Sore Losermen

One of the big stories of the year is the growth in prominence of the tea party movement.  Whether or not you are in accord with them politically, they have had an undeniable impact on the political landscape, bringing a new energy to the political scene.  Though tea party- backed  candidates have not been 100 percent successful, they have defeated a fairly substantial number of GOP incumbents and other Republican establishment candidates.  Even relatively conservative Republican incumbents like Senator Bob Bennett of Utah have been sent to an early retirement thanks largely to a grassroots revolt against his like.

One of the most recent successes of the tea party rebellion occurred in Alaska where Joe Miller defeated Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary.  Murkowski was appointed to the Senate to replace her father.  The governor who appointed her also happened to be her father, and it seems that she was led to believe that she is entitled to said seat.  So in the face of electoral defeat in the primary, Senator Murkowski – or Daddy’s Little Princess as she’s being dubbed in some circles – has launched a write-in campaign.  Evidently many voters in the state of Alaska crave royalty as she is actually running neck and neck with Miller in the general election campaign.

Murkowski is not the only moderate Republican who has demonstrated his or her contempt for the unwashed masses who dared to remove them from office.  Governor Charlie Crist, faced with a humiliating primary defeat in Florida against Marco Rubio, decided to jump ship and run as an Independent.  Alas Charlie now faces a humiliating thumping in the general election instead.  Mike Castle, who lost to Christine O’Donnell in the Republican primary for a Delaware Senate seat, toyed with a write-in campaign.  He decided against it, but has ostentatiously declined to endorse O’Donnell.  Other defeated incumbents, like Bennett above as well as Representative Bob Inglis have thrown temper tantrums because the voters dared remove them from office.

Alas it is not just so-called RINOs who have rejected the will of the primary voter.Doug Hoffman earned national notoriety a year ago when he ran for a House seat in upstate New York (NY-23).  Dede Scozzafava was the Republican party’s nominee for the special election.  However, she had not been nominated by a primary open to the voters in the district.  Moreover, she proved not to be just a moderate Republican, but in fact was to the left on just about every major issue.  Aside from a certain former Speaker of the House who shall remain nameless, Hoffman earned the support of just about the entire conservative movement in his third-party run, including from this humble blogger who even donated money to the cause – something I very rarely do.  Scozzafava dropped out, and then confirmed everything Hoffman and the right had said about her by endorsing the Democrat, Bill Owens.

Hoffman wound up losing the general election – one of the few GOP electoral defeats on this particular night.  He remained a fixture of the conservative movement, and committed himself to running for the same seat again this year.

The thing is, he lost the primary.  By six percent (almost 2,000 votes).

Hoffman already had the endorsement of the conservative party in New York, and unlike Rick Lazio (who also had the conservative party endorsement for Governor, but declined it after losing his primary election), Hoffman has decided not to drop out and will wage yet another third party battle.

RS McCain has come to Hoffman’s defense, but it just doesn’t wash with me.

Hoffman is not a sore loser. As has been previously explained, the Conservative Party of New York decided after the 2009 special election that Hoffman would again be their candidate for 2010. I heard Mike Long say that on Election Night at the Hotel Saranac, as soon as it became evident that Hoffman had lost to Owens. Hoffman had “stepped up,” as Long said, when nobody else was interested in challenging Dede Scozzafava, and the Conservative Party was going to stick with him through thick or thin. Given that kind of steadfast support, and having accepted the Conservative nomination, should Hoffman tell Mike Long, “Thanks, but I’m going to quit now”? No, of course not. To do so would be dishonorable.

It was because of his desire to unify the Republican/Conservative coalition — the only hope for defeating Bill Owens in NY-23 — that Hoffman sought the GOP nomination. When Mike Long issued his May warning that Doheny was not acceptable to the Conservative Party, which was sticking with Hoffman all the way, that was the time for the voices that are now crying “unity” to have spoken up and rallied Republicans behind Hoffman.

And he would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for that darned Matt Doheny.

Excuse me, but Doug Hoffman was entitled to nothing.  Matt Doheny is not some uber-villain because he decided to not just let Hoffman have the nomination.  Now I would certainly have voted for Hoffman over the pro-abort Doheny, but a non insubstantial majority of the GOP voters in this district felt otherwise.

Again, this wasn’t a back-room deal.  This was an open primary, and Hoffman lost.  McCain complains about the money that Doheny spent and some of the allegations that were made about Hoffman, but that’s life.  You can’t celebrate the populist uprising of the tea party movement in one breath and then discount the popular will as expressed at the voting booth in another.  Duped or not, the voters expressed their wishes in a manner contrary to how McCain or I would have voted.  Again, that’s life.

As it happens, Doheny has subsequently been embraced by the local tea partiers in his district, and it seems like Hoffman doesn’t have quite the backing he did a year ago in this endeavor.  I can’t locate any polling data for the district, but I suspect that Doheny will not be forced to quit a la Scozzafava.

Here’s the thing.  Doug Hoffman decided that he would take part in the two-party system.  He put himself to the Republican voters in his district, and he lost.  He wasn’t edged out of the nomination due to back-room shenanigans.  I respect third party candidates, but I have less respect for those who have already put themselves through the two-party process and lost, but decide to defy keep running anyway.  This applies to all such candidates, whether they be people I generally like – Hoffman, Joe Lieberman – or despise.

