Thursday, November 5

The purged moderate speaks

The Daily Beast interviews Scozzafava:
How do you characterize yourself? We live in such a label-induced society – oh that person’s a liberal and this is a conservative. If I was to say to Dede Scozzafava, so what are you? What applies, if anything?

I’m a Republican.

Defined as what?

When I look at the Republican Party of Lincoln and I look back at eight principles of being a Republican, I think I pretty much identify with each one of those principles. Whether it’s less government dependency, promoting self-sufficiency, believing in lower taxes, believing in fewer government regulations, believing in less government spending, or believing in individual liberty, individual freedom, and less government interference in the lives of people. Those are all positions that I’ve always held to, I’ve always articulated on behalf of, and those are the things I stand for. And I think those are Republican principles.

I went through an editorial board during this most recent race. And at the end, the gentleman, the lead editor just looked across the table at me and he said, “A moderate Republican? You’re a conservative Republican.” The social issues sometimes people might not agree with, but I really think I govern according to the Constitution and I live my personal life according to my faith, and I try very hard not to mix up the two.
My kind of Republican!
Is it your intention to stay in the Republican Party?

I have every intention of staying in the Republican Party. This is my party too. There are a lot of moderate people—Republicans, like me--and I’m hearing from an awful lot from them. And I think the Republican Party needs to know if they don’t have room for us and they don’t want us working with them, we’re going to find a way to work against them. I’d much prefer for us to be a bigger party and us all to work on the things that are most important, the fiscal issues, foreign policy. If you listen to my foreign-policy positions, you know I’m a Republican.

Give me an example.

Israel. I’m pro-Israel. I’m pro-defense spending. I think diplomacy is good, but diplomacy only works if it’s backed up by a strong defense. And making sure you have a strong defense budget. When I see what’s going on with Iran it’s very, very scary. I don’t think that you can–it’s hard to put a peace branch out when you’re dealing with a regime like that. I think you have to be very, very firm with a lot of these countries. So if people took the time to know who I really was, I think they would have a Republican member in Congress today.
Er, so she's somewhat to my left on economics and clearly too much of a neocon on foreign policy.

But I'd definitely choose her over the Beck-Palin axis.


  1. I'd be defending her if she didn't turn around and endorse the Democratic candidate, after receiving major support from the GOP -- including quite a bit of money. That action destroyed her credibility as a loyal Republican.

    "I’d much prefer for us to be a bigger party and us all to work on the things that are most important"

    Me too. But that doesn't mean we help elect Democrats.

  2. Oh yes it does. She put it exactly right: "the Republican Party needs to know if they don’t have room for us and they don’t want us working with them, we’re going to find a way to work against them."

    There is no cause for being loyal to people who are so unwilling to work with you that they support a third party candidate to your right.

  3. I understand her feeling angry and annoyed with those who supported the third-party candidate. And I can see why she might want to support the Democrat in order to retaliate. But as I mentioned, she received considerable support from the GOP establishment. Even Newt Gingrich went out on a limb to back her, drawing plenty of hostility from the hardline base.

    I thing she's right to feel betrayed by some in the GOP, the minority that think they get to define anyone who doesn't pass their litmus test as a RINO. But that's not the entire party. And it's still disingenuous to claim you are a loyal Republican right after you went out and supported a Democrat. How can someone say they are a good Republican if they support Democrats?

  4. When the only Republican in the race is polling dead (so there's no Republican worth supporting) and the Democrat is the least-worst option.

    Your question is like asking how I can be a loyal (big-L) Libertarian if I support a Democrat.

    Obviously Dede's situation in NY-23 was a lot more unusual than a Libertarian polling dead, but the logic is the same.

  5. If you want to argue for a big tent party, what's one of the main things that binds the big tent together? It's support for fellow Republicans of all stripes, and conversely, opposition to Democrats. If someone supports Democrats sometimes (for whatever reason), then by definition they aren't exactly a strong Republican, since the GOP is in permanent opposition to the Democratic party in the two party system. The Libertarian position is different, because it's a small minority party that is forced to throw support to a major party candidate in order to be relevant in an election.

    From what I've seen, Scozzafava was a long-time, loyal member of the GOP. But by backing the Democrat, she gave credence to the people who labeled her a RINO. She didn't have to back anyone. Support for Democratic candidates is an inherently non-GOP position -- maybe not for the unknown registered Republican, but certainly for any party officeholders or other prominent members of the party.

  6. Yes it's a non-GOP position, but the GOP was no longer in the running, and that leaves any party member free to take whichever non-GOP position most suits them.

    If Hoffman had beaten her in a primary and run with an R next to his name, then Dede throwing her support to Owens would have been disloyal. But as discussed in the interview, she agreed to support whichever candidate the Republicans ended up nominating.

    Absent a viable R candidate, she can support whomever she likes.


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