really important to get what they want in the moment and then turn back on their promise, probably never having had any intention of keeping it.

      It’s really bewildering to me why so many conservatives don’t seem to get this — given how praiseworthy they all said former Pres. Bush was for his “loyalty.”

  • It’s a clever trick to say Scozzafava was squeezed out because of her positions on abortion and marriage equality. That is, frankly, absurd. Her social views were not the main factor driving conservative opposition. Heck, I’m a conservative Republican who fully supports marriage equality. Scozzafava was opposed because of her tight relationship with the Working Families Party (and by extension ACORN), because of her pro stimulus stance, because of her willingness to raise taxes, because of her friendliness with unions and her support for card check. In short, she was opposed because of her fiscal liberalism. I’m all for a big tent Republican Party but Scozzafava is not my idea of a moderate. She’s to the left of many Democrats. Ask Kos that, he agrees.

  • daveinboca

    The latest Pew poll shows that Pro-Lifers now outnumber abortion supporters. Does that mean that in the funhouse mirror you use to make what Jazz rightly notices are off-the-wall pronouncements that the majority of those polled are “far right?”..And I find it hilarious that a Trotskyite like Frank Rich would call the GOP “Stalinists.” Coming from insane lefty Rich, he’s obviously reverting to the lizard-brain playground reflexes that rule leftist memes in general, only the Hitler meme and racist meme are now too shopworn! “Stalinist” may be the new HIlterian! Or the new “racist.”For a Narodnik like Rich to call the GOP Stalinist makes about as much sense as calling effective border measures against illegal immigration a “Berlin Wall.”Leftists who call JFK’s Commie assassin LHOswald a “right winger” might remember that the “Berlin Wall” served to keep workers INSIDE the Commie “workers’ paradise.”The US anti-immigration measures are to keep undesirables OUTSIDE the USA.Mutatis mutandis, thimblewit Rich should call the GOP “rightists,” which to the Trotskyite world view of revolutionaries like Rich are to the “right” of their own anarchic half-wit politics.

  • archangel

    hi there, going to ask all to stay on the topic. Opinions about TMV writers, any and all, stop now. thanks.dr.e

  • rudi

    [quote][quote]lnmvkhgcv[/quote][/quote]

  • DLS

    What’s overdue is intelligent querying. Why is she now endorsing a Democrat? Is it disgusting RINO behavior, Never Question Big Government (that is, is she aping Rockfeller and the worst that the Empire State Plaza as well as state government in Albany signify in her own state), it is just bitterness at losing the race (and bitterness at outside interests who interfered), or is it robotic Duopoly-adherence?

    Any and all likely answers are unflattering, if not downright disgusting.

  • DLS

    “far right”

    On this lefty site, as uttered by lefties (when they aren’t just clueless and spouting words and phrases they know nothing about, like terms of logical fallacies they routinely misuse, while committing all manner of such fallacies) —

    “far right” = anybody to the right of Barbara Boxer or the many lefties on this site

    “Bonus” distance points (to rightward) if they criticize weak or bogus Republicans

  • kathykattenburg

    The “get out of Iraq now” and “Bush lied” crowd was very loud, but when one of their own gets into power it is revealed that his actually policy decisions are more nuanced as he understands that getting out of Iraq now would be a disaster.

    Well, I agree with your argument that the party out of power moves more toward the other party’s positions when they get into power (although this did not happen with Bush — he moved us farther to the right), but I don’t necessarily accept your premise that the reason for the shift is that Obama realized getting out of Iraq now would be a disaster. I think it’s more that realities of power politics in Washington, D.C., make it very difficult to do that, and he’s picking his battles. Plus, we have a signed agreement with Iraq to be out of there completely by– whatever date it is, I forget– August 2011? So he can diddle with the interim dates, but not the final one.

    So it remains to be seen what that means for the ideology of the Republican party. If the party nominates Palin in 2012, I’ll eat my words, but I don’t believe that will happen.

    Well, from my pov, of course, I hope they do. 🙂

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