The 2009 Republican Victory & What It Means

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Awesome night!

The left will try their best to minimize the damage done but the bluedog Democrats are now on notice….pass fiscally irresponsible bills like ObamaCare and your toast. As for NY-23, a few good articles…first from Roger Simon:

Now I realize that the surprise loser there, Doug Hoffman, ran as a Conservative, not a Republican. But I submit in this case that was a distinction without a significant difference because virtually all the Republican establishment had lined up behind Hoffman by the day of the election.

So why – in what was clearly a Republican year – did Hoffman lose? Well, there are several reasons and, yes, the Democratic victory was narrow, thinner than the five or so percent that went to withdrawn Republican nominee Scozzafava who herself endorsed the Democratic candidate. Still, the 23rd is a safely Republican, even conservative, district. In a year where the GOP racked up a 20% margin in Virginia and coasted easily in Jersey, a state in which Obama romped in ‘08 by 16%, what was the problem?

Well… I might as well say it… social conservatism. America is a fiscally conservative country – now perhaps more than ever, and with much justification – but not a socially conservative one. No, I don’t mean to say it’s socially liberal. It’s not. It’s socially laissez-faire (just as its mostly fiscally laissez-faire). Whether we’re pro-choice, pro-life or whatever we are, most of us want the government out of our bedrooms, just as we want it out of our wallets.

Hoffman’s capital-C Conservative campaign, however, tried to separate itself from the majority parties by making a big deal of the social issues. He was all upset that Scozzafava was pro-gay marriage, seemingly as upset as he was with her support for the stimulus plan. He projected the image of a bluenose in a world that increasingly doesn’t want to hear about these things. Hoffman’s is a selective vision of the nanny state – you can nanny about some things but not about others. I suspect America deeply dislikes nannying about anything.

There is, of course, a message in this for the Republican Party going forward. You can choose to emphasize the social issues or not. Today may show the former is a losing proposition.

Somewhat agree but not completely. A few weeks ago no one knew who Hoffman was. A ton of cash was thrown to the supposed Republican in the race, not to the one who had real conservative idea’s and principals, all this and maybe the social aspect of it played a part. Either way…the NY-23 race exposed a Democrat masquerading as a Republican and sent a message. Don’t be choosing candidates in the backrooms of power, especially when that person doesn’t represent the real party.

The other good post on NY-23 comes from Erick Erickson:

There are two big victories at work in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

First, the GOP now must recognize it will either lose without conservatives or will win with conservatives. In 2008, many conservatives sat home instead of voting for John McCain. Now, in NY-23, conservatives rallied and destroyed the Republican candidate the establishment chose.

I have said all along that the goal of activists must be to defeat Scozzafava. Doug Hoffman winning would just be gravy. A Hoffman win is not in the cards, but we did exactly what we set out to do — crush the establishment backed GOP candidate.

And make no mistake, despite the Beltway spin, we know for certain based on statements from the local Republican parties, that they chose Scozzafava based on advice from the Washington crowd.

So we have demonstrated to the GOP that it must not take conservatives for granted. The GOP spent $900,000.00 on a Republican who dropped out and endorsed the Democrat. Were we to combine Scozzafava and Hoffman’s votes, Hoffman would have won.

Secondly, and just as importantly, there has all of a sudden been a huge movement among some activists to go the third party route. We see in NY-23 that this is not possible as third parties are not viable.

Third parties lack funding and ability for a host of reasons. Conservatives are going to have to work from within the GOP. The GOP had better pay attention.

For all intents and purposes, NY-23 is a trial run for Florida. And in Florida, the conservative candidate is operating inside the GOP. If John Cornyn and the NRSC do not want to see Florida go the way of NY-23, they better stand down.

Great points, especially the third party point. Just won’t happen. If the Beltway crowd hadn’t of picked a person to represent the Republican party who was more liberal then the Democrat challenger….then Hoffman would of won. Instead the establishment picked Scozzafava and it took a groundswell to get her removed.

