Scozzafava Should Withdraw


By now, it should be clear that Dede Scozzafava cannot win in NY Congressional District 23 (NY-23).  It’s a fairly conservative district, with a history of voting Republican, so there’s no need to run someone just to show the party colors.

With a viable alternative still in the race, and gaining rapidly, Mrs. Scozzafava should put personal ambition aside – for the moment – and withdraw from the race.

Some may want to draw comparisons to what’s happened here, but the comparison doesn’t bear weight.  Colorado has seen its share of bigfooting by out-of-state interests, and not just on the Republican side.  But all of the candidates touted by arms of the national party are at least credible conservatives, who have a chance to earn the nomination in a fair fight, and who poll well against their opposition.  They may be exposed as ineffective campaigners once the race begins, but nobody’s going to confuse them with their Democrat opponents.

Scozzafava was appointed in the run-off because she had long service with the party and good connections.  These are not to be taken lightly, and many people who pay their dues, serving the party and its candidates faithfully, do so with the expectation that they’ll be given consideration when it’s “their turn.”  While that sort of thinking on the national level has given us Bob Dole and John McCain, it’s also the basis for a cohesive party structure.

But it’s also not enough.  As Mark Steyn put it in the Corner, the local Republican Party moguls chose to abandon the two-party system, and give the voters a choice between Dem and Demmer.  It’s an imitation of the sclerotic European party system, where the two main parties are indistinguishable, and in any case, the government is run by the bureaucracy.  The race stands as an example of the abandonment of principle by party powers-that-be who are more concerned about the final score than what that score is supposed to represent.

The Party Elders who put Mrs. Scozzafava in this position will never publicly ask her to step down.  At this point, they have too much of their own credibility at stake, and they absolutely had to know who they were nominating.  Caught between a rock of an unprincipled choice and the hard place of a disgruntled grass roots, no outcome there – short of an increasingly unlikely victory – will be a happy one for them.

Mrs. Scozzafava would be doing them, the party, and ultimately the county, a service by stepping aside.  At this point, who she throws her support behind probably doesn’t much matter.