The unlikely battlefield of NY-23 is taking on epic proportions. What's interesting about it is that it's the first time the tea-party base has declared a real war on the GOP. I guess you could see the Palin nomination as the first real swipe at the Republican leadership, but it was an attempt by the GOP leadership to coopt the base fringe. This time, there's no attempt, just a brutal civil war.

According to Michelle Malkin, Scozzafava is a "radical leftist." What makes her a radical leftist?

Malkin firstly lists her support for abortion rights and marriage equality. Since abortion rights command around 50 percent of the country, and since either civil unions or civil marriage are backed by two-thirds of Americans, that would imply that half the country are "radical leftists". Yes, Scozzafava backed a bank bailout, some tax hikes, and the stimulus package. But is it now "radical leftism" to believe that the government has a reason to run deficits in the sharpest downturn in decades? Is it "radical leftism" to believe that, without deep cuts in entitlements and defense, tax hikes are essential for fiscal balance?

More to the point, Scozzafava is actually on the right of her party ... in New York State:

Scozzafava’s score puts her in the 58th percentile of her party, which makes her slightly more conservative than the average Republican legislator in Albany, so she’s a conservative in her party.

For example, she’s more conservative than James Tedisco, who lost a special election to succeed Kirsten Gillenbrand in the 20th District (score: -.22 and in the most liberal fifth of the party). In the legislature as a whole, she’s in the 83rd percentile, which makes her a conservative in Albany in general. Compare her, say, to Republican Thomas Morahan of the 38th Senate District (Rockland County, just across the border from the New Jersey town where I went to high school). He scores a very liberal -0.54, or in the most liberal 2% of his party. No wonder that his party affiliations include the Working Families Party, which is closely associated with organized labor (and ACORN). So she’s no Morahan.

On the past endorsements of the Working Families Party, Malkin has a point. But much of it is related to Scozzafava's husband, not the candidate herself. And the association with ACORN is just that: an association, or in Malkin's prose: "a socialist outfit whose political DNA is intertwined with scandal-ridden ACORN." And the WFP is endorsing the Democrat in the current race.

What I take from this is pretty simple: as the GOP is now constituted, it will cease to exist in the West and the Northeast. It will struggle in the Midwest. And the base wants to reinforce these trends, buoyed by recent polls that show a slight uptick in the label "conservative."

As I have said, it will get worse before it gets better.

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