Green Room

Rogue Stars Rising

posted at 12:13 am on October 23, 2009 by

Two stories are unfolding out in the 23rd Congressional District of New York. In the foreground, we have the three-way contest between hapless Republican Dede Scozzafava, upstart Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, and some generic Democrat whose name no one can remember. This race is a microcosm of our strange politics, which have become like a speeding car with jammed door locks, cut brake lines, a dead steering wheel, and air vents that pump nitrous oxide. Everyone is dimly aware the country is heading for the edge of a cliff, but no one can muster the energy to search for alternatives.

The President took time away from his losing wars against Fox News, the Taliban, and economic reality to endorse the Democrat, who would doubtless prove a useful ally in the only war Obama is winning: the war on the American middle class. He probably should have endorsed Scozzafava instead. She’d only be marginally less useful to him – does anyone see her leaping to the well of Congress and declaring her iron-willed opposition to ObamaCare in all its forms? Does anyone have difficulty imagining her sudden decision to support a bill that will address her “concerns” while guaranteeing “affordable access to insurance” for the twenty, thirty, or forty-seven million Americans, legal and otherwise, who will surely die without a government health plan?

At least Obama would have been doing something interesting and unpredictable by endorsing Scozzafava. She clearly shares his views on the use of state power to suppress annoying journalists. Instead, he flew into the district to cough up some more empty rhetoric nobody will remember tomorrow, on behalf of a candidate no one cares about, but who stands a good chance of winning by default.

The other story, playing out in the background, is the second act of one political saga beginning, even as another draws to a close. The rising star of Sarah Palin passes over the melancholy ruins of Newt Gingrich, who spent the last of his credibility endorsing Scozzafava. The Republican Party of Gingrich dies, unloved and irrelevant. Something else is replacing it. The new opposition party is not guaranteed of victory – such guarantees are issued to no one. Palin may never choose to campaign for an office beneath its banner, but she’s an integral part of its identity. She’ll certainly never be a governor, or anyone’s vice presidential candidate, again. For the Republicans, it will never be 1996 or 2006 again. There’s no more room for school-lunch debacles, government shutdown miscalculations, Trent Lott, George Allen, Mark Foley… or Newt Gingrich.

It pains me to say this about Gingrich. He accomplished some amazing things, in the mid-90s. He’s a smart man who has offered some interesting ideas, in his second life as a conservative intellectual. The problem is that Newt is a political tactician, and in the final stages of a losing war against collectivist ruin, the time has come to focus on grand strategy, rather than tactics. The second decade of this century will be an existential war for the American soul, not a police action.

Gingrich is always thinking about the tactics of the moment, trying to win on points that will never be awarded fairly. He spent far too much of his time as Speaker of the House shouting in vain for media referees to throw penalty flags that remained stuffed in their pockets. Meanwhile, the political battlefront has shifted into the fatal terrain of essential liberties and economic freedom. This is the time for courage, conviction, and bold action… not whining about “big tents,” while pushing a product of the Pataki machine with a Margaret Sanger award dangling around her neck. A Republican party that embraces Scozzafava over Hoffman isn’t a “tent.” It’s not even a lean-to.

The most urgent task for conservatives is building a logical, consistent vision to place before the voters. They’re looking for a comprehensive explanation of why Democrat policies are wrong. They can see Obama’s failures all around them, but in the absence of a compelling narrative from the opposition party, they’re likely to conclude those failures were inevitable, and learn to accept them. If no one presents a coherent alternative to socialism, it wins by default, because too much of the political and media culture desires it. We’ve already tumbled far past the point where anyone views the Constitution as even a speed bump, let alone a barrier to socialist ambition. The principles embodied in that incredible document will perish, if they are not respected, explained, and defended.

A party that supports Scozzafava over Hoffman cannot mount that defense. They can’t run candidates to the left of the Democrats, then expect a spellbound audience when they explain why the Democrats are wrong. This is not a question of rigid idealism, or remaining a “perfect minority.” The voters, including the fabled “moderates,” need to be persuaded, not pandered to. Running a liberal squish in a largely conservative district will not cause moderate voters to squeal with excitement over the billowing expanse of the GOP’s enormous tent, and rush to see what other wonders might be hidden inside.

In her endorsement of Doug Hoffman, Sarah Palin said:

Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a “time for choosing.”