But there were other races that are even more indicative of citizens sick of the spending:

The biggest defeat for RINOs in New York wasn’t the pre-election collapse of Dede Scozzafava in the 23rd CD. It was tonight’s stunning victory by conservative Republican Rob Astorino in the race for County Executive of Westchester County—the affluent and heavily taxed suburb just north of NYC, which has been solidly Democratic for more than a decade. Astorino’s victory is a stinging rebuke to the brand of New York Republicanism personified by Assemblywoman Scozzafava, former Gov. (and Westchester native son) George Pataki, and Westchester’s famously liberal former state Sen. Nicky Spano of Yonkers, who had endorsed incumbent Democratic County Executive Andy Spano (no relation) and engineered Andy Spano’s endorsement by the local Conservative party. Astorino, 42, a county legislator who used to co-host a satellite radio show with Cardinal Egan, happens to be pro-life — but going against the trend established by Pataki and other suburban Republicans in the 1990s, he didn’t waver from that position. He knew the pro-choice swing vote in Westchester would be motivated by primarily economic issues. He was right, and has a bright future in statewide politics if he does a good job. An even more stunning Republican showing came in the other big, affluent NYC suburb, Nassau County, where an underfunded Republican named Ed Mangano was — as of midnight — in a dead heat with the charismatic Democratic County Executive Tom Suozzi. Meanwhile, the GOP recaptured control of that county’s legislature. Nassau residents apparently were so fed up with the status quo that they may have returned control of county government to the same discredited GOP machine that nearly drove the county into bankruptcy just eight years ago. In a word, Wow.

And from the Westchester Journal News:

Voters rejected the Democratic incumbent’s bid for a fourth term, opting instead for a candidate who pledged to downsize government and cut the highest county taxes in the nation.

“It’s far surpassing anything we expected,” Astorino said after taking Spano’s concession call at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. “But I think the message resonated. People wanted change and they are going to get it starting in January.”

Astorino’s victory came despite Democrats’ 2-1 margin over Republicans among Westchester’s 538,822 registered voters.

With 87 percent of the votes in, Astorino had 58 percent, Spano 42 percent, according to the unofficial results.

And finally a message to Republicans for 2010:

A Republican Strategist’s Take

I just spoke to a smart one. He argues that the Virginia governor’s race offers more lessons for Republicans than either the New Jersey race (because there was an incumbent on whom it was a referendum) or the New York congressional race (because its circumstances were too odd). One of the lessons he draws is that Republican candidates have to “finish the sentence.” Instead of just saying that we have to keep taxes and spending low, and thus pleasing conservatives, he said, McDonnell explain how these policies would create jobs and “plug the hole in Richmond.” Too many Republican candidates, he says, forget to do that.

He pours cold water on the idea that the elections were a referendum on Obama. “Obama’s numbers in Virginia are not that bad. He’s not upside-down, that’s for sure.” (That is, more people rate him favorably than unfavorably.) “I guarantee you that McDonnell got a lot of votes from people who approve of [the job Obama is doing].” He takes the vote to be a rejection of many of Obama’s policies. But he adds, “I don’t think that Republicans should come away from this and think that all that we have to do in 2010 is run against Obama. McDonnell had a very vigorous policy agenda.”

Not the first time I heard from analysts tonight that the McDonnell campaign is one that should be emulated by Republicans in 2010.

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

22 Responses to “The 2009 Republican Victory & What It Means”

  1. 1

    I mostly agree with the grist of Curt’s post.

    Take away the social nanny state stuff, and you’ve got the sort of conservative who’d attract the votes of lots of moderates, me included. But no more tax cuts paid for with borrowed money. Just as bad (and, in the economic environment of 2009, actually worse) than spending increases paid for with borrowed money.

    The other thing that I’d add is that a more critical view of the value of sending battalion level (and up) forces to engage armies on foreign soil to manage 21st century threats is also a very conservative approach to governance.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

  2. 2


    In all the analysis of Hoffman’s campaign, I have yet to see anyone make note of the fact that the man was inarticulate at best, and painfully awkward in public if we are to be brutally honest. The fact that he garnered so much of the vote is a testament to his positions and the mood of the district, because I cannot seriously think that anyone saw him in action and thought “wow, that’s the guy I want in Congress.”

