Saturday, October 31, 2009

NY23: Saturday notebook

If you run a hotel, there's only one way to keep me from poaching your lobby Wi-Fi: Don't have Wi-Fi in your lobby. Somebody here in Lake Placid must have been warned I was coming, so instead of uploading the cool photos I've taken, I'm using the hotel's lobby computer, which doesn't have a slot for me to insert the chip from my camera. Sigh.

The Poacher King's original plan is thus foiled, but I'm thinking I'll have my revenge when I return to poach their free continental breakfast.

The cool news? Instapundit linked my American Spectator item about Democrats pouring in the big money against Doug Hoffman. I don't think it will be enough to elect Bill Owens, and I don't think Joe Biden will make a difference, either. Go back and check the 2008 Democratic primaries. The 23rd District was Hillary territory. Biden carries no weight up here. But I'll try to go see Joe, just in case he makes another one of his classic gaffes.

Friday afternoon, when word got around that NRCC was pulling its resources out of Dede Scozzafava's campaign, I overheard a guy explaining to a buddy what Team Hoffman's basic strategy had been from the start: "Kill Dede and we win."

Simple, brutal and true: The 23rd District is overwhelmingly Republican, and the Hoffman people knew that if Scozzafava couldn't get Republican votes, she couldn't win. Once it became apparent to Republican voters that Dede was a guaranteed loser, the momentum shift to Hoffman was inevitable.

This is where Newt Gingrich really exposed his cluelessness, parroting misleading talking-points provided by the equally clueless Republican "insiders" who handpicked Scozzafava and wasted hundreds of thousands of RNC/NRCC dollars on her doomed campaign.

Like a lot of old, successful guys, Gingrich has evidently gotten into the habit of getting advice from two categories of people:
  • Old friends, like Newt's buddy Tom Reynolds, the upstate New York Republican kingpin whose involvement in the Scozzafava pick was revealed this week by Dan Riehl. It's easy to picture Gingrich on the phone listening to Reynolds justify his own choice of Dede. Newt knows Tom from back in the day, trusts his old buddy's judgment and fails to realize that, alas, Tom's lost the magic touch. (Assuming, that is, that Reynolds actually ever had the magic touch, but that's a tangent I don't want to explore at 4 a.m.)
  • Hired sycophants. Here's the real problem with a guy like Newt. When you get that big, it's hard to find employees who'll call bulls*** on you. Newt's the former Speaker of the House and still, a decade after leaving Congress, one of the most important people in the Republican Party. I don't know any of Gingrich's personnel, but I know plenty of Very Important People in Washington who are surrounded by staffers whose obsequious fawning would bring a blush of shame to the cheeks of a eunuch in the court of an ancient Persian sultan.
Like so much of what's wrong with the Beltway GOP, then, Gingrich's botched call on NY23 is as much a matter of organizational dynamics as anything else. And you can be sure that none of Gingrich's staffers will send Newt a link to this blog post. The cocoon of obsequious second-rate yes-men around a Big Shot ensures that the one criticism the Big Shot never hears is, "Hey, boss, you've got too many obsequious second-rate yes-men on the payroll."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not being judgmental. If I ever get to be such a Big Shot that publishers are offering me fat contracts just to put my name on a book cover -- Seven Keys to a Conservative Colon: The High-Fiber Path to Renewing America and Restoring Digestive Health, by Newt and Calista Gingrich -- I'll probably hire an army of sycophantic staffers to tell me I'm always right.

But it's not just the hired sycophants. Gingrich is also listening to the wrong bunch of old friends. Newt knows David Keene at ACU, who could have set him straight about the situation in NY23, and surely Newt's shared a few TV studio green rooms with Michael Barone and John Fund, either of whom could have clued him in.

Instead, Gingrich was all over Fox News, blabbering second-hand disinformation that directly contradicted the facts Team Hoffman kept hammering home: Dede was a liberal and a mismatch for the conservative 23rd District; she had practically zero grassroots support among area Republicans; she had a disastrously liberal voting record in the New York state assembly; she had only gotten the nomination because of an insider backroom deal; and, most importantly, she couldn't win.

By trying to depict Hoffman as a "spoiler," Gingrich was 180 degrees out of phase with the truth: Scozzafava is actually the "spoiler" in this race. If you find anybody willing to bet money that Dede will break 20% on Tuesday, take that bet. She could finish as low as 15%, but the one thing I can guarantee she won't do is win.

