I don’t live in New York’s 23rd district, but I live near by and I’ve heard an awful lot about it. When the local republican party choose a left-of-center (Dede Scozzafava) candidate over a right-of-center one (Doug Hoffman) to go against the democratic candidate (Bill Owens) in the general election some interesting things started to happen.
First, several state and national republican personalities supported Scozzafava, while others supported the conservative Hoffman. Once this happened the pundit and “talking head” class talked about how this showed a split in the republican party and therefore it’s ultimate doom. What I saw was very informational.
I looked at what organizations supported Scozzafava. These include Acorn, The Working Families Party (a self-described progressive party) and Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga (founder of the Daily Kos). Let me be explicit, there is nothing wrong with these groups stating their support for this or any other candidate that promotes their causes. What I found interesting was the support of Fmr Speaker Newt Gingrich and current Minority Leader John Boehner. Once again, there is nothing wrong with these gentlemen supporting Scozzafava, as a matter of fact I find it quite enlightening. Then I heard that the like of Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson and Dick Armey were supporting Hoffman. It was this “defecting” support, the republican support for a “third-party” candidate that the pundits see as a split in the party.
What I see is a little different. What this support tells me is there is a difference between supporting a party and supporting an idea. I said that the support Gingrich & Boehner gave to Scozzafava was quite enlightening. Remember, Speaker Gingrich got a lot of “heat” from national conservatives for supporting a candidate with such liberal views in so many areas. It tells me that those two men, Gingrich & Boehner along with many other republicans across the nation are more interested in the republican party, specifically the number of seats in congress with an “R” after their name, then the causes those republicans support. In other words, they are republicans. At the same time Palin, Thompson & Armey show they are more interested in the positions a candidate holds then the party they are a member of. In other words, they are conservatives.
This may actually be a good sign for our country. To paraphrase the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream that my daughter will one day live in a nation where politicians will not be judged by the party of their membership but by the content of their character.