There's an item of interest in the news for those like me who have long wanted to see a viable third-party candidate run for office. In New York's 23rd district Doug Hoffman is facing off in a close race against Republican Dede Scozzafava (along with Democrat candidate Bill Owens) in a special election.
Normally that would probably be of little concern to Shaving Leviathan readers, but there are a few wrinkles in this case. To borrow a phrase from the mighty Mark Steyn, the Republican Party-anointed candidate isn't merely a RINO but a DIABLO (Democrat In All But Label Only).
She's ACORN friendly (her husband is a labor organizer) and drew support from the local Working Family Party, another Progressive organization. She supports card check and favors raising taxes over cutting spending, as demonstrated by her votes in the NY State Assembly.
Hoffman – while far from perfect, like conservative politicians in general – appears to be the only genuine sample in the race. He favors cutting spending before raising taxes, opposed the Stimulunacy Bill(s), opposes Cap and Kill, and generally wants to rein in the Feds.
That might normally be of only local interest; the House is already filled with statists of every persuasion, what's one more?
In this instance, Ms. Scozzafava exceeds even that loathsome norm. In a routine interview with Weekly Standard blogger John McCormack, the Republican candidate felt so intimidated by his questions she decided to call the police. Was his behavior threatening in any way? The police don't seem think so after routine questioning. McCormack was sitting in his car arranging to file his story when they approached.
Bad enough that the Republican Party would sponsor a candidate who has embraced so many Democrat positions. But, then, that's not exactly unprecedented. That Ms. Scozzafava would even think of using the police — after the interview was over — to harass a member of the press is really beyond the pale.
The only honorable thing to do would be to leave the race, if not politics all together. She can take time to think about her desired party affiliation before the general election next year. In the meantime, Doug Hoffman could be piling some sandbags in the way of the Leviathan wave. (Assuming he beat the Democrat, of course, likely since Republicans have taken that district consistently since 1874.)
Even if Mr. Hoffman doesn't win he'll have performed a valuable service, one pointed out in a wise statement I read recently. The purpose of third parties (an article discussing the Perot campaign said) isn't necessarily to win elections but to shake up the status quo and deliver a message.
It would be preferable to accomplish both, of course. If that's not feasible one thing is clear by now, though. It's time to stop supporting the Republican Party until or unless they support their supporters. I.e. they have to stop compromising and me-tooing the Democrats. They have to offer better candidates than creatures like Dede Scozzafava.
Even from a purely pragmatic perspective - even if one considers only the goal of winning – the Party leaders' actions make no sense. Republicans have lost elections at every level in attempting to water down their views (assuming they have any to begin with) in order to peel off moderate, Independent, or Democratic votes.
Whenever given the choice between socialism and socialism-lite the voters tend to take the real thing. I don't interpret that as their advocating socialism but simply respecting integrity and valuing consistency and honesty.
What's the point of having a Republican party at all if it's just a pale reflection of the Democrats? The only time that would be useful is if both parties stood staunchly for Madisonian principles. Then the choice would be simply which candidate could best realize those in action. Sadly, that's not the case today. The Democrats passed the point of no return around the time of the McGovern candidacy.
Loathsome as the current political leaders in D.C. are, there's a certain clarity their ascension has created that has spurred the Tea Party movement and related developments. All the RINOs accomplish is to water down - ultimately to the point of uselessness - any purpose the Republican party might still have. Republicans should stop trying to be the equivalent of homeopathic medicine and offer the real thing. They'll quickly find it's not really a bitter pill to swallow.