Maybe Gingrich backed Scozzafava because she reminds him of his favorite subject: Dede is history.

Well, what the heck was that long digression into punditry all about? Just more gibberish to chase aways snoopy liberals, you see. Stretch it out for a few paragraphs so the superficial surfers will say, "No news here," and click away. Then it's safe to divulge the real stuff that only hard-core readers will stick around long enough to find:
  • Former Gov. George Pataki will campaign with Doug Hoffman today in NY23. Last I heard -- and the plans were still being arranged late Friday -- Pataki and Hoffman will do some morning photo ops down around Syracuse and then have an afternoon event in Plattsburgh. I'm guessing probably they'll also do something in Watertown and maybe do a visit to Saranac Lake, but we'll see.
  • Scott O'Grady, the hero pilot shot down over Bosnia, will be coming to the district to appear with Hoffman at local VFW and American Legion events.
  • John Rich of the country-rock duo Big And Rich will have an event Monday in Watertown for Hoffman.
  • With all that big Democratic money to throw around, Bill Owens has no shortage of ground troops in the district. He had a half-dozen of them (who looked like graying refugees from Woodstock nation) doing a honk-and-wave on State Route 3 near the Lowe's hardware store in Plattsburgh. Where are the brigades of young conservative hottie volunteers to counter these lefty geezer squads?
  • Naftali Bendavid's doing the "Republicans divided" thing at the Wall Street Journal. "Republicans divided" is every liberal's favorite headline. The MSM always blame the Right-Wing Extremist Fringe Kook Brigades for any division in the GOP. The truth, however, is that the RINOs are the real problem.
  • Ali Akbar (yes, that's his real name) got some razzing Friday after Allahpundit linked his exclusive, but didn't name him, instead describing him only as "bloggers in the area." Feel the love!
What else? Oh, any young conservatives who want to volunteer for the Hoffman campaign should call the Plattsburgh office and ask for Yates. He was a linebacker in high school and was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. [Joke removed at request of Yates: "Dude, I thought it was funny, until I found out you were serious."]

Speaking of singles, Monique Stewart, meet Steve Foley of Minority Report, a blogger after your own heart. (Hey, the Rev. Moon doesn't have a monopoly on this sight-unseen matchmaking stuff, y'know.)

The reason I'm awake at this ungodly hour? On the way back from Plattsburgh, Ali and I stopped by The Waterhole on Main Street in Saranac Lake, where they've got a pool table and a jukebox full of classic rock tunes, plus enough Johnny Cash to keep Ali happy (he's from Texas and a total fiend for Johnny Cash). We got back to the house here in Lake Placid about 6:30 p.m. Everybody ate pizza and I fell asleep on the sofa.

Then, about 11 p.m., I was awakened by Yates knocking on the window. He was locked out. He wanted to see if anyone was up for going to have beers, but everybody was asleep, so Yates booked it back to Plattsburgh. After about an hour, I still wasn't able to get back to sleep and so . . .

Well, birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, and bloggers gotta blog. Even if they can't poach WiFi. But it's nearly dawn now, and soon they'll be cranking up that free continental breakfast. I've spent so much time here in the lobby, now the manager smiles and waves when he walks past. I am the King, baby.


  1. Hey RSM: Thanks for doing this yeoman's work. I'm really enjoying reading the journal entries on this race.

  2. I had a paper route in high school and was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and 173d Airborne. I'm 62, single, dark hair, with streaks of gray, brown eyes. If some hot chicks show up, can I join in on the sinful temptations of lust and fornication?

  3. Lets hope we can win this. I am concerned about the Corzine , Christie race in NJ and I will be a phone volunteer tommorow for Christie. Corzine is as sleazy as it gets and NJ Voters are dumb as it gets. Stacy FYI. You need a laptop or a small netbook. You can access most hotel wifi in the parking lot and the password is usually " Guest".

  4. This Hoffman situation is heartening but let's look at the big picture

    The RINOs.
    Look at what's being presented as Presidential material for the repub's in 2012.
    Why not get it over with and find the Anti Christ (if it's not BO) and run him? At least the RNC will get the win. Even if it does plunge the whole mess down the cosmic toilet.

  5. By Doug having Scott O'Grady do some stumping for him is very smart. This guy is a real patriot, a regular guy and a staunch supporter of the Constitution. Keep up the good work Mr. McCain!

  6. Beto_Ochoa: Don't give The Stupid Party any ideas. In their world, you suggestion makes sense.