Conservative Party congressional candidate Doug Hoffman is a mild-mannered accountant. Therefore, instead of campaigning against him, Democrats are now trying to make the 23rd District special election a crusade against various right-wing bogeymen.
"I'm sure [Hoffman is] a nice guy, but imagine him being able, if he won this election, to take issue with any position that Rush Limbaugh has," Vice President Joe Biden proclaimed this morning at a rally where both Hoffman and Democratic candidate Bill Owens were mere asterisks in the footnotes of the speechifying.
Owens himself delivered a speech that condemned "special interests" and "partisan ideology," while pledging to "fight for our local dairy farmers" among much else. But the most remarkable aspect of the rally was how much it focused on external enemies.
As Dave Weigel of the Washington Independent notes, Biden also took shots at Sarah Palin, whose Oct. 22 endorsement of Hoffman seems to have turned the tide, eventually driving liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava to quit the race. About 200 Democrats and 30 media personnel turned out for this morning's Biden/Owens rally.
The tone of the rally was set by New York Democratic Party State Chairwoman June O'Neill, who warned of "right-wing extremists who have brought their hate-mongering tactics to this district. . . . We cannot afford to let the right-wing extremists make a point in this district. . . . The right wing is not right."
O'Neill then named an unholy trinity -- Rush Limbaugh ("boo!"), Sean Hannity ("boo!") and Glenn Beck ("boo!") -- of evil right-wing demons whom she accused of having possessed the soul of Doug Hoffman, requiring an exorcism by Dede Scozzafava. (I exaggerate only slightly.)
"We have to stop the madness," O'Neill told the crowd, evidently oblivious to the possibility that she might help "stop the madness" merely by keeping her mouth shut.
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