So I just put this question to you.  If you think Lisa Murkowski is a sore loser and is acting like a spoiled brat because of her write-in campaign, then how is Doug Hoffman any less of a sore loser by doing the exact same thing?  Now if you have no problem with what Murkowski is doing, then this doesn’t really apply to you.  But you can’t deride one without also deriding the other.

12 Responses to Sore Losermen

  • Jay Anderson says:

    Wasn’t Hoffman the Conservative Party nominee PRIOR TO also seeking the GOP nomination? If so, I don’t see how failing to secure the GOP nomination affects whatsoever his status as the nominee of the Conservative Party. It’s not the same thing as the sour-grapes candidates who run for the GOP nomination and THEN decide to go 3rd party (such as, for example, Charlie Crist and Princess Lisa have done, and, indeed, as Christine O’Donnell did the last time she ran for the Senate).

    Why should a 3rd-party candidate bow out just to clear the field for the GOP?

    One could argue that, as a prudential matter, Hoffman is wasting his time because the right-of-center voters of the district have already spoken (and especially if the Tea Party folks are beginning to embrace the GOP nominee). But I don’t think Hoffman quite qualifies as a “sore loser” for continuing with his run as the Conservative Party candidate.

    By the way, if I’m mistaken in my understanding that Hoffman was already the Conservative Party nominee PRIOR TO also seeking the GOP nomination, then I withdraw my defense of him.

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Jay,

    You are correct that Hoffman had the conservative party nomination, but the same is true of Ric Lazio, and the latter dropped out once he lost the primary election. Hoffman was attempting to “unify” the Republicans and the conservatives, but he failed in that bid. It seems to me that once you have decided to enter the fray, you should respect the wishes of the primary voters.

    I’ll grant that his situation isn’t exactly the same as Murkowski’s for the reasons you cite. And Hoffman certainly isn’t obliged to drop out simply because he lost the primary. But it seems as a practical matter that Hoffman should drop his conservative candidacy in the light of the primary election.

  • Linus says:

    The term “moderate” is a misnomer for Republocrats like Murkowski…folks such as her are political elites who aspire to be the worst, most profligate aristocracy in human history. At least prior, historical oligarchies of other nations were restrained by the simple fact of technological paucity, requiring them to at least pay lip service to a higher auhority and transcendetal values…the scumbag “legislators” currently holding American government hostage make no such pretense. They are extremely dangerous and should not under any circumstances be referred to as “moderate” simply because they collude with each other under two different political brand names.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    And then in Illinois we have the really strange case of a “sore winner” — Scott Lee Cohen, who won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, dropped out after all sorts of damaging revelations about his past came to light (involving lawsuits, accusations of domestic violence, knifing an alleged hooker, unpaid child support, etc.), then decided to run for GOVERNOR as an independent… and is now polling at or above 10 percent in some polls.

    Of course Cohen’s case is not quite the same as those listed above because he actually WON his primary, albeit for a lower office. However, he does have the potential to be a “spoiler” in the general election and most likely, it will be GOP candidate Bill Brady’s chances that he ends up spoiling!

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    I am vastly amused Elaine by the “I’m voting for Scott Lee Cohen” ads, with people repeating that statement. Who knew that there was such sympathy for the plight of a candidate who held a knife to the neck of his prostitute “fiancee”? I don’t really think Cohen will be a factor, and that Brady will double digit wallop Quinn, notwithstanding the Trib’s bizarre recent poll showing Quinn one point ahead, which contradicts every other poll I have seen.

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Elaine and Donald,

    What is in the water in your state? Seriously, I think Latin American countries shake their head in disbelief at your politics.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “What is in the water in your state? Seriously, I think Latin American countries shake their head in disbelief at your politics.”

    Concisely Paul what Sean Connery said in the Untouchables: “This town stinks like a whorehouse at low tide.” Chicago has an unbelievably corrupt political culture which has infected the entire state. For far too long the people of this state have tolerated it, and Illinois is facing bankruptcy because of it.

  • Art Deco says:

    Illinois within its current boundaries is indicative of a problem with provincial government in this country in that you have an assemblage of small cities (50,000-270,000 in population), small towns, and countryside as a tributary zone to a megalopolitan area. New York, New Jersey, Arizona, and Nevada all have the same problem; Maryland has a variant of it. You need to reconstitute Illinois into a confederation of two components with parallel governments, cede some territory to Missouri and Iowa, &c.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Art, Downstate Illinois would happily readjust our boundaries so that Chicago would be Wisconsin’s problem, as was originally intended I believe back in territorial days. Alas, I am certain that those who live behind the Cheddar Curtain would object.

  • Donna V says:

    NO, Donald, NO, NO, NO!!! Just the thought of Chicago joining the Badger State makes me break out in a cold sweat. I think even the most left-wing Wisconsinites would be firmly opposed to any readjustment of borders. The libs might not be bothered by additional crime, voter fraud, and scores of sleazy politicians, but, goodness, bringing a bunch of Bear fans within the borders of our fair state, now, that really is a heinous thought :-)

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