Stray thoughts on the NY-23 race


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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46 Responses

  1. Freddie says:

    What is objectionable is that conservatives make a fetish of “Getting Washington off of our backs,” except when Washington goes paternalistic with a candidate deemed to liberal for the Republican establishment. All of the GOPs talk about local issues, about federalism, about respecting the rights of people in a particular area and letting them lead their own lives– all of it has been revealed to be empty posturing by this fiasco. This is the absolute definition of big politics, played by people who say they don’t play them.Report

    • Will in reply to Freddie says:

      Oh come on. There’s a clear distinction between dictating policy to state and local governments and a national conservation among competing factions of a party that is supposed to represent a coherent ideological worldview.Report

      • Freddie in reply to Will says:

        I think you are uninformed about a lot of the backstory, and in particular just how much the national Republican establishment meddled with and controlled this campaign, at the cost of the actual local control that conservatives claim to love.Report

          • Ryan in reply to Art Deco says:

            “Oh shut up.”

            Classy. I gave it a night to cool off, but I return to see this place still isn’t fun – and you’ve picked up yet another right-wing drone. Blech. Out of my Reader you go. Adios.Report

            • Art Deco in reply to Ryan says:

              I live in the district and have some experience (a good while back) with door-to-door canvassing, including some in St. Lawrence County. I do not tolerate condescension from Freddie on this matter. If it bothers you, tough.Report

              • Dave in reply to Art Deco says:


                I live in the district and have some experience (a good while back) with door-to-door canvassing, including some in St. Lawrence County

                Which motivated you to tell Freddie to shut up why? You’ve basically conceded that your experience is meaningless.

                I do not tolerate condescension from Freddie on this matter.

                Ohhhh so THAT’s the reason. I just see it as a strong opinion from someone who doesn’t share your point of view. Now, he may not have explained WHY Will was uninformed but that hardly means he’s being condenscending.

                If it bothers you, tough.

                As we do try, albeit imperfectly, for civil discourse, we’d rather disagreements go hat-in-hand with discourse and discussion. Telling someone to shut up contributes nothing to the discussion. Maybe it satisfies your tough guy sensibilities but I have this sensitivity about being the lone insufferable prick in these parts so when I see your sort of immature prick stinking up the place, it tends to get my dander up and I can’t just sit here and do nothing.

                In all seriousness, we have a commenting policy that we expect people to follow. “Shut up”, aside from being a brain-dead response to a comment, violates our policy. I’d familiarize yourself with it if you don’t want another encounter like this with me.


                If it bothers you…well…what was it you said? Oh….tough.

                I hope we understand each other and you don’t feel the need to continue this discussion any further (meaning don’t hit “reply”). Now go play nice like the rest of our gentlemenly community.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Dave says:

                I just see it as a strong opinion from someone who doesn’t share your point of view.

                No, it was an instruction to others to be better informed by an individual who was stating a view that was ill-informed.

                As we do try, albeit imperfectly, for civil discourse, we’d rather disagreements go hat-in-hand with discourse and discussion. Telling someone to shut up contributes nothing to the discussion.

                I contribute to civil discussions here and at other loci as well. It was my purpose to offer a rebuke, not to be civil. If Mr. deBoer would like an apology, he can have one. If you wish to ban me, get on with it.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Ryan says:

              “right-wing drone”

              The inclination to dismiss one’s opponents as members of a collective is not just for right-wing drones anymore, I see.Report

    • cfpete in reply to Freddie says:

      Wasn’t Scozzafava the candidate of the Republican establishment?Report

      • Freddie in reply to cfpete says:

        Scozzafava was the candidate of the local Republican committee. She was chased out of the race by national Republicans and the conservative machine, exactly as Newt Gingrinch described.Report

        • Art Deco in reply to Freddie says:

          She was selected by a weighted vote of ten county chairmen in the district per the election law in an exercise of insider gamesmanship and with indifference to local sentiments. That is the backstory. Her candidacy imploded because she was not salable to a larger public, not by the local hacks, not by the state party kingpins and not by the National Republican Congressional Committee. Sarah Palin and Fred Thomspon have not Jedi mind tricked the local electorate.Report

        • Freddie in reply to Freddie says:

          “Only $12,360 of the $265,341 he’s raised came from potential constituents. Hoffman collected money from donors in 35 states. Of the total 146 donors, only 22 were actually from within the district he hopes to represent. The campaign’s biggest backer is the Washington-based Club for Growth, accounting for more than one-third of all fundraising ($83,260).”Report

  2. sidereal says:

    The general principle of electing conservative candidates in conservative districts strikes me as pretty unobjectionable.

