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Scozzafava, the moderate banished by conservatives, vows to fight for the soul of the GOP

New York Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava
Last week, she dropped out of the race for New York's 23rd congressional district, throwing her support (with a friendly push from the Obama White House)  to the eventual winner, Democrat Bill Owens. The move was a political stunner, an attempt to thwart conservative Doug Hoffman, who was surging in the polls after attracting support from such heroes of the right as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and setting off a blood feud within the Republican Party between pragmatists and ideologues.

This week, in retaliation, Republicans in the Assembly stripped Dede Scozzafava of her leadership position there.

But the moderate Republican assemblywoman, who counts herself a champion of local politics over ideological purity, says she has no regrets and may even run for Congress again -- as a Republican.

"How can Sarah Palin come out and endorse someone who can't answer some basic questions," Scozzafava said in her first lengthy interview in today's Washington Post. "Do these people even know who they are endorsing?"

Bemused by commentators who now use her name as a verb -- as in Florida Gov. Charlie Crist could be "scozzfaved" as a moderate in the Republican Party's bruising Senate primary fight -- she thinks there are more of her than of them.

"There is a lot of us who consider ourselves Republicans, of the Party of Lincoln," she said. "If they don't want us with them, we're going to work against them."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Gary Walts / Washington Post

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Comments () | Archives (8)

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hmmm... not much of a threat, working against them. She's already doing it.

Uh, she's a liberal RINO, not a moderate Republican. That's why she's gone.

As a resident of NY-23 I need you to understand one thing. Ms. Scozzafava is not a moderate, she is a flaming liberal

in a populist mandated primary, the voters, not sarah palin, chose hoffman over scozzafava.
scozzafava then proved the epithet RINO by endorsing the democrat over the republican.
spector, jeffords, and chaffee did the same.
does dede believe republican voters shouldn't choose republican nominees?
scozzafava, like christie whitman, believes a 'big tent' means everyone who disagrees with them should sit back and shut up, otherwise they'll support the other team.
by their logic, NJ republicans should nominate jon corzine for senator so that the 'republicans' can win the seat. (he'll even pay for it himself)

This confirms my belief that the Democrats have planted ringers in the Republican Party

The soul of the republican party doesn't include being just like the other party. It is o.k. for the parties to be different. What isn't o.k. is for the majority party to stomp all over the minority party and ignore the millions they represent. This is why our country is divided even more so today. As a member of the republican party, I have often voted for the other candidate. It happens when our party doesn't secure a viable candidate that represents my views enough to vote for.

I see Dede's action to endorse the democrat candidate consistent with her much more liberal views which is why she needs to reconsider why she pledges to remain a republican. What is it about the republican party that she thinks closely aligns her views with other members? What I think instead is her determination to blur the lines in an attempt to make one party, forcing other more conservative than her to lose their voice altogether.

Nothing but a RINO!

She is NOT a moderate, she is a liberal, there's a difference.

Republicans will accept, and welcome, someone who agrees with them on most issues – not someone who agrees with Nancy Pelosi 70 to 80 percent of the time.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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