Conservatives revolt over congressional candidate

Bloggers on the right are even calling Newt Gingrich liberal for backing a Republican who's not conservative enough


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Alex Koppelman
October 16, 2009 6:55PM (UTC)

Breaking news: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the man who gave the country the Contract with America and led the Republican Revolution of 1994, is actually a liberal.

This, at least, is the conclusion at least one conservative blogger is drawing from Gingrich's endorsement of Dede Scozzafava, the Republican candidate in a special election to fill an open congressional seat in upstate New York.

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The special election has seen an odd sort of blurring of the political lines: The right believes Scozzafava is too liberal, and many people are backing a more conservative third-party candidate, Doug Hoffman. Meanwhile, the left believes the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, is too conservative, that even Scozzafava is more liberal. And the race is in a dead heat.

No matter what the Republican base might think of Scozzafava, though, she is the party's candidate, and for that reason she's getting the endorsement of establishment figures. Gingrich gave her his backing on Friday, prompting an angry reaction in the conservative blogosphere.

"Make no mistake about it: Gingrich no longer wants to nor can he be seen as a conservative. He is a political opportunity (sic)," Erick Erickson wrote in a post on Red State. "[F]or the past several weeks there has been an aggressive effort among conservatives to keep Newt on the sidelines. He, instead, decided to pee on the movement .... That aligns Newt with ACORN, which has twice endorsed Dede. That aligns Newt with Planned Parenthood and NARAL, active supporters of Dede .... Today Newt Gingrich stands athwart history and pees on the legacy of 1994, where it is no longer about principles, ideas, ideals, and integrity, but the raw acquisition of power for the sake of power. He aligns with a candidate to the left of the Democrat."

Michelle Malkin chimed in as well, with a column hitting the GOP for picking Scozzafava, and implying Gingrich has aligned himself with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Rev. Al Sharpton. On Twitter, she wrote, "Ask @newtgingrich why he supports a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-bailout, pro-porkulus, pro-Big Labor radical."


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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