B-Daddy is covering the NY-23 race where Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has waged a successful insurgency and which has caused the GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava to drop out of the race over the weekend. (Incidentally, anyone who is questioning the strategic or tactical wisdom of backing this particular 3rd party candidate need only know that Scozzfava promptly threw her support behind the Democrat candidate once she dropped out. Bipartisanship!)
Predictably, many are calling the NY-23 scrap as emblematic of the right-wing, our-way-or-the-highway mentality that put the GOP on the outs both in ’06 and ’08 and just as predictably, “they” are/were wrong. This had nothing to do with social issues upon which the pundits fixate or striving for perfect ideological purity but everything to do with the fiscal responsibility promised by the GOP which attracted independents and moderates but which was abandoned during the Bush years. The fact that the Democrats ran moderates and right-of-center candidates in ’06 when they swept back into power is further proof that conservatism does sell when it is actually practiced instead being paid lip service.
The attempt to paint this conservative uprising within the GOP as some sort of social conservative putsch or a Stalinist-type elimination of the apostates by the Tea Party movement could not be more off base. By the way, high-profile columnists like Frank Rich and Paul Krugman of the New York Times cannot drop their puerile fascination with the term teabag. Not that we’re questioning what they do with their free time.
To wit, of all the signage that we have seen at Tea Party events, not a single one has been related to the liberal-Left bogeyman, abortion. Further, at least two of the three leaders of the San Diego Tea Party chapter are of the (how would one say this in polite company?) spiritually non-denominational variety and one is a registered Democrat. This hardly represents the ideological purity for which the Tea Party movement supposedly exacts for membership.
The paramount theme of the Tea Party movement remains fiscal responsibility and a natural off-shoot of that is curbing governmental influence and power but you all knew that. And when it ceases to be that, we will politely see our way to the door.
The GOP establishment would do well to return to its small government roots as admonished by the Tea Partiers.
Follower update: W.C. Varones is in the house! His excellent blog can be found here.