It has been widely reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) gave Deirdre ("Dede") Scozzafava (R-WFP) $900,000 for her abortive campaign in NY-23. It's also worth noting that the Republican National Committee gave her at least $5000 as late as October 19.
But considering the way that money was used, coming at the expense of Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, the true cost of those donations was actually $2.7 million and $15,000, respectively. That's the amount of damage done to Hoffman, plus the amount of damage that he could have done to Owens, plus the amount that he had to raise to defend himself.
Then again, the real cost cannot be measured in dollars. That cost comes in loss of respect for the Republican Party from its conservative base. It comes in the lost opportunity of a sweep in this election cycle. And it comes in the loss of Doug Hoffman's voice on the national stage, replaced by yet another vote for the agenda of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama.
But had the NRCC and RNC gotten their way, the result would have been the same. Had talk radio hosts Jeri and Fred Thompson, Mark Levin, Hannity and the conservative blogosphere not gotten involved, Scozzafava may have upset Owens for the seat. As shown by her endorsement of him, however, she would have supported the Obama agenda, and may even have switched parties.
While I am pleased as anyone else that union shill Scozzafava was turned aside, none of us can honestly say we're happy his opponent will be slithering about the halls of Congress for a year. A Hoffman victory would have made him the incumbent, and incumbency improves the electoral odds for any candidate. A victory would have made Hoffman a spokesman for the resurgent conservative movement.
Luckily, we don't need one.