Last week’s NY-23 race, hilarious while in progress, gets a pretty funny sidebar in the Washington Post‘s follow-up with Dede Scozzafava, who was hounded out of the race by national conservatives and whose endorsement of Democrat Bill Owens probably won him the election.
The Post says during the late campaign Scozzafava “heard conservative robo-calls in the district describing her as a ‘child killer,’ a ‘lesbian lover’ and a ‘homo.'” (Scozzafava has made similar claims in the past, which we have not been able to confirm, having only heard her called “bitch,” “cow,” etc). After George Pataki endorsed her Conservative opponent, Doug Hoffman, Scozzafava “cried,” and “sleep wouldn’t come, and she leafed through old Newsweeks without processing the words and prayed for perspective.” Wait, it gets better…
When she suspended her campaign, the Post hears from Scozzafava, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele “placed no condolence call,” but Owens phoned to tell her, “I hope you’re doing okay.” The national Democrats were behind this, of course, but the spurned Scozzafava was eager to hear their pretty words.
When Andrew Cuomo called, she told him, “You’re probably the next governor.” Chuck Schumer also reached out in her hour of need, and tells the Post, in a perhaps ungentlemanly manner, “she had to be convinced that her endorsement was make or break, and I believed it was.”
Finally Democratic Congressman Steve Israel told her, “at Mullin’s Family Restaurant, where the menus read, ‘It’s All Good,'” that “he would make sure that the local Democratic leaders embraced her.”
That seems to have been that. Scozzafava didn’t return Bill Clinton’s text message — perhaps suspecting that he would use his famous oral skills to try and sway her — but decided during choir practice (!) that she would endorse Owens. Regarding her formal endorsement, Scozzafava admits former New York State Democratic Chairman June O’Neill “had written a little bit and I revised it.”
Scozzafava has since “resigned” her GOP leadership role in the state assembly, but we’re sure she’ll find her political footing soon enough. And she may not be the only one. While hardcore conservatives remain convinced “they’re fresh off a semi-victory in NY-23” and seek to purge moderate Republicans like Scozzafava from the party, their refugees may respond to this heavy weather by tacking toward a more favorable port. If Democrats can tolerate, albeit barely, a Joe Lieberman, why wouldn’t they go for a Dede Scozzafava? As the Post article — and history — shows, the old expression “politics makes strange bedfellows” often refers to a rebound.