New York's 23rd district Congressional race is a victory of the conservative grassroots over the GOP establishment (extensive background here
But, going forward, both grassroots and party leaders will have to work
together to create a strong and electable Republican Party. Looking
ahead beyond NY-23, conservatives draw lessons from the fight and
evaluate a strategy for a successful and popular GOP.
- Don't Let Bloggers Rule the Party The Wall Street Journal cautions
against giving the "bloody-minded and intolerant of all dissent"
conservative base too much power. "A majority political party requires
a far more diverse coalition
than the audience for your average right-wing blogger or talk show
host. [...] If conservatives now revolt against every GOP candidate who
disagrees with them on trade, immigration or abortion, Nancy Pelosi and
Harry Reid will keep their majorities for a very long time."
- Embrace the Base, Ignore the Beltway Conservative blogger Erick Erickson decries the beltway GOP establishment that selected Scozzafava. "[This
election] is also a powerful reminder for House Republicans wanting to
back the House that they are going to need to ignore the NRCC and
instead go right where right can win," he writes. "There is something
about New York's 23rd Congressional District that
reporters and the GOP establishment are ignoring. According to the PPP
poll and the Sienna poll, Doug Hoffman is expanding the base of voters willing to vote for a conservative, not shrinking the base as the press alleges."
- Stop Following Sarah Palin Politics Daily columnist Jill Lawrence warns against
following Sarah Palin, "the charismatic, free-lance leader of a
grassroots army." Lawrence writes, "Hoffman could well win, giving
short-term succor to the GOP and Palin's
exclusionary, storm-the-barricades brand of Republicanism. And who
knows when and where this will stop -- or where it will lead? It has
all the elements of a runaway train, and very few Republicans are
willing to step in front of it." She concludes, "How many
non-politicians or obscure state legislators are going to step
up after this, knowing that in mid-race their party may abandon them?"
- Forget Talk of a 'Civil War' National Review's Jonah Goldberg thinks
this is all just the GOP rediscovering its conservative message. "The
story is not that the GOP is self-destructing, it is that the
conventional wisdom is being shown to be ludicrous," he writes.
"Hoffman and McDonnell owe their success to the support of independents
(the independents all of these people said wanted moderate,
Democrat-lite policies) and to Republicans determined to stay true to
conservative principles. Not only was the conventional wisdom wrong,
the idea that there's a 'civil war' within the GOP revolving around
this argument is nonsense."
- Keep Up the Internal Fights The Washington Examiner's Chris Stirewalt argues
that primary and third-party challenges help guide the GOP. "Hillary
Clinton's surrogates said that Obama shouldn't have even run
because a primary challenge would divide the party and weaken Clinton
for the general election showdown with inevitable Republican nominee
Rudy Giuliani. Obama correctly rejected that notion, saying that a
contested primary would energize, not demoralize, the Democratic base,"
he writes. "The lesson of the Obama ascendancy is that an enthusiastic
coupled with a reasonable-sounding candidate can win elections. The GOP
remains unpopular, and the movement against career politicians
is real. If the party wants to maximize its gains in 2010, it will need
to look more like Doug Hoffman than Dede Scozzafava."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.