11.11.2009

WaPo: "It's a Grand Old Purging as moderate's ouster spotlights Republican dysfunction" (UPDATED)

Well, one thing is for sure, the teabaggers won't be taking any advice from Dede Scozzafava, which is a shame, because she's right.

From the WaPo (h/t AmericaBlog):

"My name's a verb now," she said.

A little-known state assemblywoman with moderate Republican views and a mouthful of a surname, Scozzafava's bid for an open seat in New York's 23rd Congressional District drew trash talk from conservative leaders hoping to purge her from the party, mash notes from White House-dispatched Democratic suitors that included Bill Clinton, and the unblinking gaze of political professionals fascinated by her role as the problem child for a dysfunctional Republican Party.

Even as she now hopes to return to her normal life of local politics, laundry and choir practice for next month's big performance of Bach's Christmas Cantatas, the political forces that swept her up have not entirely let her go. Last week, while watching a news show about the next sharply contested Senate Republican primary in Florida, her parents reported that one of the commentators asked whether the moderate was in peril of getting "Scozzafaved."

[snip]

Scozzafava, who was stripped of her Republican leadership position in the New York State Assembly on Monday, says she has no regrets and even leaves open the possibility of running for the seat again as a Republican. She sees herself as a champion of local expertise over ideological purity.

"How can Sarah Palin come out and endorse someone who can't answer some basic questions," Scozzafava asked. "Do these people even know who they are endorsing?"

Those conservative forces now descend on Florida, where former House speaker Marco Rubio, who on Monday received the endorsement of the Club for Growth, might shove aside centrist Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once on John McCain's short list for running mate. And Scozzafava has a warning.

"There is a lot of us who consider ourselves Republicans, of the Party of Lincoln," she said, her face now flush. "If they don't want us with them, we're going to work against them."

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The GOP isn't taking heed of what happened to them in NY-23 last week. In fact teabaggers are already creating their own "Tea Party" in Florida.

UPDATE I:

Dede Scozzafava had more to say on CNN this morning, including that "Big-Name GOPers Who Backed Conservative In NY-23 Were 'Disingenuous'" (via TPM):

Dede Scozzafava, the former GOP candidate in the special NY-23 congressional race who dropped out and endorsed her Democratic opponent after a parade of national Republicans abandoned Scozzafava in favor of a Conservative Party candidate (who lost to the Democrat), gave CNN her first national television interview since the election this morning. And she had some tough words for big-name Republicans, like Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin, who backed her conservative opponent.

"They had no understanding of who I was and no understanding really of the issues that drove the district," Scozzafava said, adding that "for people to come out and be endorsing a candidate in a race in a place that they knew nothing about, I thought it was pretty disingenuous."

Scozzafava also addressed the use of her name as a verb -- which has shown up in the Urban Dictionary in the context of moderate purges. "When I heard that being used, I had to chuckle a little bit," she said.

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