    I think this is an unfortunate consequence of the excessive focus on a single axis of political perspective. The right/left dichotomy is a convenient shorthand that clarifies a lot of conversations that would otherwise get bogged down in minute exceptions, but it’s still a shorthand. And when the shorthand has become the critical (and often: only) determiner of representation, you’ve essentially stripped away voters’ ability to make political decisions. The residents of NY-23 are presumably a varied lot with diverse interests and concerns, but we’ve all collectively decided that the only concern that matters is whether their median voter could be considered more ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ than any particular politician. And if they decide to check the ‘conservative’ box, well that’s all we need to know about them, all their representatives need to know about them, and all they need to know about their representatives.Report

  3. I’m still making up my mind about this fiasco, but for the most part I’m with sidereal on this one. True, NY-23 is a lot closer to the GOP movement conservative base than most other districts in NY, and true, it’s demographically quite similar to the GOP base, but for the most part “conservatives” in that area have their share of differences from mainstream movement conservatism. Take a look at the types of Republicans that they tend to elect and nominate in that region – McHugh himself was a pretty far cry from Newt Gingrich, much less Michelle Bachmann. Along those same lines, Sherwood Boehlert, who represented the neighboring district for decades, usually with only token opposition, was a favorite target of the movement Right as a leading RINO but was also hugely popular. (Full disclosure: I volunteered on one of Boehlert’s campaigns in college). His key areas of disagreement with the movement Right were on the same areas as Scozzafava’s disagreements (he was a particular favorite of the IAFF, for example).

    You could go on to say relatively similar things about other rather successful upstate New York GOP Congressmen such as Jim Walsh and Jack Quinn. True, NY-23 is more rural than even Boehlert’s district (which at least included Utica), much less Walsh’s (Syracuse area) and Quinn’s (Buffalo area), but still, it’s wrong to assume that the average Republican in NY-23 is closer to Bachmann than Boehlert.Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      Mr. Boehlert was nearly blown out office in a primary election in 2000 by a schoolteacher named David Vickers, who was scarcely known outside the district that employed him. That particular school district has about 6,000 residents; New York’s congressional districts have about 650,000 residents. Mr. Boehlert was not ‘hugely popular’. William Proxmire, who could win re-election with campaign expenditures in the neighborhood of $350, was popular. Mr. Boehlert’s career was a tribute to inertia and popular demobilization.Report

  4. Steve (Bucks County, PA) says:

    Scozzafava was running a failed campaign. Why the Republicans in NY nominated a more liberal than moderate Democrat in a conservative district, I’ll never know. But the Republicans need to nominate whomever to stop Obama’s econonomic agenda, whether it be health care or especially cap and trade, or unioncheck card. So I am happy with Hoffman.Report

  5. Art Deco says:

    Doug Hoffman, who seems embarassingly clueless about issues that actually matter to his constituents.

    There are 25 to 30 major areas of federal policy; there is a limit to the degree to which a person of a given occupational background can master them. None of the three candidates running had much time to prepare as it is a special elections; none are engineers, and neither is Rod Dreher (his is, in fact, a professional complainer). Mr. Hoffman is an accountant and business consultant; his particular motivating concerns are not necessarily going to concern transportation infrastructure.Report

  6. Jivatman says:

    Economic issues are dominant in this election cycle and will only become more-so as the economy gets worse. Hoffman didn’t get elected because of his stance on abortion and gay marriage. He got elected because of widespread anger regarding Wall Street bailouts and other pieces of legislation the Dede supported. I posit that if she had been a true fiscal conservative this situation wouldn’t have happened.

    Insurgent candidate Rand Paul in Kentucky has the upper hand in what was originally considered a long shot, because despite his libertarian views on social issues, but because he is one of only a few politicians who are able to make a logical and credible defense of economic liberty, especially to young people.Report

    • mw in reply to Jivatman says:

      Bingo. “It’s the spending stupid”.

      Interesting that both the hard left and hard right want to make this out to be a conservative revolution seizing control of the GOP. That meme misses the real message of NY-23. I think this vote is a lot more about moderate voters revolted by the fiscal insanity of this administration and congress. The swing voters are fiscal conservatives who prioritize fiscal responsibility over social issues. They’ll hold their nose and vote with right wingnuts to get a sure vote in opposition to Obama’s big spending, big deficit, big government policies. Just like they held their nose in 2008 and made common cause with the left moonbats in revulsion over intrusive big government Bush policies. Even if the voters overall views are closer to a moderate like Owens, it is too much of a risk getting just another partisan rubber stamp on Obama/Pelosi spending.

      Yeah NY-23 is a conservative district. But it went for Obama in 2008 by 52% – 47% – virtually identical to Obama’s popular vote nationwide. How many other NY-23’s are out there?Report

  7. Rand Paul is for the people, unless you want more bailouts, more tax increases, a former democrat as the republican nominee for Senate and the same old establishment politics. Support Rand Paul he speaks the truth and the media and government is afraid of him. This is the last honest politician left to bring this country out of this rut from the war profiteers and Obama administration has created. Get motivated America, don’t believe the lies of the media! Go Rand Paul! Value freedom and liberty instead of corporate lies and corruption. Tell your family and friends and get involved in the official Rand Paul 2010 campaign and make your voice heard! He will do everything he can to eliminate the IRS and wasteful government spending, and expose the Federal Reserve and restore power to the people. Can any other runner make these claims or give Americans the true freedom we were all raised to believe? We are all economic slaves to the banks and the illegal Federal Reserve. This is why our currency is worth nothing because of hidden inflation tax and the IRS taking everything you make!


