With conspiracy theories being debunked by the dozen (see previous article), it’s increasingly unlikely that a formal challenge to Bill Owens’ election would unseat him, in Conservative insurgent Doug Hoffman’s favor. And, time is of the essence: today is the last day to file a challenge, and Hoffman has talked himself into a corner. He’s alleged that ACORN “stole” the election, whether by tricking Dede Scozzafava into endorsing Owens or by hacking voting machines somehow, and he’s suborned others’ statements that voting machines carried “viruses.” The latter has since become a popular rumor, pushed by hardline internet conservatives.
Hoffman should be asking himself three important questions. First, how can he not file a challenge? Second, how can he not lose it, at the threshold? And, finally, which is a better setup for 2010: a foolhardly, quixotic quest against the entire electoral apparatus of New York, premised on irresponsibly fomenting distrust in a reliable-but-new voting technology, or a simple concession, carrying with it an implied admission that his earlier rhetoric was just wrong? He can emerge from this as an ultimately honest liar, or a dangerous demagogue. Neither is desirable, but either will tell us a lot about his character.