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November 05, 2009


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Northern NY IS conservative, but in temperment, not necessarily in partisan ideology. It's an agricultural region. Farming is an inherently pragmatic profession; you can't tell mother nature it's "not supposed to snow." NNYers may be tempermentally conservative (it's only moderate or conservative Democrats they'll elect) but they don't let ideology strangle pragmatism. Hoffman was an ideological candidate who not only knew nothing about the local issues people cared about, but didn't even pretend to care.

Ultimately, the far right misjudged the electorate. They claim that GOP leaders picked an "out of touch" nominee, but that claim falls flat when you consider that she was the only one of the three who'd actually ever been elected to anything. She was the only one who had a proven record of voters supporting her. I know you don't like her, but you don't receive the approval of the region's voters on six separate occasions if you're as out-of-touch as you and others paint her.


And although I'm not a huge fan of Joe Bruno's style, the man is politically very astute and I think he recognized a lot of the same things I did.

The only way for Owens to win was for independents to go overwhelmingly for him. And there's where the hard right agenda fails (just as the hard left usually does). It fires up the base, but alienates moderates. Even in a district with a near majority (47%) GOP registration, it didn't work.

This can work in a three- or more-person race where you can win with a small percentage but fails in a two-person race.


Both Republicans won in VA and NJ because they weren't dogmatic. Christie in NJ was a moderate Republican of the sort you'd revile. The VA candidate was conservative, but not strident in his rhetoric and didn't talk like abortion was the only issue of concern. I suspect you would've accused him of hiding his conservativism. But at the end of the day, people are interested in issues, not labels or dogma. The "fascist Bu$hitler" nonsense didn't prevent his election, nor did the "Obama is a socialist" fraud prevent his. Nor, I hasten to add, did the "Owens=Pelosi" stuff.

Bob Conner

I'm not suggesting that pro-life candidates need to make abortion a big part of their campaigns, just that they should be able to defend their position if asked. As for Hoffman, I don't see him as being as "far-right" as you do. His stated views were not much different from John McHugh's. If the GOP had nominated a pro-life candidate instead of Scozzafava, I think he or she would very likely have won.


I can't speak for the voters of NY's 23rd but what really raised eyebrows for me in regards to Hoffman was that it SEEMED like he was more concerned about airtime w/ the national medi than, *gasp*, actually talking to the very constitutents you hope to represent.

Bob Conner

I agree that was a problem for him. I guess it was a Catch-22. He wasn't well informed about local issues, which local media (especially Watertown Times) was anxious to point out, which made him less willing to talk to them. I can't get too mad at him, though. He was a guy who thought Scozzafava was too liberal and stepped up for a longshot campaign.


Its not a Catch-22 if one is being invited to discuss said issues, particularly in a public forum, & repeatedly declines to do so. By being silent, he basically conceded the middle to his opponent by default.

A Congressman's entire reason for being is to address issues & attempt to fix the problems effecting your constitutents. If they cannot be bothered to listen to them in any meaningful manner, is it really the right job for them?

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This blog is by Bob (Robert C.) Conner, a longtime journalist and author of the 2018 novel "The Last Circle of Ulysses Grant" published by Square Circle Press, and a 2013 biography "General Gordon Granger" published by Casemate. He is currently writing a biography of the Kansas abolitionist Col. James Montgomery. His Civil War blog can be found at robertcconnerauthor.blogspot.com
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