The federal government borrows, spends, and prints too much money, while our national debt hits a record high. Government is growing while the private sector is shrinking, and unemployment is on the rise. Doug Hoffman is committed to ending the reckless spending in Washington, D.C. and the massive increase in the size and scope of the federal government. He is also fully committed to supporting our men and women in uniform as they seek to honorably complete their missions overseas.

And best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine.

Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.

She’s clever to throw in that jab at political machines. Dede Scozzafava rolled off the conveyor belt of such a machine, to stand blinking in confusion outside Hoffman’s headquarters, drowning in a sea of his campaign posters as she babbled about how she finally wanted to debate him. Voters impressed by political machines will be unable to tear their eyes from the stupendous contraption of media wiring and corrupt money that grows from Barack Obama. Those who are still capable of independent thought need to hear Palin battle cries, not Gingrich apologies.

The GOP is doomed if it holds the course Newt Gingrich set for it, in the waning days of his troubled tenure as Speaker of the House. It should set a new course, following the rogue stars rising to starboard. Palin and Hoffman are among the first of those stars. She’s taking a risk by endorsing him, since her detractors would savor his defeat. That’s good. America needs risk-takers, not undertakers. Newt Gingrich conceded far too many defeats before the race in New York-23 had even begun, by settling for a candidate he could live with, instead of backing the one New York – and America – really needs.

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Comments

The most concise and understandable explanation of just what is on the line for us ALL in this race. Another winner, DZ!

I watch this with interest. I live in a community where I believe the GOP still hasn’t gotten its head on straight and have been very frustrated recently.

I’m terrified we are going to screw up these chances we’re being given and find ourselves with a dem majority in 2010 AGAIN and another four years of Obama. It’s so depressing.

I want to pull my hair, scream, hop up and down. I just don’t know how else to make it clear to the GOP that they’re screwing up and need to get their heads out of their collective arses. *sigh*

Mad Mad Monica on October 23, 2009 at 1:10 AM

Dr.Zero knocks the cover off the ball.

That is pretty much what I thought, only you make more sense when expressing it.

Brian1972 on October 23, 2009 at 2:16 AM

Newt said a few months ago that what New York needed was George Pataki to run for senator (against Gillibrand, for Hillary’s old seat) and Rudy Giuliani to run for governor.

Newt obviously doesn’t know that Pataki’s RINO policies helped to speed New York’s downfall, and Pataki probably can’t get elected dogcatcher in NY.

Recently, I went to Newt’s website and asked him the source of a quotation of his (that appeared on a Starbucks coffee cup). There has been no reply.

Newt has long since jumped the shark.

barrypopik on October 23, 2009 at 2:58 AM

The GOP is fast losing relevance by choosing labels over substance. The time is fast approaching when Republicans will be as extinct as Whigs.

Hyunchback on October 23, 2009 at 3:56 AM

I keep wondering who Doc Zero is. He is such a good writer.

BlameAmericaLast on October 23, 2009 at 4:56 AM

Doctor Zero is really Joe Biden…honest…isn’t it obvious?

percysunshine on October 23, 2009 at 6:59 AM

^5 Doc. Well done.

pugwriter on October 23, 2009 at 7:13 AM

Evidence has come and gone to shore up these points. Perot would never have been the spoiler in the election of ’92 had a large selection of American conservatives not been ready to taste a new reality, one of fiscal restraint particularly.

These are most certainly interesting times for this wonderful country. I recall brief exchanges with Dick Armey, now an organizer of conservatives for this type of change, wherein the essence of what Dr.0 discusses above seemed to already be forming in his cranial cavity during this time frame. Perhaps Sarah, along with some yet hidden and talented care-takers of the Constitution, will keep the momentum, raise the bar, and some true leadership will emerge that is irresistible to the voting block.

Doc, I’m getting tired of just saying thanks. What’s the next-up incremental verb?

Robert17 on October 23, 2009 at 7:29 AM

Doc, I’m getting tired of just saying thanks. What’s the next-up incremental verb?

Robert17 on October 23, 2009 at 7:29 AM

Ditto ad infinitum.

…in the absence of a compelling narrative from the opposition party, they’re likely to conclude those failures were inevitable, and learn to accept them. If no one presents a coherent alternative to socialism, it wins by default, because too much of the political and media culture desires it. We’ve already tumbled far past the point where anyone views the Constitution as even a speed bump, let alone a barrier to socialist ambition. The principles embodied in that incredible document will perish, if they are not respected, explained, and defended.

