Sunday, November 1

Lessons from NY-23

Sanity from the right:
For the better part of today, I have been reading reactions among the right to the news of Dede Scozzafava's withdrawl from the NY-23 race. Probably the most oft repeated commentary I have seen is that the developments of this race once again prove that, "moderate Republicans rarely succeed, and true conservatism wins every time".

Scozzafava dropping out is indeed a great thing for the conservative movement. It represents a victory for the grassroots activists on the ground over a disconnected and out of touch Republican establishment. But the analysis that says this proves "conservatism wins every time" is woefully misplaced, extremely lazy, and not at all grounded in reality.

This notion is an extension of rhetoric that has been used by Rush Limbaugh for years. It has gained popularity as the "true conservative" (whatever that means) base has grown frustrated with what it sees as "squishy moderates" losing in national elections. We heard it endlessly following John McCain's defeat in 2008, and had heard it previously when Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton in 1996.

But the reality is very different. This increasingly popular notion is simply false, and lets take a look at why.


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