Conor J Rogers, Editor-In-Chief
Ideology: Republican | Writing from: Washington, DC
We knew Sarah Palin was full of surprises. America was introduced to her as a complete shock; she jolted the political world again over the summer with her resignation and took control of the healthcare debate with two words: ‘death panels”
In what was perhaps the only thing that could possibly be louder than Palin’s relative silence after her ‘death panels’ torpedo at the healthcare reform bill; the former Vice Presidential nominee and her political action committee ‘SarahPAC’ endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over GOP-approved ‘moderate’ Dede Scozzfava in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.
Along with the former Governor’s endorsement, came the largest push yet by the PAC to mobilize support for the conservative insurgent.
The endorsement was shocking in its own right, but what happened after sent shockwaves through the political world – and surely a sent a shiver down the spine of the Republican National Committee.
Mrs. Palin’s endorsement came at late at night on October 28th. Less than 72 hours later, after she put the pressure on, dozens of Congressmen, Senators and aspiring Presidential candidates followed her lead. Like the powerful political storm that she is, Sarah Palin broke the conservative levees: the money, support, spotlight and campaign power came pouring in to Hoffman and swept Dede Scozzafava away helplessly. Only a matter of hours after Sarah Palin’s endorsement, Scozzafava has dropped out of the race completely. Hoffman, Palin’s candidate of choice, now rides a tidal wave of right-of-center support.
Never before in recent political memory has a candidate, (and a political party) been so publicly humiliated. Immediately following her loss in the 2008 election, then-Governor Palin, a speculated 2012 Presidential candidate, was asked what her future political ambitions were. She replied that she’d work to elect good conservatives everywhere, regardless of political party – a comment many doubted. In nominating Scozzafava, the Republican Party apparently didn’t take Palin at her word, and took the tea party movement head-on.
Many in the punditry, and especially the mainstream media, have been pushing polls that showed Palin’s favorability ratings dropping and suggesting her star may be fading. In a move that only Sarah Palin could pull off – endorsing a candidate outside her own party, and taking out the establishment candidate – she proved why she’s still around, and reminds us how she got here.
In their relative shock following Palin’s endorsement, the national media seems to forget how Mrs. Palin became Governor of Alaska in the first place: not by defeating Democrats, but by systematically tearing down the Last Frontier’s Republican establishment. Though knocking off Republicans by other Republicans is something new for national politics, Dede Scozzafava now joins half a dozen Alaskan Republicans in Sarah Palin’s trophy case.
The Republican Party (and conservative Democrats) should take note. Sarah Palin will be campaigning for conservatives not Republicans, and the long-standing war between the roused tea party wing and so-called “RINOs” has claimed its first casualty in assemblywoman Scozzafava.
Sarah Palin took down the Alaskan Republican ‘old boys’ network’ as a small-town mayor. Now a national figure with a fundraising base and an army of tea partiers, Sarah Palin’s approval ratings matter little as per her role in American politics. To those wondering what Sarah Palin was planning on doing after she resigned as Alaska’s Governor – you have your answer now: She’s coming to a congressional race near you.
UPDATE: Dede Scozzafava has endorsed Democrat Bill Owens following her resignation (Nov 1, 2009. 3PM)