Saturday, October 31, 2009


Pulled from the headlines of today! Apologies in advance for the political talk. I've tried to resist, but it occurred to me that if I feel strongly enough to write on any subject that I had better be willing to. And frankly, I should be looking to get my blog posts together any way I can.

As reported here, moderate Republican Dierdre Scozzafava has withdrawn from the New York House race, leaving Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman as the de-facto Republican nominee.

In some respects, this is a great day for grassroots democracy. Scozzafava (who has possibly one of the greatest last names ever)was hand-picked by the 23rd district's county chairs because she was considered the most electable candidate. There was no primary and no caucus - understandably so, given that this is an unscheduled election resulting from the previous district's Congressman, John McHugh, being named Secretary of the Army.

Scozzafava's nomination angered the party's conservative base, mainly because she is pro-choice and supports equality of marriage. Doug Hoffman saw this and beat her like a gong, garnering support from high-profile Republicans like Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, and practically everyone except Newt Gingrich and the RNC.

In my view, seeing a third party candidate topple a candidate from one of the Big Two is cause for celebration. Every now and again I think the country needs proof that you can be something other than a Democrat or Republican and still be electable, despite the examples set by Ross Perot and Ralph Nader.

On the other hand, Hoffman's defeat of Scozzafava is another degree of swing for the GOP towards the far right end of the political spectrum. Despite the attacks against her, Scozzafava was never anything other than a moderate Republican. GOP members in New York are a different breed, Republicans who have mostly ignored the Christian Coalition and the Southern Strategy, so Scozzafava's pro-choice and equality of marriage stances were well within the tolerances of the area. Her other major sin, voting to raise taxes, was done when it was a requirement to meet budgets.

But Scozzafava was also against drug law reforms, against gun control, against labor, against benefits for multilingual police officers, against reforming knockless warrants, against foreclosure protections, and for tort reform when it came to health care. Again: moderate Republican.

That Hoffman was able to drive her out of the race in New York by abusing her social conservative bona-fides is a red flag for how much power the right-hand wing of the party has these days. It's the same thing we've been seeing with Arlen Specter abandoning the party, Michael Steele becoming a hardliner, Meghan McCain's feuds with Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, and the widespread abuse of so-called RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) in general.

I consider myself a political moderate. The last thing I want to see is one of the main political parties in my country falling under the control of its most extreme members, but that seems to be exactly what's happening to the GOP. If we don't get more politicians on the right side of the aisle in the next few years that are willing to compromise for the greater good, then I expect the partisan divides in this country are going to get a lot worse before they get better.


Author's Log

Completed and submitted three one-page novel pitches solicited by a publisher. I have about a month to wait until they'll get back to me, which is the perfect amount of time for me to complete a Nanonovel.

Current Reading

Just finished two of the latest books in Black Lagoon, a full-on shoot 'em up manga series by Rei Hiroe. A definite recommendation for the shonen set.

Also, if you have an interest in good political writing, check out Senator Joe McCarthy by Richard H. Rovere. It's a biography of Senator McCarthy that was written in 1959, but is still available from Amazon. Rovere injects his own opinions into the subject almost constantly, but he still manages to give an unbiased account of McCarthy's history, and I consider the book essential reading for any political pundit you care to name.

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