Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Voting for Nobody in New York

Jerry Stratton, October 20, 2009

If you’re a Republican because you’re a social conservative and not because you’re an economic conservative, a libertarian conservative, or you just enjoy joining clubs, Doug Hoffman in New York’s 23rd district is giving you the perfect opportunity to apply the principles of voting nobody to force the Republican Party to start tilting your way again. Looking at the record of the Republican’s hand-picked candidate, there’s practically no downside to voting Hoffman; even if the Democrat wins because of your vote, the Democrat won’t vote any differently on social conservative issues than Scozzafava.

Now, I say this as someone who doesn’t see Scozzafava’s most-complained-about positions as bad. I’m not a Republican; I tend to vote that way because I support effective self-defense and sane economic policies. Scozzafava has the support of the NRA and has apparently built a strong record in support of effective self-defense. I think that Republicans need to move away from being the party of “no” on gay marriage; either support it or support getting the government out of the business of approving who can and cannot be married. Scozzafava appears to be a pretty good candidate; if she also supported ending prohibition, she’d be a great one.

Some bloggers have been asking, “why doesn’t Sarah Palin get involved in this race?” I think the answer might be similar: on issues that matter, Scozzafava isn’t a bad candidate. Palin is against abortion, but she’s never been in favor of putting women in jail for having abortions. She supports traditional marriage, but vetoed anti-gay-marriage legislation in Alaska when it was unconstitutional. So though she obviously disagrees with Scozzafava on some issues, if she’s going to go against her party (and she’ll probably have to at some point) this is probably not the race to do it.

But the rest of you? If you want the Republican Party to listen to you, vote Nobody. This is your opportunity.

Disclaimer: I say this as someone who donated money to Hoffman’s campaign. I don’t feel too bad about it because Hoffman also seems to be a good candidate on some important issues, but I have learned to be more careful getting involved in local elections I’m not familiar with.

October 22 2009 update: Added a link to Palin weighing in on Hoffman’s behalf. I know some people have been complaining about her taking so long, but I really don’t think she can be faulted for giving a decision like this serious thought. It looks like she’s basing her decision on the fiscal conservatism of the candidates, and I agree that fiscal sanity is something we desperately need today.

October 31, 2009: Follow the Other McCain for excitement in New York!

It’s hard not to be excited watching the House race in New York 23. Just the idea of both Republicans and Democrats getting a wake-up call is thrilling. Also, Hoffman looks a lot like a guy I went to college with and not at all like a guy I’d expect to take on two career politicians. To run a race as a third-party candidate against two entrenched major parties? It’s amazing, but what’s more amazing is that he’s running neck-and-neck to win.

If you want to keep up-to-date on the campaign, The Other McCain is the place to do it. He’s traveled there twice during the campaign on reader donations, and is using his experience both in Washington and as a grass-roots blogger to report and hypothesize on the candidates and players in this election.

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