Friday, September 24, 2010

Déjà Vu All Over Again

From the YGTBFKM file:

Doug Hoffman Determined to Keep NY-23 in Democratic Hands

Doug Hoffman announced this afternoon that he will again remain in the NY-23 race on the Conservative Party line, reducing the GOP’s chances of winning back a seat they held for about a century before losing it in a special election last year to the Democrats.

“Over the past few days I have thought long and hard about the next six weeks,” Hoffman said in a statement released by his campaign.

“I have spoken with family, friends, supporters and staff as I have weighed my next step. So today, with new resolve and a strong commitment to conservative principles, I rededicate myself to this race and announce that I will actively campaign for Congress as the nominee of the Conservative Party.”

“Understand, I do not continue this race out of spite or because of self-conceived virtues. I continue in this race because of the failings of my opponents to be truthful with the voters.

“Whether we look a Mr. Owens’ support of Obamacare or Mr. Doheny claim to be pro-life when in fact he supports abortion through the first trimester, we see two candidates who will do or say anything to get a vote elected.”

This comes as no surprise, since Hoffman said prior to the GOP primary that he would keep his pledge to state Conservative Chairman Mike Long regardless of the outcome last Tuesday.

Hoffman ended up losing a close election to fellow Republican Matt Doheny, who, along with Hoffman, lost out on the GOP nod in the special election when county leaders decided to support moderate Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava.

Hoffman noted that he won more than 69,500 votes running on the Conservative Party line last fall, and also pointed out that it’s too late to get his name removed from the ballot (unless, of course, he dies, moves out of state or is nominated for a state Supreme Court judgeship).

In addition, Hoffman said Doheny did not have an “easy victory” on Sept. 14, adding: “He outspent my campaign by a 12-1 margin and had the backing of all 11 of the GOP bosses and yet only out-polled me by a few hundred votes.”

That may be, but as Democrats are stressing the upcoming midterms and hoping to block the GOP effort to win the 39 seats to flip control of the House, NY-23 is looking a lot less like a Republican pick-up.

Now, can we count on kamikaze pilots, Palin and DeMint, and their Kool-Aid drinking disciples, to be intellectually consistent and publicly chastise Hoffman for once again sabotaging a Republican's otherwise excellent opportunity?

Or, do they gleefully bask in the warmth of the schadenfreude glow of their fellow Tea Party purists, as they proceed to purge the GOP of its pragmatic pachyderms; those who committed the heinous crime of correctly comprehending that politics is the art of compromise -- Castle, Murkowski, Crist, Inglis, Specter, Bennett and, sadly, soon-to-be Snowe?

It doesn't matter if we're talking about upstate New York, Delaware, Alaska or Florida -- the onus falls squarely on the state to legally preclude the option of pursuing third-party, write-in, and independent candidacies after having formally committed to compete for a specific party's nomination.

When Americans legally protect their foreign-earned assets in tax havens like the Caymans, they are not committing tax evasion.

And no differently than when dealing with election law, the burden is clearly on legislators to close that loophole.

Perhaps this increasingly-common practice in politics, that is quickly rendering the present primary process a farce, would lose its raison d'être if states were to follow in the footsteps of Washington State, and now California, and elimate party primaries in non-presidential elections; instead having a primary round in which all candidates compete with one another in a single election open to all voters, regardless of party registration. Candidates could either align with a party or appear on the ballot with no affiliation. The two candidates with the highest vote totals in the primary advance to the general; and write-in ballots are disqualified and discarded. 

Such a system provides the double benefit of dramatically improving the chances of a state's electorate being faced with the dilemma of selecting between two well-qualified candidates capable of attracting support across party lines; and equally important, serves the purpose of summarily rejecting right-wing radicals like Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, and Joe Miller, who would struggle to survive beyond the comfortable confines of closed Republican primaries.

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