The National Desk is about to head south, toward home, where I'm awaited by a wife, six kids, two dogs and innumerable cats who haven't seen me in a week. I just filed 1,400 words for the December print edition of The American Spectator -- subscribe now! -- and three weeks of campaign-trail frenzy are over.
Just another hour or so to decompress and pack up the rented Nissan, and I'll be rolling down the highway, dodging the state police radar traps. Heaven knows what the rental agency will say when they see the (minor, superficial) damage to the Nissan caused by my low-speed collision with a deer when I made the mistake of slowing down in Tupper Lake.
That was six days ago. Seems like forever. Please hit the tip jar. And pray.
UPDATE: OK, I've now sent the photos and the editors are talking about how many pages the article will run in the December issue -- subscribe now! -- but it was impossible to summarize in a mere 1,400 words what has happened in NY23. The people involved in the Hoffman campaign were all aware that they were working to develop a new model for connecting Republican candidates to the conservative grassroots.
As I was lashing together my article, it seemed to me that the tipping-point of the Hoffmania momentum shift was Oct. 16, when the Siena poll showed Hoffman surging while Scozzafava had fallen behind the Democrat. That was the same day Michelle Malkin's column called Scozzafava "An ACORN-Friendly, Big Labor-Backing, Tax-and-Spend Radical in GOP Clothing."
Two weeks later, the final Siena poll confirmed what the Hoffman people had known for some time: Dede was heading for a weak third-place finish. So the RINO quit and repaid the GOP Establishment by endorsing Democrat Bill Owens. Exposing RINOs as untrustworthy creatures was worth whatever damage might be suffered by having Owens in Congress -- until next year, when the freshman Democrat will face a re-energized GOP grassroots in NY23.
Go back and read my "Memo to the Grassroots." I didn't know it at the time, but that Hot Air Green Room post was written the same day that Yates Walker decided to hire on as manager of the Plattsburgh office of the Hoffman campaign. Yates was just one of several people who helped turn the Hoffman campaign into such a stunning dynamo of grassroots energy.
Yesterday morning in Saranac Lake, Hoffman spokesman Rob Ryan -- whose insights appeared here more than once, attributed to a "campaign source" -- told me to make sure to say some kind words about the Hoffman staffers. The campaign managers, Dan Tripp and Matt Moran, were in charge of organizing and directing the campaign.
Pollster John McLaughlin and press aide Sandy Caligiore did important work, as did HQ press man Sean Kennedy and logistics operative Sean Mahoney. Tripp's key aides O'Brien Murray and Jake Menges were important, as was Rick Ahearn, who learned to do advance work with Ronald Reagan. Bob Adney ran the Watertown office, while local Tea Party activists Jill Bernstone and Sil Johnson ran the operations in Madison and Oswego counties.
Just got off the phone with Dan Tripp, who would no doubt laugh at the idiocy of Rachel Maddow: This wasn't about a bunch of extremists purging a moderate. To begin with, Dede Scozzafava is no "moderate" and the people who made the Hoffman campaign such a dynamo were no more "extremist" than that dangerous right-winger, Ronald Reagan.
Dan Tripp says the basic problem is that the GOP establishment has gotten used to outsourcing campaign work to high-priced consultants, to the neglect of old-fashioned "boots on the ground" volunteer organizing. And who can disagree? The Republican Party has some analogs of perennial Democratic loser Bob Shrum -- the overpaid "expert" who knows everything except how to win elections -- and these professional losers have been collecting fat fees for failure.
Doug Hoffman was willing to stand up and fight, and by doing so, helped awaken the Ordinary American to the possibility of what can be done if people will take on an active role as citizens, becoming involved with the political process and refusing to let the "experts" boss them around.
As Yates Walker told me over breakfast Wednesday morning at the Blue Moon Cafe on Main Street in Saranac Lake: "I couldn't be prouder." So I'm heading south with my head held high, and with hope in my heart.
The NY23 National Desk is now closed, and the next stop is home. Thanks for your prayers.
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