Reporting from Washington - Silvan Johnson adores Sarah Palin, belongs to a conservative discussion group and fumes at President Obama's spending policies. But when it comes to picking a new congressional representative for her upstate New York district, she is in no mood to help the Republican Party.
In fact, Johnson and many other conservatives want to use a Nov. 3 special election to teach the GOP a lesson about sticking to conservative values -- even though that lesson could mean the party loses a House seat it has held for decades. The conservatives are backing a third-party candidate, splitting the Republican vote and giving the Democrat a lead in some recent opinion polls.
"Both parties seem to be more for big government," said Johnson, a probation clerk in Fulton, N.Y. "The Republicans need to learn that the people they are running [for office] do not represent the views of the people."
Clueless Silvan Johnson might want to consider these words of Newt Gingrich:
"We have to decide which business we are in," Gingrich said on his website after conservatives derided his endorsement of[Republican party candidate in NY's 23rd Dede] Scozzafava. "If we are in the business of feeling good about ourselves while our country gets crushed, then I probably made the wrong decision."
The independent candidate, Doug Hoffman, is a rock-ribbed conservative. Lest you think New York as a blue state, it is based on overall population (meaning we have a lot of urban areas here) but swaths of the state make Alabama look progressive and modern, in political outlook.
This election is to fill the seat vacated by Army Secretary John M. McHugh. The last Democrat to win and hold the seat, Peter Peyser, won in 1980. Obama captured 52% of the vote in 2008, with third party candidates drawing an anomalous 2% of the vote. Clearly, some anger at Republicans exists.
While the district is Republican, it tends to elect moderates like McHugh and Sherwood Boehlert. This is what makes Hoffman's entrance into the race, as well as the bizarre divide of the Republican zodiac, so intriguing.
Scozzafava is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, which has angered an awful lot of the more strident factions in the Republican party, and has Sarah Palin, among others on the list of Fucking Republican Loons, hitching her horse up to pull this wagon.
Sarah Palin, who's about as risk averse as the man wearing a belt and suspenders, is risking a lot to back an insurgency. The party machine in the district hand-picked Scozzafava over Hoffman and others. This cannot be viewed with anything but concern back at RNC HQ.
Should Hoffman win, Palin can count coup and run as an outsider in 2012 despite having burrowed her way deeply into the pile of piglets sucking at National's teat.
Should she lose, it could conceivably mean the end of her fairly sturdy Presidential nomination hopes.
Hoffman has been drawing large sums of money from outside of New York state and is currently out-raising Scozzafava.
But not the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens.
The polling in the district is all over the map: conservative polls tend to push Hoffman, liberal polls tend to push Owens and Siena College polls indicate a whipsaw race, with both Owens and Scozzafava grabbing leads. The most recent and most unreliable poll, taken Oct. 25 and published by the archconservative, Randian Club For Growth, shows Hoffman with a small lead, but I have no doubt this is incorrect, if only for degree not result.
I'll say this much: this race is making the Republican nominating process suddenly relevant again. Not because Barack Obama can lose the 2012 election, but because we may be witnessing an historic event.
The complete collapse of a major political party under the weight of its own wrong-headed, heartless ideology. It has been said you can't be too vicious to be a Republican, but it's starting to look like you can!