    Rand Paul will NEVER vote:

    * to raise taxes
    * for an unbalanced budget
    * to raise congressional pay
    * for a federal restriction on gun ownership
    * to increase the power of the executive branch

    He WILL vote:

    * against bailouts for failing banks
    * against higher taxes
    * against regulating the internet
    * against bills that violate our civil liberties
    * against pork spending
    * for term limits

    Video Rand Paul Goes Head to Head With the Establishment at Fancy Farm
    High: Must See:

    He will eliminate the IRS, wasteful government spending & bailouts! Most importantly, he will vote NO on anything in Congress that is not allowed by the U.S.. Constitution. And he despises any politician that does not do their job for the people and does not live up to our Constitution! & Search: “Rand Paul” Kentucky needs a real Senator that will restore and protect Americans! No tax increases! No bailouts! No earmarks! Protect America’s borders!

    ****SUPPORT RAND PAUL 2010****Report

    • Jaybird in reply to algernon lalitha says:

      Could you explain what the hell happened with New Hampshire in 2008?

      He got a ton of money and the campaign commercial showed white people walking into office buildings talking about how glad they were to google Ron Paul. What the hell?

      3rd Place was achievable… with a campaign putting out messages that actually, you know, said something.

      What the hell happened?Report

      • Jivatman in reply to Jaybird says:


        He’s talking about Rand Paul, not Ron Paul. I totally agree the Ron Paul campaign was mess finance and organization-wise, mostly because we didn’t have any professional backing. It would have been better to just show clips of Ron Paul’s speeches on T.V. Oh well.

        Hopefully the Rand Paul campaign should be able to do a decent job for his 2010 senate. And as I said right now he really does have the upper hand in the primary race.

        For 2012 presidential, Gary Johnson is the best choice though.

        Try not to do such a blatant advertisement. Be concise and if you must mention him, relate it to the article.Report

  8. Scott says:

    Dede Scozzafava endorsement for of the Dem candidate just proves she is a RINO. I say good riddance.Report

    • Bo in reply to Scott says:

      Damn straight. Despite the GOP’s best efforts, there’s still way too many Republicans in this fair land of ours. So, if you guys would kick out another 10% or so of them, we’d much appreciate it. — Thanks, Democratic PartyReport

      • Scott in reply to Bo says:

        Since when does a real party member endorse the opposition?Report

        • Bo in reply to Scott says:

          Well, Hoffman, for those who missed it, was not the Republican candidate, and thus also the GOP’s opposition. So, following your logic here, every Republican who endorsed Hoffman over Scozzafava was also a RINO. Or you could be indulging in just a wee bit of No True Scotsman-ism here.Report

          • Scott in reply to Bo says:

            Since when are republicans endorsed by Daily Kos? How can you be a Repub and be more liberal than the Dem candidate?Report

            • Bo in reply to Scott says:

              Sounds like the kind of excuse a RINO would make. What part of ‘real Republicans don’t endorse the opposition’ are you failing to understand here?Report

              • adolphus in reply to Bo says:

                You know that’s that part I don’t get. The conservative Republicans who endorsed Hoffman (not a Republican) over Scozzafava (a Republican) can claim to be REAL REPUBLICANS, but when Scozzafava endorsed a Democrat (who currently holds a slight lead in a district that hasn’t gone D in 100 years) she is a RINO. If this race does end up going to Owens (D) you can thank Hoffman and the Conservatives for losing the Republican Caucus a vote.

                Who is the loyal Republican here? I am confused.Report

    • Katherine in reply to Scott says:

      The Dems said the same about Lieberman and I agreed with them, and recent events have certainly proven them right, so okay. It didn’t work out for the Right in NY-23, but there’s no guarantee Scozzafava would have done better given that she apparently voted for the bailout. I expect whether someone supported that is a bigger issue for most conservatives than gay marriage is at this point.Report

  9. adolphus says:

    And now I read that Hoffman has conceded to Owens!

    Since they conspired to lose a Republican vote to a democrat in the name of ideological purity, can we start calling Palin, Armey, et al RINO’s yet?Report

  10. xaxar says:

    Seriously, quit eating the junk that the media spoon feeds you. This seat has been held by eight republicans and FOURTEEN democrats in the last 100 years, most recently in 1993.

    Check it out for yourself on wikipedia.

    • Mark Thompson in reply to xaxar says:

      Uhh….when we talk about “that seat,” we’re talking about the seat that covers that particular region of New York, not the seat that is labeled “23” after a given census results in redistricting. Before 1983, that seat was the $#&*$# Bronx! From 1983-1993, the seat that was labeled “23” covered the Albany area, which is a very, very different area of the state from Watertown. From 1993-2003, the 23rd District was the Utica area, which, while culturally fairly similar to the North Country, is still not the North Country.Report