Over at the Atlantic, Max Fisher writes about my involvement in New York 23.I'm happy to serve as a proxy for you guys, but we need to be honest — you guys did this, not me. I'm sure the Hoffman campaign appreciates your efforts. I very much appreciate your efforts.
At the vanguard of the grassroots campaign has been Erick Erickson, blogger and editor of RedState. Erickson has made NY23 his mission. Erickson called the race "a Hill to Die On" for conservatives. He accused Scozzafava of "Funnel[ing] Campaign Cash to Family." He slammed Newt Gingrich, Scozzafava's most high-profile backer, writing, "Today Newt Gingrich Takes Himself Out of the 2012 Running [...] Gingrich no longer wants to nor can he be seen as a conservative." Erickson called for Scozzafava to withdraw and demanded new national GOP leadership. He even raised money for Hoffman. The wider conservative world took note, and soon endorsements for Hoffman rolled in from Sarah Palin, the Club for Growth, Steve Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, even sitting Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. What was a small Congressional race in upstate New York has become all-out war among Republicans, one which Erickson's grassroots movement seems to have won.
I have said all along, the effort here is, in the best outcome a Hoffman victory, but as long as Scozzafava loses, I'm happy. Note though that Mr. Fischer makes a mistake that suggests he leans left — he calls Scozzafava a "moderate" when her record and positions suggest anything but. Ms. Scozzafava is very much a liberal. Fisher goes on to write:
Republican leadership may be forced to accept Erickson's message that moderate Republicans will be destroyed and only strongly conservative candidates tolerated. If they do, Erickson and his vast grassroots network will have altered the party's electoral orthodoxy.
I'm afraid Mr. Fischer has not paid attention to my writings. I have been clear that I agree with the GOP to the extent that candidates should match their districts. I am not opposed to, for example, a Mark Kirk in Illinois, or a Mike Castle in Delaware, though I won't lift a finger to help him. I understand that to get to 51% we have to have our share of Chris Shays's. But, in races like the Florida Senate and New York 23, when a conservative can win, a conservative should be supported. Conservatives are the base of the Republican Party. I hope I have helped change the party's electoral orthodoxy. Right now it involves telling the base to fork over the dough and shut the hell up.We will no longer stay silent. NY-23 makes very clear that the GOP needs the conservative base more than the conservative base needs the GOP.