Monday, March 29, 2010

NY-23 GOP Chairs Realize It's Hoffman or Owens

Today the Watertown Daily Times has another piece up about Doug Hoffman having the Conservative line for the 2010 NY-23 congressional race. It's a great story for Doug, but I can't help but think the Watertown Daily Times is beating a dead horse. We have read this same story about 100 times over the past few months and it hasn't changed a thing -- Hoffman is running for Congress whether the local Republican leaders sitting in the Ivory Tower want him to or not. This fact was so obvious to Assemblyman Will Barclay that he dropped out of the race for NY-23 because he recognized he couldn't win so long as Doug Hoffman was at the table.

Nancy Martin, the St. Lawrence County GOP Chair, may be the smartest of the Republican bunch who understands that the Republican Party now has an important choice to make. Today she stated clearly that, "Our primary objective is to beat Bill Owens. We can't do that with a split between the Republican line and the Conservative line." And as long as people like Martin continue to concede defeat to Owens unless the Republican and Conservative lines are merged, that means the Republican Party only has two options.

The choice is clear: Republican leaders can run with Doug Hoffman and unite the Republican and Conservative parties to beat Democrat Bill Owens, or they can pick Matt Doheny, a moderate carpetbagger, and know they are handing a victory to Owens. It took poor Don Coon, the Jefferson County GOP Chair, until today to say what Republicans everywhere in NY-23 are thinking. He said simply, "Put Doug Hoffman on the line -- or lose... the fix is in." In fairness Donald Coon doesn't like his choice, but at least he is being honest in his assessment.

The Republican chairs know Hoffman is running and they can't legally stop him from doing so. That's a beautiful thing for American democracy. Does the Republican Party really have any business in telling someone whether they can or can't run as a Conservative anyways? Do the NY-23 Republican leaders want to be remembered as the clan who gave Owens his path to victory in 2010 after having voted for ObamaCare twice?

The holdouts like James Ellis, the Franklin County GOP chair, should just give up their crusade to tear down Hoffman by saying things like, "If you choose otherwise (i.e. Matt Doheny), Doug Hoffman is going to make sure the GOP candidate loses." That's some great spin by Ellis, but does he think voters are stupid? People know that what Ellis is really saying is, "If we pick someone other than Hoffman we are most likely going to lose and it will be all our fault, but I don't want to take the blame so I am setting up Hoffman to be the fall guy."

What Ellis needs to understand is that a lot of people want Hoffman to run as a Conservative if he doesn't run on both party lines. There are a lot of people who would be infuriated with Hoffman if he abandoned the very people who have donated, volunteered, and supported him over the last several months. It's not so hard to understand Hoffman's position when you think it through. It just makes you wonder if Ellis wants Owens to win because he has an ulterior motive.

What Martin and Coon are willing to admit, but what Ellis still refuses to accept, is that Doug Hoffman out-played them in this technical game we call politics. And because Hoffman has the people on his side, he has no reason to abandon them or the Conservative Party. Hoffman is looking to win by addition. Hoffman haters want to force him into losing (and by extension themselves) by subtraction. No one can credibly blame Hoffman for his decision because it is, in fact, the only winning strategy.

Those who don't understand it, or refuse to accept it, just need to get over themselves because the race will be won by Hoffman or Owens. And if the race for NY-23 turns into a 3-way race and you are unhappy with the result look no further than James Ellis and the other holdouts in his tiny corner. The choice is clear and Republicans get to make it.