Friday, October 23, 2009

Rogue Stars Rising

From HotAir by Doctor Zero

Two stories are unfolding out in the 23rd Congressional District of New York. In the foreground, we have the three-way contest between hapless Republican Dede Scozzafava, upstart Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, and some generic Democrat whose name no one can remember. This race is a microcosm of our strange politics, which have become like a speeding car with jammed door locks, cut brake lines, a dead steering wheel, and air vents that pump nitrous oxide. Everyone is dimly aware the country is heading for the edge of a cliff, but no one can muster the energy to search for alternatives.


The other story, playing out in the background, is the second act of one political saga beginning, even as another draws to a close. The rising star of Sarah Palin passes over the melancholy ruins of Newt Gingrich, who spent the last of his credibility endorsing Scozzafava. The Republican Party of Gingrich dies, unloved and irrelevant. Something else is replacing it. The new opposition party is not guaranteed of victory – such guarantees are issued to no one. Palin may never choose to campaign for an office beneath its banner, but she’s an integral part of its identity. She’ll certainly never be a governor, or anyone’s vice presidential candidate, again. For the Republicans, it will never be 1996 or 2006 again. There’s no more room for school-lunch debacles, government shutdown miscalculations, Trent Lott, George Allen, Mark Foley… or Newt Gingrich.

It pains me to say this about Gingrich. He accomplished some amazing things, in the mid-90s. He’s a smart man who has offered some interesting ideas, in his second life as a conservative intellectual. The problem is that Newt is a political tactician, and in the final stages of a losing war against collectivist ruin, the time has come to focus on grand strategy, rather than tactics. The second decade of this century will be an existential war for the American soul, not a police action.


Palin and Hoffman are among the first of those stars. She’s taking a risk by endorsing him, since her detractors would savor his defeat. That’s good. America needs risk-takers, not undertakers. Newt Gingrich conceded far too many defeats before the race in New York-23 had even begun, by settling for a candidate he could live with, instead of backing the one New York – and America – really needs.

Read the whole thing here


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