Doug Hoffman, Sarah Palin’s candidate to fill the congressional vacancy in New York’s 23rd district, ducks another debate, while his opponents clash in Plattsburgh. As the moderator made clear, Hoffman was in Plattsburgh that night, with nothing on his schedule, but chose to stay out of the fray. Truly, Mr. Hoffman is not your average politician. This audio just became available today; updates as I listen.
UPDATE: through Twitter, of all things, we hear Hoffman had a prior commitment to a NY Right to Life “town hall,” but will debate tonight. I don’t really think it’s a whole lot better for a congressional candidate to choose a “red meat,” hyper-partisan, culture war function over speaking to his constituents about local issues, but I suppose if you’d prefer to be represented by an ideologue, you now have a choice.
Update #2: The Question:
“National power brokers are focusing on this election. How will you prevent this from distracting attention away from local issues?”
Bill Owens: “I always represent The District.” Scozzafava: “My loyalty is to only one audience, and that’s the residents of the 23rd congressional district. One of my opponents, Mr. Hoffman, has signed all sorts of pledges that really do not look out for the best interests of the residents of this area. Who’s he playing to? [. . .] I wish the third candidate was here as well, so we could all answer the questions together, instead of being inundated with 30-second commercials that are distorting and telling lies. The issues are too important and there’s too much at stake.”
And that’s it, isn’t it? Hoffman is running a Modern Campaign in the Rove model — smears, distortions, and no clash on the issues. This election isn’t just a referendum on the direction of the Republican Party; it’s a chance to choose between functional, issue-oriented politics, and the same old culture war rhetoric. The former deserves to lose — hard. But will it?