Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In It To "Win" It

An interesting dynamic is shaping up in American politics: three candidate races.
Let's start with Alaska, where incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski has defied party bosses and the results of her recent primary loss to Joe Miller (Sarah Palin's lapdog) to remain an independent candidate. Her rationale is that a mass of voters have begged her to stay in the race, but the truth is, Miller has rubbed the Teabagger noses in their Big Government bias by accepting federal farm subsidies.
Murkowski is pretty smart. And while not my idea of a moderate, given the current Talibanesque environment of the Republican party, she can be considered a moderate where the Overton Window is now fenestered.
Next, New York. Perennial punching bag Rick Lazio was defeated last week in his bid to be ritually slaughtered by Andrew Cuomo in a race to replace Governor David Patterson (who was installed by default after Eliot Spitzer was run out of town with his pants around his ankles). His opponent, former Buffalo mayor Carl "NY's Own John Edwards" Paladino, a Teabagger, is currently within striking distance after winning the nomination in polls that do not factor in Rick Lazio. Lazio, of course, has mounted a rival campaign under the Conservative Party banner, and Paladino is desperate for Lazio to give it up. Effectively, this would hand the election to Cuomo (altho Paladino would likely do that anyway. The Quinnipiac poll was taken just before the e-mail scandal...did I mention that?...broke).
And then of course, there's Florida. Three men haven't been this important to Florida since Bush was selected. Crist was defeated for the Republican nomination by Marc Rubio, and almost immediately announced an independent run for the Senate. Since then, he has run neck and neck with Rubio in general election polling (36% Rubio 34% Crist, MoE 3%), and kept the Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek from gaining any momentum.
Given the state of flux in Republican politics, I almost expect Mike Castle to "refudiate" the nomination of Christine O'Donnel in Delaware and mount an independent candidacy of his own, especially given her penchant for demanding her campaign to pay her rent, electricity, food, manicures...
By the way, I thought Teabaggers were against politics as usual? Because it sure seems that the most corrupt politicoes are the ones that Sarah "Don't Mind My Dress, My Campaign Paid For It" Palin endorses! But I digress...
You'll notice that, except for Lazio who used an already extant party for his insurgency, none of these folks has gone quietly or turned Democrat. Moderates like Crist have declined a chance to swap parties (much like Joe Lieberman did when Ned Lamont crushed him in Connecticut's primary four years ago) and have a built-in support mechanism for their rebellions.
There's an element of revenge involved, to be sure. For instance, Lazio has been screwed over so many times by the state GOP that he should start charging. First, when he ran against Hillary Clinton in 2000 for the Senate and made that horrible gaffe of nearly assaulting her publicly, the GOP stood stone cold silent in his defense. Then this year after Lazio had claimed for himself the status as front-runner for the nomination, the establishment tried to recruit Suffolk County executive Steve Levy to run in his place. 
Worse, Levy was a Democrat! Bit of a slap in the face, that. 
You can't really blame Lazio, or the others, for wanting to throw bombs.