Thursday, October 29, 2009


Wingnuts are treating the three-way race in New York's 23rd congressional district as a battle of Good (Doug Hoffman, the litmus-test right-winger who's running on the Conservative Party line) vs. Evil (non-conservatively correct Republican Dede Scozzafava as well as Democrat Bill Owens). If you're a "true conservative," even a true Republican, there's no choice: either you shun Scozzafava as you would a pedophile al-Qaeda member with swine flu, or you're the enemy. So I'm amused that someone at Free Republic just dug up a month-old story from a local paper in the district, the Watertown Daily Times:

Hoffman was for Scozzafava before he was against her

Doug Hoffman pledged to help Dede Scozzafava in an e-mail sent two days after the Republican Party passed over the Lake Placid accountant for the nomination.

The e-mail, sent from Mr. Hoffman's business account on July 24 and provided by the Scozzafava campaign, states in full: "Hi Dede, Congratulations and the best of luck in your candidacy. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Doug."

This is contrary to what Mr. Hoffman, who is now running against Ms. Scozzafava as a Conservative candidate, told me less than two weeks later.

"I never promised that I would support Dede Scozzafava," he said....

Omigod! In bed with the Antichrist! Ah, but Hoffman had an excuse -- his dog ate his due diligence!

I asked Mr. Hoffman today - through his spokesman - to explain why he told Ms. Scozzafava one thing and me another.

Here's the response I got from Rob Ryan, Mr. Hoffman's spokesman: "Like most Republicans, Doug Hoffman had no idea how liberal Dede Scozzafava is. The fact that Scozzafava has voted for higher taxes, increased spending and gay marriage proves she is way to liberal for the voters of upstate New York."

To me, it doesn't add up. Mr. Hoffman was at multiple meetings with Ms. Scozzafava before she was picked, where he had ample opportunity to hear the candidate speak on a variety of issues and talk to her himself. Now he's suggesting he didn't learn about her record during those meetings and figured it out AFTER he sent the e-mail. There was plenty of media who suggested Ms. Scozzafava held "liberal" positions before July 24, but apparently Mr. Hoffman wasn't paying attention to any of them.

"Gee, I didn't know anything about the candidate I was endorsing" -- that's certainly a confidence-inspiring message. And it dovetails nicely with the complete ignorance of local issues displayed by Hoffman (who doesn't actually live in the congressional district) when asked about them by the Daily Times:

Regarding the proposed rooftop highway across the top of the district linking Watertown to Plattsburgh, Mr. Hoffman said only that he was open to studying the idea that has been around for years and will require federal financial assistance to complete.

Mr. Hoffman had no opinion about winter navigation and widening the St. Lawrence Seaway with their potential environmental damage. He was not familiar with the repercussions of a proposed federal energy marketing agency for the Great Lakes, which could pay for Seaway expansion contrary to district interests.

A flustered and ill-at-ease Mr. Hoffman objected to the heated questioning, saying he should have been provided a list of questions he might be asked. He was, if he had taken the time to read the Thursday morning Times editorial raising the very same questions.

Oh, but he brought Dick Armey along -- y'know, Dick Armey from Texas? -- and the chaperone

dismissed regional concerns as "parochial" issues that would not determine the outcome of the election.

Screw you and your proposed rooftop highway, peasants! We have a movement to build!

Then again, given the conservative movement's list of recent heroes -- George W. Bush for many years, Sarah Palin, Carrie Prejean, Joe the Plumber -- I would imagine not having a clue would be regarded as a feature, not a bug.

Hoffman was last seen by the Daily Times avoiding a debate with the other two candidates last night.


UPDATE: Uh-oh -- Mitt Romney is refusing to issue an endorsement in the New York race. Buh-bye, Mitt. You just lost the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

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