She proved to be a disaster for the Republican Party’s presidential ticket in 2008, but now, for some reason, Sarah Palin seems to be calling the shots in the Republican Party. Just days after Palin announced her opposition to a Republican candidate for Congress, accusing that candidate of being too moderate to be acceptable for the GOP, that candidate has effectively dropped out of the race.
The winner of the special election next week to replace Republican John McHugh, leaving New York’s 23rd district seat in Congress to become Secretary of the Army, was always going to be a right winger. Democrats nominated right winger Bill Owens. Republicans nominated right winger Dede Scozzafava. The Conservative Party nominated right winger Doug Hoffman.
Republican Party zealots from outside the 23rd congressional district were outraged, however, that Scozzafava was not as extreme as they would like. They were embarrassed that Bill Owens managed to outflank Scozzafava, with positions further to the right. So, under Sarah Palin’s leadership, Republicans fled their own candidate and started giving more support to Hoffman.
The issues most in question: Marriage equality and reproductive choice. Sarah Palin could not tolerate support for equality and acceptance of any abortion at all within the Republican Party, and so she led the charge to squash the moderation. Thanks to Palin’s efforts, money from outside the district flooded to Hoffman.
Could Sarah Palin do to the Republican Party in general what she just did to the Republican Party in the 23rd congressional district in New York? If so, we may be in for a particularly dangerous presidential election in 2012.