Battle Cry: If Not Now, When?


Erick Erickson urges Senate Republicans to fight ObamaCare with every parliamentary means available:

Some might argue that Republicans should not look “obstructionist.” But they are wrong — the vast majority of Americans don’t like this bill and don’t want it to pass. The Tea Party movement was the upheaval of millions of ordinary Americans who are scared and angry about the out-of-control growth of the federal government, federal spending, and the national debt. They want to see the Republicans obstructing passage of this bill and if they think the Republicans are not fighting with every tool they have at their disposal, then any advantage that the Republicans think they will get in next year’s elections from such a bill being passed will evaporate.

Erick makes reference to the Doug Hoffman campaign in NY23, which is the subject of my 1,400-word article in the December-January issue of The American Spectator:

Yates Walker ate breakfast in the Blue Moon Café on Main Street in Saranac Lake, New York, on the morning of November 4, and delivered an after-action report on the battle that had just been fought in the upstate 23rd District.
“We took a CPA from 9 percent to 46 percent in two and a half weeks,” said Walker, a young veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division who had been hired 18 days earlier to work on Doug Hoffman’s congressional campaign staff. “I couldn’t be prouder.” . . .
Hoffman’s surprising surge in the closing weeks of the three-way special election in upstate New York had, in Walker’s words, turned the bespectacled accountant into “an electric symbol of conservatism.” . . .

You can read the whole thing. That article was written in the Buffalo airport, where I had these thoughts:

As I was lashing together my article, it seemed to me that the tipping-point of the Hoffmania momentum shift was Oct. 16, when the Siena poll showed Hoffman surging while Scozzafava had fallen behind the Democrat. That was the same day Michelle Malkin’s column called Scozzafava “An ACORN-Friendly, Big Labor-Backing, Tax-and-Spend Radical in GOP Clothing.”
Two weeks later, the final Siena poll confirmed what the Hoffman people had known for some time: Dede was heading for a weak third-place finish. So the RINO quit and repaid the GOP Establishment by endorsing Democrat Bill Owens. Exposing RINOs as untrustworthy creatures was worth whatever damage might be suffered by having Owens in Congress — until next year, when the freshman Democrat will face a re-energized GOP grassroots in NY23.
Go back and read my “Memo to the Grassroots.” I didn’t know it at the time, but that Hot Air Green Room post was written the same day that Yates Walker decided to hire on as manager of the Plattsburgh office of the Hoffman campaign. Yates was just one of several people who helped turn the Hoffman campaign into such a stunning dynamo of grassroots energy. . . .

Those of you who followed my coverage of the NY23 campaign may remember Yates Walker from this video:

The meaning of NY23 has been twisted beyond recognition by the MSM, as I explain in the Spectator article:

Op-ed pundits and TV talking heads portrayed the battle in the North Country as evidence of an intraparty schism, a Republican “civil war,” but in fact the ideological factor of right vs. center was less important than the uprising of the party’s rank and file against a GOP establishment that grassroots activists consider out of touch, politically inept, and hamstrung by favor-swapping among well-connected Republican insiders. . . .
One GOP Internet operative of libertarian leaning saw the lesson of the NY23 fight as a training exercise for the bigger battle in the 2010 midterm elections, comparing it to the way Web-savvy liberals lined up behind Howard Dean during the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries. “Right now, we’re where the Democrats were with Dean in 2003,” the Republican operative said, remarking on the left’s online advantage that the GOP has struggled to overcome. “We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet.”

Perhaps the most important lesson of NY23 is the value of time. That wild three-week Hoffman surge that began in mid-October produced spectacular results, but it was just a little too late.

Had more conservatives jumped onto the Hoffman bandwagon in August — when Erick Erickson did — maybe Scozzafava could have been driven out of the race a couple of weeks earlier. Instead, she got about $1 million from the RNC and NRCC and hung in until the last weekend before Election Day, then endorsed Bill Owens, making just enough difference to elect the Democrat by a margin that, in the end, amounted to about 3,200 votes.

A similar situation exists with ObamaCare, where the White House and Harry Reid (whose poll numbers are in the toilet) want to hurry the bill through the Senate during the holidays, when most people aren’t paying attention. Erick Erikson is urging Republicans to fight now — delay the bill, at risk of being called “obstructionist” — to give the grassroots more time to put heat on the issue. He quotes Winston Churchill:

If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival.

The odds still favor opponents of ObamaCare, and the National Taxpayers Union is calling for Tea Party people to attend a Code Red Rally at the Capitol on Tuesday with Laura Ingraham.

Where will you be Tuesday? Are you ready to fight? If not now, when?

(Cross-posted at The Other McCain.)

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