Doctor, you see this so clearly, as do we. Why can’t the so-called “leaders” of the Republican party?

publiuspen on October 23, 2009 at 7:52 AM

Gingrich was the perfect anti-Clinton. For a time.

When Clinton was taking hard-left, Gingrich was able to win enough points off blue-dogs and independents to check the vast left-wing conspiracy.

Once the revolution succeeded, though, Gingrich was the wrong man to consolidate and hold power.

I recall an article on Gingrich, from those heady days of the Contract with America, when he described himself as “using the opponents’ tactics against him”. It appears to this cat that while Newt is still fighting with Billy Jeff’s bag of tricks, Obama has a whole new bag. (with apologies to James Brown, of course)

Thank you again, Doctor Zero.

Mew

acat on October 23, 2009 at 8:17 AM

I’ve got it now!

Dr. Zero is really Doctor Emmit Brown! Has to be.

percysunshine on October 23, 2009 at 8:35 AM

That you Doc Zero for your great analysis as always. It just goes to prove how out of touch the GOP really is with Americans.

deidre on October 23, 2009 at 8:54 AM

The second decade of this century will be an existential war for the American soul, not a police action.

Precisely! I don’t want a “civil debate.” I want exactly what 0bama and his minions are offering: a knockdown drag-out, ask no quarter-give no quarter, no holds barred, Texas cage match, Gotterdamurung, fight to the finish for the heart, soul and future of America.

Lou Budvis on October 23, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Doc as you stated so well “the war is on”.If Sarah can impress the truth on the independents we will win,America will win.

tim c on October 23, 2009 at 9:35 AM

I have never read a post by DZ that I did not agree with 100% – you, sir (or madam?) are a true patriot.

Ris4victory on October 23, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Dr. Zero proves once again that his/her posts are on equal ground of Ed Morrissey & Allahpundit. Please Michelle ad Dr. Zero as a main blogger!!!

Dr. Zero as a Main Blog Poster!!!

portlandon on October 23, 2009 at 10:16 AM

I had to dig up my recently issued & promptly misplaced password to make this post, Doctor Zero, but this is a truly fine piece. You’re exceptionally talented, ya know that? I’m so glad my first HA post gets to be a hat tip to you for the sharp & skillfully drawn commentary you regularly offer readers here.

leilani on October 23, 2009 at 10:50 AM

What’s poetic about Gingrich’s fall is his self-identity as a futurist, spotting and espousing the “new waves,” and now being washed away by one he never saw.

But what he also missed, and what so many others missed, was the rise of the Left. Indeed, they still don’t understand.

rrpjr on October 23, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Looks like my second HA post shall be to second portlandon@10:16am for the nomination of Dr. Zero to the majors. AP & Ed would do well to promote the good doctor to the front page before somebody else signs him/her away to another team.

leilani on October 23, 2009 at 11:13 AM

A Republican party that embraces Scozzafava over Hoffman isn’t a “tent.” It’s not even a lean-to.

You have written the most eloquent come-back when arguing with RHINO supporters as to why we should vote for them. I am saving your columns in a notebook. Thank you for giving voice to our thoughts, in such a masterful and thoughtful way.
I have to stop now, or I will start gushing…

lovingmyUSA on October 23, 2009 at 1:29 PM

I have to stop now, or I will start gushing…

lovingmyUSA on October 23, 2009 at 1:29 PM

I think we are all in love….with the eloquent voice of common sense.

publiuspen on October 23, 2009 at 1:46 PM

PS–forgot to add that I am sending a copy of this to Newt…

lovingmyUSA on October 23, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Holy cow, I went over to Newt’s site, and you should see the comments against him! Everyone is saying how they have lost respect for him..
http://newt.org/EditNewt/FeaturedBloggersDB/tabid/193/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/4604/Default.aspx?GroupId=0

lovingmyUSA on October 23, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Here’s the 2010/2012 Republican Party Platform, IN ITS ENTIRETY:

Smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.

All of them. No picking and choosing allowed among these four. Believe in these four things, and you’re in. If you can’t buy in to all four, go find another party.

Limited Government.
Low Taxes.
Strong national defense.
Individual liberty.

So easy even a Continental can do it.

filbert on October 23, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Rogue Stars Rising
posted at 12:13 am on October 23, 2009 by Doctor Zero

Dead on the money.

