|"Sorry, Dierdre. Nothing personal."|
Hey, everybody! It's purge time in the Grand Ol' Party!
Tomorrow, there is a special election in New York's 23rd congressional district to select a replacement for Republican US Representative John McHugh, who is taking a job as Secretary of the Army in the Obama administration. Up until last weekend, there were three candidates in the race. The Democratic candidate is Bill Owens. The Republican candidate was a woman named Diedre Sozzafava, a state Assemblywoman, and a Republican in the old, moderate sense.
New York's 23rd has been a Republican bulwark. But that will officially end this year.
Because, although Ms. Scozzafava was selected to run for the seat by local Republican party officials, national Republicans have determined that she is "too liberal" to represent New York's 23rd. Ms. Scozzafava is "pro-choice," "pro-union," and "pro-gay marriage." In other words, Ms. Scozzafava does not adhere to the neo-confederate litany of positions that today's Republican party dogmatically barks out over the Fox News network and talk radio.
So, New York's Conservative Party has nominated their own candidate, Doug Hoffman, to run. Hoffman who is not actually a resident of New York's 23rd district, is something of an empty suit. According to the Watertown Daily Times, a local newspaper, Mr. Hoffman is less than knowledgeable about local transportation and economic issues. During an interview with the Daily Times, Mr. Hoffman became flustered and complained that he should have been given a list of questions before the interview. His performance, by most accounts was miserable.
But Hoffman's main advantage is that big name freaks like former House Majority Leader Dick (and I do mean "dick") Armey, Sweet Sister Sarah, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, sock puppet Fred Thompson, and Christian Warrior Mike Huckabee have thrown their support behind him.
Armey brushed off Hoffman's poor performance in the interview with the Daily Times, saying that regional concerns were "parochial" issues. Or, to put it another way, Hoffman may be an empty suit, but that's not important. What is important is that Armey and his right-wing conspirators have the perception of a victory that has national visibility. Never mind what happens to New York's 23rd district, Armey has a national movement to build!
Because, you see, Dick Army and his cohorts are hoping that history will repeat itself in next year's national mid-term elections. Traditionally, the party that holds the White House takes a bath in the mid-terms. Double-digit losses in Congress, governorships, state legislatures, are not uncommon. And with all the tea-bagger sturm und drang, the neo-confederates are licking their chops in anticipation of a backlash against the Democrats. So the important thing for the neo-confederates is to position themselves such that they are perceived to be the benefactors of this backlash. Even though confidence in Republican leadership is at an all-time low (21%), these neo-confederates believe they can ride some kind of anti-Obama wave back into power. And so, the first step in getting there is to purge their own ranks of dissenters and ideologically impure candidates.
In Germany, in the summer of 1934, a virulent right-wing party, the National Socialists, conducted a purge of their own ranks, moving against the Sturmabteilung, or Brownshirts. After a rough and tumble week of violence and terror, Adolf Hitler emerged as the undisputed leader of Germany's right-wing political movement. His potential rivals were all dead or imprisoned. This purge was dubbed the Night of the Long Knives.
Well, last weekend, Ms. Scozzafava dropped out of the race. It was a bitter decision, apparently: she threw her support behind Bill Owen, the Democratic candidate!
Hoffman is still likely to win this seat, and be assured that Dick Armey and his band of zombies will trumpet the election result as an omen of things to come. In fact, Armey is probably already gleefully rubbing his palms at the thought of all those fat contribution checks rolling into his FreedomWorks scam.
At this point, it seems to me that the Republican party is ridding itself of those few virtues that it once possessed. All that is left now is a thoroughly toxic, hateful entity driven by xenophobia, homophobia and hatred. These United States will either find a way to defeat it or, failing that, will succumb to it.