Is Gingrich the Last Republican Supporting Scozzafava?
There are three candidates running in the special election to fill the vacant NY-23 congressional seat. There is a liberal Democrat named Bill Owens, a very liberal Republican named Dede Scozzafava, and a fairly conservative Republican running under the banner of the Conservative party named Doug Hoffman.
The Republican establishment in DC quickly and without any real consideration endorsed Scozzafava because she was the nominee put forth by the local party bosses. However, based on her liberal voting record and positions, the Conservative Party could not support her candidacy and nominated a different Republican, businessman Doug Hoffman. Well, word of Scozzafava's liberalism and the fact that there was a conservative alternative started to spread. This lead to various prominent conservatives, Fred Thompson among others, endorsing Hoffman. Then a week or so ago Sarah Palin came out and endorsed Hoffman. Since Palin's endorsement, donations to Hoffman's campaign increased greatly and many others have jumped on board. Today, two more Republicans came out and endorsed Hoffman's candidacy, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and former New York Governor George Pataki. The Pataki endorsement is the one that really jumps out as he is from the moderate to slightly liberal wing of the Republican party and some of his old staffers are even on Scozzafava's campaign committee. Pataki's endorsement sends a message to fence sitting Republicans in that district that Scozzafava can not win so they should get on board with Hoffman or risk the seat going to Owens.
Newt Gingrich was one of the establishment Republicans who supported Scozzafava from the beginning and he kept doubling down on his bet insisting people need to back the party nominee no matter how much disagreement she may have with the party platform and principles. I believe Gingrich greatly misread the tea leaves on this one. This is not a case of a nominee failing to follow the party line 100%. No, she is neither a fiscal or a social conservative. Also, this is not a case where because of the political makeup of an area a conservative could not win. No, this is not like Maine where a Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe are the best we can hope for. This district has not elected a Democrat since President Grant's first term! Gingrich was playing the "we're a big tent party" game with an eye on being able to claim in 2012 that he can appeal to more than just the hard core conservatives. He bet on the wrong horse and may not be able to recover from his miscalculation. He was following the McCain game plan of trying to win cross over votes by showing he was not beholden to the base. That just doesn't work. National elections are won by candidates who stick to their principles. McCain's loss was partially attributable to a lack of enthusiasm for him personally based on his many instances of supporting Democrat initiatives. For example, in the last election Republicans who believe global warming (or climate change or whatever) is bunk had a choice between a Democrat who believed that crap or a Republican who believed that crap. I actually heard some Republicans say if the choice is between a Democrat or a Republican who will both do something really stupid (Cap and Trade for example) might as well just not vote and let the Democrat get credit/blame for the crappy policy. I never saw Gingrich as electable anyways, but this little race in upstate New York demonstrated his lack of judgment in a way that takes him out of the 2012 race.