    If only the Republicans in New York hadn’t played such stupid games with their choice for the election, there’d be another Republican representative in the House. They lost this through their own high-handedness.

  3. 3

    Magic Dog

    Take heart! NY-23 was a great victory for conservatives, who have shown they can achieve the impossible. In this case, they elected a Democrat in a district that hasn’t done so for more than 120 years. Okay, maybe not the sort of magic desired, but WHAT AWESOME POWER to do amazing things! Keep a-goin’!!

  4. 4


    If Hoffman wouldn’t have challenged Scozzafava, we would have another Liberal with an R beside their name voting with Pelosi, demoralizing the base and diluting the party’s effectiveness. Liberals belong on the other side of the aisle.

    The disillusionment with the administration is building like the steam in a teapot. Eventually the pressure builds until there is a release of pressure. The water is just beginning to get warm, during 2010 a slow boil will build heat and pressure until the midterms and the water will be ready to blow its top. By 2012, the election will be a formality and if the Republican President wants to investigate corruption? Obama and his crew better be ready to standby.

  5. 5

    Rick from the 23rd

    Magic Dog as a voter and resident of the 23rd I have said all along, I would rather have a Democrat with a D next to their name than one with an R. Keep watch of this district in 2010. It won’t remain blue for long.

  6. 6

    Old Trooper

    New Yawk is a “Gimmee ” State like California.
    Up State New Yawkers are too White and too few in numbers to matter. You elected a Carpet Bagger Clinton to the Senate then elected a Kenyan Carpet Bagger for President.

    Something wrong with the water up there?
    Canada is more Conservative now than Upstate New Yawk.

    God Bless You.

  7. 7



    I agree with you, Eddie.

    I think what you have said is probably more in line with the actual reality.

    I heard Hoffman interviewed by Mark Levin and it seemed like Levin really had to help Hoffman out with the dialog. Plus there is his inexperience in politics. He ran because someone had to do it. My assessment of him from the interview was “potential here.” I was not sure he was ready to go to Washington and take on the big dogs in Congress, who currently comprise an enormous pack. I would like to see Hoffman get involved in local politics and then maybe try again in 2010, when he would likely get more help in Washington from more Conservatives being elected and more Dems and worthless RINOs being thrown out.

    I find myself ambivalent about Roger Simon’s assessment of the election. It strikes me (first thing in the morning, which is when I read it) as presumptuous and a bit self serving, as I know PJ Media lists rather strongly toward social, mmm, unconservatism.

    Considering all the potentially mitigating factors in this case, I would say what Hoffman accomplished is truly outstanding and would definitely not be in any hurry to assign blame to social conservatism.

    I do think the most unfortunate aspect of Hoffman’s loss in that it provides opportunity for any and all opponents of Conservatism (or social conservatism) to spin the thing in whatever way they think could cause the most destruction and there’s not a whole lot that can be done about it, except bide our time until 2010. I only just hope the Republicans don’t get the idea that because of Hoffman’s loss conservatives can’t win. With all the factors accounted for, I firmly believe that is not the case at all.

  8. 8

    Hard Right

    Don’t discount voters feeling as if they were being told by “outsiders” who to vote for.

    When the NFL told voters in AZ that if they didn’t pass an MLK holiday they’d lose the Superbowl, voters told them to kiss off. The ONLY reason it didn’t pass was because of that. I’m not saying it’s why Hoffman lost, but a factor, perhaps. Eddie may have hit upon a big part of it too.

  9. 10

    Rick from the 23rd

    Trooper my first reaction to your post is to GFYS, but there is good coming from this election. I was ready to throw all of the GOP Chairs under the bus with Dede but then I found this article at Everyone should read how the selection process was undermined by another RINO.

