"Moderates need not apply" - That's the gist of the major media message about the mess in the New York special congressional election, straight from the White House. This idea is -- to use a technical term -- a giant load.
Dede Scozzafava was waaaay off the reservation. She's beyond "moderate". I noted on DPUD that she was Arlen Specter in drag, as confirmed by her subsequent endorsement of the Democrat.
Of course, however that election turns out, the wrong lessons are sure to be learned by all...
If Hoffman (Conserv.) squeaks out a victory, it will be "game on" for the grassroots, which is overstating the reality of their electoral abilities. Much as I identify myself with the grassroots on an ideological basis, the most vocal base supporters do not understand how to frame a message to save their lives. They will pound the word "conservative" without breaking down individual positions and explaining them. Given that swing voters are not overly ideological, waving the conservative flag in a general election is about as meaningful as saying a candidate prefers skim milk to whole.
If Owens (Dem.) wins, the self-styled realists in the GOP (-false realists, I say-) will blame the base for their misbehavior and backing a candidate who "can't win". Of course, this is to miss the point entirely that Scozzafava should not have been the endorsed candidate in the first place. And guess whose fault that is.
Hoffman may not have been the ideal candidate to run in that race, but had he been the endorsed candidate he should have been expected to win in an (narrowly) Republican district with the political momentum swinging away from Obama. Of course, Hoffman was not the endorsed candidate, and it has been one heckuva strange election, so he may lose. Either way, I don't think there's much to be learned about the national political environment from that race.
I actually laughed when I saw Charlie Gibson say this live.