Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Specter and Scozzafava Disappointing, Predictable
Arlen Specter was a consistent disappointment for advocates of limited government since he joined the United States Senate in 1980. He cemented his liberal credentials in 1987 by opposing Reagan nominee to the US Supreme Court Robert Bork and opposing the Clinton impeachment in 1999.
Specter fully embraced Washington’s big-spending ways in earlier this year by supporting President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill.
In 2004, Specter was challenged in the Republican primary by conservative Pat Toomey, whose primary theme was Specter’s treason on the tax and spending issue. However, (entirely predictably) most of the state and national Republican establishment, including President Bush and the state's other senator at the time, Rick Santorum, closed ranks behind Specter. Specter narrowly avoided a major upset with 51 percent of the primary vote.
Toomey went on to lead the wildly successful Club for Growth that has up-ended tax-and-spend Republicans nationwide.
On April 28 of this year, facing a defeat in a second Republican primary challenge from Toomey, Specter switched parties giving Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the US Senate.
In September of this year, President Obama appointed long-time Republican Congressman John McHugh as Secretary of the Army, setting up an election for the open seat in Congress. In July, Scozzafava was selected by 11 Republican Party county chairs located in the New York’s 23rd Congressional district to be the Republican nominee.
In quick succession, Scozzafava was endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the largest labor union in New York State and liberal Democrat blogger Markos Moulitsas, of the Daily Kos.
Fortunately, Doug Hoffman running on the Conservative Party line in New York gave limited government voters a choice in the election.
Predictably, establishment Republicans such as Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and John Boehner backed Scozzafava. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent more than $900,000 to advance Scozzafava’s candidacy. Conservative Hoffman was endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.
Three days before the November 3, 2009 election, with poll numbers indicating that she was likely to lose in the three-way race, Scozzafava ended her campaign, releasing her supporters to "transfer their support as they see fit.” The following day, Scozzafava threw her support to Democrat Bill Owens, calling him "an independent voice who will put New York first."
Democrat Owens won the race by four percentage points and on November 7 became one of Nancy Pelosi’s votes for the new socialist Heath Care bill.
The choice of Hamilton County Republican voters
Hamilton County’s GOP has been plagued by candidates and elected officials who have embraced higher taxes and spending at every opportunity, including Congresswoman Jean Schmidt who voted in favor of all of Bob Taft’s tax increases, Sharonville Mayor Virgil Lovitt who repeatedly endorsed higher taxes and endorsed liberal democrats for election and Bob Taft himself.
Now, we face an election for an open seat for Hamilton County Commission. Whom should GOP voters support? A candidate with a long record of voting in favor of taxes and spending? A candidate who has endorsed liberal democrats in closely contested races? A candidate who publicly declares: “Just because I am a Republican doesn’t mean anything?”
Or should we favor a candidate who has consistently supported Republcian principles, the Republican Party and Republican candidates?
The choice is ours. Have we learned the lessons of Specter and Scozzafava, or will Republican voters continue to undermine their own cause.