    “Liberal Republican Assemblywoman Janet Duprey threw the nomination to her friend and fellow Liberal Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava despite the wishes of the majority of Republicans in the county where she also serves as party chairman”

    Duprey then claims Scozzafava is wrong to endorse Owens and consults her party about who to endorse once Dede backs out. Then when the stuff hits the fan and her friend shows her true colors she back peddles and asks for guidance from her other county party members. If she had done what they sent her to do in the first place we never would have had this mess.

    Duprey threw this contest to her friend rather than looking out for the district and her constituents and it blew up in her face. She is responsible for putting her friend in this race rather than doing what she was sent to do and deserves the consequences of her actions. Hopefully the voters in her district will remind her of her blunder next November.

    This seat will not remain blue for long. Luckily Owens will be up for for re-election in 2010. The next candidate will be selected by the people, not handed to someone. I said from the beginning of this race, I would rather sacrifice the seat for a year than send a RINO to Washington we will have trouble removing later.

  10. @Eddie: I agree that Hoffman wasn’t the most telegenic candidate. But it’s worth noting, as Curt posted, that Hoffman and Scozzofava together outpolled the Democrat. With the right candidate and none of this RINO betrayal in 2010 we should have no problem retaking the seat.

    I do agree that the Virginia governor’s race is the best lesson for the GOP for 2010. McDonnell is a social conservative but he didn’t feel the need to wear it on his sleeve. He talked instead to the larger issues confronting all Virginians, which is the same set of fiscal concerns that Americans all across the nation will confront in 2010.

    @Rick from the 23rd: Thanks for sharing that background on the selection process. Let’s hope that a strong, charismatic conservative candidate will emerge to unseat Owens. No more RINOS please!

  11. 12


    And what was Obama doing last night instead of watching the returns?

    He was watching the HBO special about him… The same show he had already watched a couple of days before as a pre-release HBO made available to him. Gibbs verified it.

    I guess if what ever is going on in the country isn’t directly about him, he finds something that is.

    Narcissist. In. Chief.

  12. 13

    Larry Sheldon

    Did anybody notice that the Republican party put up a candidate way to the left of the Democrat, spent millions of our dollars campaigning against Hoffman and at the last minute, had their puppet bail and go public (including TV ads paid for with our money) for the Democrat.

    And as far as Hoffman’s inarticulateness–I had not noticed that, and if I had, I would scored it a major plus because I never once saw him bobblehead between two Teleprompters, reading what his handlers wanted him to say.

  13. @Patvann: Do we need more proof that the manchild is a pathological narcissist? He’s spent more time talking about himself than he has governing. He spent more time campaigning for Corzine in New Jersey than he has in meeting with General McChrystal about Afghanistan.

    Every day Obama is in office he makes Jimmy Carter look better by comparison.

  14. 16

    Larry Sheldon

    You need to say which “Larry” you are talking about (Every “Tom”, “Dick”, and “Harry” is named “Larry” it seems).

    I can’t thing of anything I have said that could be interpreted as a “claim NY-23 was the rejection of Conservatism”!

    I did say “Did anybody notice that the Republican party put up a candidate way to the left of the Democrat, spent millions of our dollars campaigning against Hoffman and at the last minute, had their puppet bail and go public (including TV ads paid for with our money) for the Democrat.” which is sort of ambiguous but was intended to a slam on the RNC and Gingrich and Steele.

    But “And as far as Hoffman’s inarticulateness–I had not noticed that, and if I had, I would scored it a major plus because I never once saw him bobblehead between two Teleprompters, reading what his handlers wanted him to say.” seems pretty clear.

    I would like to know what, once again, causes the big disparity between the poll (even the hostile ones) and the vote count.

    I’m guessing nobody took my advice to watch the parked cars with boxes of ballots in hte run, waiting to be “found” as required.

    How much robocalling was there to advise Republican voters that Hoffman is in the bag, you don’t need to trouble yourself?