I have never read a post by DZ that I did not agree with 100% – you, sir (or madam?) are a true patriot.

Ris4victory on October 23, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Me neither.

filbert on October 23, 2009 at 4:54 PM

A-men!

ncborn on October 23, 2009 at 7:00 PM

This is absolutely a magnificent analysis Dr. Zero and I dare say your finest to date on the state of politics in America and the GOP. The electorate and conservatives in particular need to understand the dynamics of politics vs principle. The GOP is a party of politics, as you so astutely surmised in your post, but the conservative grassroots desire a party of principle. What has undermined the GOP’s appeal to the so-called moderate or independent voters is the infiltration of liberals into the GOP party establishment. These liberals have served to be a contradiction which confounds the GOP’s core beliefs and thus we are where we are today. An example of these infiltrators can be found in the establishment in the person of Arlen Specter and in the media with the likes of Andrew Sullivan, who before he became the outright liberal that he always was, was a seriously taken conservative pundit. These people need to be exorcised from the GOP in order for this country to have any chance. Because as you said Dr. Zero, the nation can ill afford two socialist parties governing it.

But back to my broader point about Politics vs. Principle, the GOP today doesn’t oppose Obamacare as a matter of principle but as a matter of the politics of defending major GOP constituency donors, the doctors, the pharmaceuticals, and the insurance companies. It just so happens that the politcs of the debate from the GOP perspective coincide with the principles of conservatives about limited government and individual freedom to make health care choices. In the case of the prescription drug program, which greatly benefitted these same GOP donor constituencies, the politics and the principles did not align.

The state of the two party political system in the age of the trillion dollar budget has been to increase the size and scope of the government further to benefit donor constituencies over in many cases the good of the republic. We stand at major threshold in history, to echo you Dr. Zero and Glenn Beck, where the political class of both parties have lost complete control of their respective core principles and have surrendered to the special interest. What we have today is a governmental structure that is completely biased toward ever increasing government and spending and as long as this structure is in place we will never reclaim the first principles that made this country the hope of the world. The Democrats have put into place over the years a spending mechanism of unabated growth in entitlement spending and no restraint on discretionary spending by virtue of being able to dip their hands into funding steams sold to the public as being used for those entitlement programs. The entitlement programs are the hook that the public will always agree to fund and the open ended fund is the source that fuels the unabated growth of discretionary spending. Not to be outdone, the GOP has contributed to this perverse government structure by turning the tax system into a swiss cheese system with so many loopholes, tax breaks, and credits, that it will hopelessly never balance the government’s finances. The GOP justified all this in the name of “starving the beast” or reducing the size of government, while diminishing the seriousness of deficit spending. This more than anything has undermined the core principle of the GOP as the party of fiscal conservatism. So what you are left with is a government that engages in the most egregious type of financial accounting to mask the certain unsustainable budget future in store for our republic.

We need political leaders of leadership and not of politics. We need leaders today that recognize the sham that is our government finances and compels the political class to make choices against their own self interest in favor of the national interest. The government budget structure has to be changed strategically to end the bias toward ever increasing government to a structure that is controlled and fully funded. To that end the conservative movement strategically has to convey that in order for our societal problems to be addressed, government must be fixed. There are ideas out there to meet this end, such establishing a permanent fund, like in Alaska to change the dynamics of government spending in favor of savings. And to that also the tax code needs to fill the holes in the swiss cheese we have now with a consumption tax, that has everyone contributing to the funding of government. There are I am sure many ideas, but strategically this should be the focus of conservatives to save our union. The structure of the budget and how it is funded has to be addressed ahead of short-term gratification from tax cuts and new government spending programs.

milemarker2020 on October 23, 2009 at 8:27 PM

D∅c, once again you’re inside my freakin’ head! It’s eerie how close your thoughts mirror mine. Your arguments are virtually identical to the ones I would make if, alas, I had the time (and the talent) to actually post them here. Needless to say, if anyone asks me what my thoughts are on almost any issue I can just tell them to go see the D∅ctor.

munchnstuf on October 23, 2009 at 10:58 PM

This post has been promoted to HotAir.com.

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Ed Morrissey on October 24, 2009 at 11:22 PM

Main blogger? I say Dr Zero for President. This blogger has got game. Please come out of the shadows. You have entered the Mark Steyn level of quality commentary. Palin could use an ace speech writer as well.

RobCon on October 25, 2009 at 1:49 PM