Sunday, November 01, 2009

A purge surge in upstate NY

Frank Rich looks at NY23 and sees the funeral barge steaming into town for the GOP. He makes a good point on how bogus Hoffman's creds really are.
Last week it turned out that Hoffman’s prime attribute to the radical right — as a take-no-prisoners fiscal conservative — was bogus. In fact he’s on the finance committee of a hospital that happily helped itself to a $479,000 federal earmark. Then again, without the federal government largess that the tea party crowd so deplores, New York’s 23rd would be a Siberia of joblessness. The biggest local employer is the pork-dependent military base, Fort Drum.
That, of course, is the underlying irony of the tea party movement. Its biggest boosters are the same people who benefit the most from the government's largess, although they can't seem to see it because they don't get a check in the mail addressed to them personally. If they succeed, they screw themselves. Which is fine with me. Why should we do the work if they're willing to self-destruct? Rich outlines the problem for the GOP leadership.
The right’s embrace of Hoffman is a double-barreled suicide for the G.O.P. On Saturday, the battered Scozzafava suspended her campaign, further scrambling the race. It’s still conceivable that the Democratic candidate could capture a seat the Republicans should own. But it’s even better for Democrats if Hoffman wins. Punch-drunk with this triumph, the right will redouble its support of primary challengers to 2010 G.O.P. candidates they regard as impure. That’s bad news for even a Republican as conservative as Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose primary opponent in the Texas governor’s race, the incumbent Rick Perry, floated the possibility of secession at a teabagger rally in April and hastily endorsed Hoffman on Thursday.
Though they would never admit it, I suspect the DNC is secretly rooting for Hoffman. Their official statement feels a bit like subtle encouragement to the purgers to me.
What this says — emphatically — is that the true leaders of the Republican Party like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Tim Pawlenty have said to all moderates and independents — when it comes to being part of our party you need not apply. The only acceptable Republicans these days are those who subscribe to division, obstruction and a rigid far right wing ideology.
Meanwhile, the GOP leadership is trying to put on a brave face about it and stands ready to welcome Hoffman into the fold. As if they have a choice. For myself, I admit I hope he wins. The outcome won't change the dynamic of the Congress, but it would energize the Palin-Beck faction into even more extreme demands for ideological purity. Let the purge surge is my motto. By 2012 they will have shrunk their tent until it's small enough to drown in the proverbial bathtub.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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