  15. 17

    Larry Sheldon

    “Grassroots activists saw a decided switch in the conduct of the campaign over the last 72 hours, after Scozzafava’s withdrawal. Unconfirmed rumors abounded that Hoffman was taking advice from NRCC hotshots who had come up to help over the crucial last weekend, and that the candidate became less accessible to volunteers and was not conducting enough face to face voter events. Though his election day schedule was busy, for instance, his only public event on Monday was the Watertown rally hosted by Fred Thompson.

    From the tcotreport link.

    In other words, the RNCC found a way to save the day for their people, Owens and Scuzzy.

    Hoffman’s mistake was listening to the. Interesting.

    That report doesn’t mention how many millions dollars of RNCC (and our) money Scuzzy spent in the effort to get Owens elected.

    Why do I think that effort by the RNCC started months ago?

  16. 19

    Hey, if we get a Darryl we’ll have Larry, Larry, and Darryl.

    I like to give credit where credit is due; that one made me chuckle.

    – LW/HB

  17. 20

    One of the more interesting results yesterday was Maine’s (1) legalizing pot dispensaries, while (2) outlawing same sex marriage. Identical to what California voters had decided in prior elections.

    – LW/HB

  18. 21


    I disagree. The US IS a socially conservative nation. But the republican party so screwed up this race as to require a Hoffman victory be nothing less than a miracle. Had he been the original pick, complete with party backing he would have won. Hell, Scozzafava’s name was even on the ballot TWICE, as was that of Owens! Hoffman only once of course. And don’t forget…although we might have been quite up on ALL the goings on in 23, don’t assume that the voters there shared either our exuberance or our obligatory hourly updates on the facts and issues.

  19. 22


    The US IS a socially conservative nation.

    Now this would make for an interesting thread, all its own.

    What is a social conservative?

    To take me, for an example, I personally have moderate to conservative social values. But I don’t consider myself to be a social conservative — at least by the current definition as it currently appears in Wikipedia:

    Social conservatism is a political or moral ideology that believes government and/or society have a role in encouraging or enforcing traditional values or behaviors based on the belief that these are what keep people civilized and decent


    Here are some of my personal views, along with what I think government should do about these:

    1. I hate many of the obscene rap lyrics. I’m in favor of Tipper Gore-style warning labels, but I’m not in favor of censorship.

    2. I don’t like television shows like “Sex in the City,” which I do feel contribute to the erosion of traditional behavior standards, but, again, I’m against censorship. Same thing for present-day movies, compared to the standards which still existed as recently as the 60s.

    3. I’m personally opposed to abortion, but I believe that the government has no right to decide for a woman whether or not she must complete a pregnancy.

    4. I’m against official government recognition of same sex marriage, but I feel that there must be equal rights and protections — hence I’m in favor of legal domestic partnerships.

    5. I think that don’t ask/don’t tell is a very reasonable compromise.

    6. I don’t think that government buildings should display religious documents, including the 10 Commandments.

    7. I don’t have the slightest problem with schools and other public places displaying symbols of important religious holidays, but I think that there can’t be discrimination in favor of one religion over another.

    8. I think that certain religious symbols with historical value (e.g the Soledad and other public “crosses”) constructed during earlier time periods should be allowed to remain in place, uncovered.

    9. I see no harm for traditional, non-denominational prayers to be said in public functions, outside of schools. I see no harm in observing periods of silence for private prayer or reflection in schools.

    10. I don’t think that there should be any role for government in end of life decisions, which should strictly be a matter for patients, doctors, and families.

    11. I’m against the concept of advocating that the USA is or ever was a “Christian nation.” People are Christians; nations are not, or should not be. Don’t take my word for it; ask Christ.

    12. I’m personally against the use of recreational drugs, but I think that government efforts to ban the use of these substances have produced more problems than solutions.

    13. I think that there is more to be feared from viewing the Constitution as a work in progress, as opposed to being set in stone, but I think it’s important to have excellent judges with a range of mainstream judicial philosophies on the Federal bench.

    and so forth. There are lots of people out there, in the broad middle, who’d be more than happy to have the opportunity to vote for fiscal conservatives who feel that the government should avoid trying to legislate any particular brand of morality.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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