by Dennis Sanders
Politico is running a story about how some groups on the hard right are upset at National Republican Committee for supporting New York Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who is running to fill the seat vacated by John McHugh. They see Scozzafava as a “liberal,” a “radical” who happens to have an “R” after her name.
Here are a few exerpts from the article:
At a private Washington luncheon attended by activists last week, frustrations spilled over, and several attendees demanded to know why NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas, who was the featured speaker, was supporting Scozzafava over the more conservative Hoffman. After Sessions conceded that Scozzafava’s record on gay marriage and abortion fell short of where those at the lunch wanted it to be, he sought to defend her record on taxes.
At that point, according to two sources who were present, the Texas congressman came under forceful pushback from several conservative leaders who insisted Scozzafava fell far short in that area as well.“I was flabbergasted that he could come into a meeting of conservatives and be as defiant as he was,” said one person who was at the Free Congress Foundation’s Paul Weyrich lunch meeting, adding that the Texas congressman “stuck a finger in our eye.”
And there’s more…
Club for Growth Executive Director David Keating, whose deep-pocketed organization is already flooding New York’s North Country with ads targeting Scozzafava, slammed her as a “flaming liberal” whose politics are to the left of many House Democrats.
“The Republican Party bosses in New York state are not in touch with the Republican primary voting electorate,” said Keating. “She would never win a primary there, if there was one.”As referenced by Keating, part of the frustration over Scozzafava is the way she claimed the GOP nomination in July — not through the standard primary election process but, rather, on the third vote taken by the 11 Republican county chairmen within the 23rd Congressional District.
Local Republicans tapped Scozzafava as the nominee in July because they believed her centrist views would appeal to a coalition of centrist Republicans, independents and Democrats in a moderate-minded district that Barack Obama won with 52 percent of the vote in 2008. The national party supports her for the same reason: her perceived electability.
This is a case where the wingnuts are…well acting like wingnuts and the national party is acting more pragmatic. The hard right is not concerned about winning as much as they are about being heard, even if it means handing the seat to a Democrat.
As I’ve said before, if one were to look at Scozzafava’s record, one would see that she is not a flaming liberal. But then to those on the hard right, anyone to left of a Ghengis Khan is a commie.
I think that those who believe in a politically diverse party should consider donating to Dede’s campaign. Let’s not let the crazies torpedo another good Republican.
Dennis Sanders is a pastor living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has worked on centrist Republican issues for years, including stints as President of the Minnesota chapter of Log Cabin Republicans (a gay/lesbian advocacy group) and Republicans for Environmental Protection. Dennis blogs at NeoMugwump and happily lives with his partner Daniel and serves two cats, Morris and Felix.