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October 31, 2009

Dede's Farewell

I feel bad for her. Not a bad person, but the wrong person for the job. She's obviously upset about this.

The question here, which Allah keeps asking, is "Does this prompt a spate of third-party conservative challengers who wind up drawing just enough support from GOP candidates to give the House to the Democrats?"

The answer: There's a good chance of that. This was the danger, and this was what Newt Gingrinch was worried about.

As Allah also pointed out, there are two conflicting camps here: The Rush Limbaugh camp, which recognizes this danger and doesn't seek to encourage it -- not enough to harm our chances, anyway -- and the Glenn Beck camp, which seems to, at least rhetorically, call for near-complete purity, or else, the thinking goes, there is no difference between Republican and Democratic candidate, and we might as well drive Republicans to defeat until they "listen."

I hope the Limbaugh view prevails. Limbaugh will, I am pretty sure, not publicize detrimental third-party spoiler challengers, and will seek, more often than not, to urge his listeners to vote for the candidate who can actually win or who was fairly victorious in a primary. And much of the conservative blogosphere will also take this view, and not push spoiler candidates, or no-chance-to-win-but-only-to-take-away-15%-of-the-vote candidates, and support instead duly-nominated Republican opponents.

That camp will seek to limit this sort of thing, to the extent they (by which I mean "we") can.

What made Hoffman the right choice here? 1, Dede Scozzafava was not merely a wobbly Republican, she was a not-very-wobbly-at-all Democrat; 2, there had been no primary, no true testing of the caucus' wishes, and the whole deal seemed like a directed-from-above decision, almost a sham, and a tactically-poor one at that, 3, Hoffman could actually win, even from the outset; he seemed viable, if unlikely; and 4, because Scozzafava was so out of sync with mainstream Republicans (and obviously conservatives) this really was a case of "it doesn't matter if the Democrat or Republican wins." In this case, it really was the case that the Democrat was arguably more conservative than the Republican. (Indeed, Markos made this very case, before un-endorsing the more-"progressive" candidate Scozzafava.)

But if Glenn Beck is serious and not merely engaging in bluffing rhetoric, he really does believe that the only way to get back to a "Constitutionalist Majority" is to have a series of punishing losses, and full Democratic control of the government, for 5, 10, 15, maybe 20 years or so, unless the GOP "learns its lesson."

The trouble with that is this: There is hardly any guarantee whatsoever that this very-purified new party will be able to win elections and have any power, either. It is a fact that conservatives sometimes like to dismiss, but a good 40% of the country is liberal (I know they don't call themselves that; but many people who claim to be "moderate" are in fact liberal -- you know that from reporters telling you so, and the thousand liberals you've encountered online purporting to be "moderate") and another 20% is not politically principled and simply votes for whatever guy seem to be offering the most stuff at any time.

The other 40%? Conservative, yes. In this landscape, it is doubtful that true, absolute conservatives could win many elections. Some here and there. But how many? Not nearly a working majority, I don't think.

Hey-- ask all those midwest and mountain state conservatives if they want to give up farm subsidies in the interest of True Conservatism. Answer: No, they most emphatically do not, even if they agree with your statement of True Conservatism in principle. They would immediately lose their seats if they voted this way; which means, well, more votes for liberal Supreme Court justices.

I don't know if Beck is bluffing in order to drive the party to the right. If he is, that's not a bad exercise; Kos and his nutroots did that to the Democratic Party in 2004-2006, and that worked out all right for them.

But if he really does mean it? If it's not just rhetoric? If he really would rather see the more conservative party lose, and the more liberal party win, for a generation because the more conservative party still isn't conservative enough?

That would be bad, and I'm not sure what would happen. Beck could provide his slate of protest candidates with enough free media to get money and then get 20% of the vote... which would be doomsday for conservatism, at least before this 20 year project comes to fruition.

I hope that's not where we're heading.

I really hope Rush Limbaugh's jaded pragmatism wins out over Glenn Beck's revolutionary idealism.

That word "idealistic." I have never really understood why people believe that to be a positive thing, or call themselves that as if it's a compliment. I've always thought it was a cop-out.


From American Power, with text of her suspension letter.

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posted by Ace at 05:05 PM

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