Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Coming Republican Schism

I can see it now: the far-right-wing's insistence on running far-right-wing candidates will either further marginalize the Republican Party or lead to a split. You can see this dynamic at work in NY-23, the congressional district that had been represented by moderate Republican John McHugh, whom President Obama has named to the post of Secretary of the Army.

The Republican Party leadership nominated state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava as the Republican candidate to replace McHugh; meanwhile, the state Conservative Party nominated Douglas Hoffman, who is far to right of the Republican candidate.

Hoffman's been getting support from out-of-state Republicans like Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, who both have aspirations to higher office. Scozzafava, you see, is an old-fashioned, northeast Republican: socially liberal (pro-abortion rights, pro-gay marriage), fiscally conservative, pro-business. That's just not acceptable to the "Republican base;" i.e. the farthest-right wing. Today, Scozzafava withdrew from the race, because she's losing support, not raising enough money, and she and Hoffman are in a dead draw.

Of all people. Newt Gingrich is troubled by this dynamic. Here's how he's quoted in today's Times:
“This makes life more complicated from the standpoint of this: If we get into a cycle where every time one side loses, they run a third-party candidate, we’ll make Pelosi speaker for life and guarantee Obama’s re-election.”
I can see how that prospect might bother a few Republicans. Will they push themselves even further from the center, or split entirely? Read the whole story in today's Times.

4 comments:

rootlesscosmo said...

More evidence of the schism:

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2009/11/the-republican-party-on-now-republican-house-candidate-doug-hoffman-he-lacks-the-integrity-and-abilities-needed-to-be-elect.html

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks! I feel like I should read Brad DeLong all the time, since Krugman always quotes him.

Saint Russell said...

And today Scozzafava has endorsed the Democrat. I'm sure it's not easy being a Republican these days.

Lisa Hirsch said...

OMG.