the right wins (for the moment) in new york 23
The conservative wing, or torso, of the Republican Party seems to have won out as moderate Dede Scozzafava--an Italian name which appears to mean "shuffle the beans"--has dropped out of the congressional race in NY23 in favor of conservative Doug Hoffman. For anyone who's not a political junkie, Scozzafava is (or was) the party-endorsed candidate until a huge national campaign was launched on Hoffman's behalf by conservative activists, talk show hosts, and (of late) Republican politicians, notably Sarah Palin, causing her to suspend campaigning this weekend. The election now seems to be between Hoffman and Democrat Bill Owens, although the whole thing will probably be replayed next year.
As a moderate Republican myself, I probably should feel bad about Scozzafava dropping out, and indeed--as Newt Gingrich and others have pointed out--second-guessing local party officials is not usually the best way to win elections. That said I find entertaining, to say the least, the laments of liberals like Frank Rich complaining that Republican "Stalinists" (there's a thought) are committing political suicide by helping candidates who share their political views rather than those who don't. There is, for the record, nothing wrong with people outside a district supporting candidates of their choice: Democrats do it all the time, most notably in Connecticut, and indeed entire websites exist for the purpose of helping "progressive" candidates with external funds. Nor was Scozzafava merely a libertarian: she appears to have supported the stimulus package and (according to some reports) "card check" legislation as well as abortion, gay rights, and so forth.
What is particularly interesting is that Democrats should be so solicitous of Republican fortunes. The real fear, of course, is not that conservative Republicans will lose, but that they will win, denying Democrats the ability to claim "bipartisan" support for what are pretty clearly partisan, liberal policies. Indeed, while Scozzafava looked a sure loser, Hoffman has lately been surging in the district: what will Democrats say if he wins?
Note: Scozzafava endorsed the Democrat (Owens) today, which should make everyone believe whatever they previously believed even more strongly.