WaPo Charges 'Grand Old Purging' of Scozzafava Shows 'Republican Dysfunction'

The Washington Post is still having trouble with how the voters rejected their favorite Democrats. The bias erupted in a front page headline on Tuesday:

'Scozzafava' turns into epithet

It's a Grand Old Purging as moderate's ouster spotlights Republican dysfunction

Actually, that could be the motto of the Washington Post: "Spotlighting Republican Dysfunction Since 1968." Reporter Jason Horowitz brought that same jaunty liberal attitude into the body of the story:

A little-known state assemblywoman with moderate Republican views and a mouthful of a surname, Scozzafava's bid for an open seat in New York's 23rd Congressional District drew trash talk from conservative leaders hoping to purge her from the party, mash notes from White House-dispatched Democratic suitors that included Bill Clinton, and the unblinking gaze of political professionals fascinated by her role as the problem child for a dysfunctional Republican Party.

Readers are urged to dab the corners of their eyes with a tissue as Scozzafava is persecuted by the Palins and Becks:

At her desk, with a fuzzy elephant face down on a bookshelf behind her, she recalled the exhausting end days of her campaign. Violet semicircles hung below her teary eyes as she recounted how Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and other conservative leaders excoriated her for less-than-orthodox positions on gay rights, abortion and organized labor. Her nose reddened as she recalled her abrupt exit from the special election to replace John M. McHugh, whom President Obama had appointed as secretary of the Army earlier in the year.

"Less than orthodox"? In fact, her positions on abortion and "gay marriage" are quite orthodox – for a liberal Democrat. Horowitz then merges all the conservative critiques of Scozzafava, fair and unfair, sourced and (ahem) very loosely sourced, into a messy mix tape of nastiness:

She heard through friends that Palin insinuated she had been "anointed" by a "political machine" because county chairs handpicked her as the nominee. Beck denounced her as "ACORN-supported" and an "Obama-Lite Republican." Former House majority leader Dick Armey's group FreedomWorks mobilized against her. She said she heard conservative robo-calls in the district describing her as a "child killer," a "lesbian lover" and a "homo."

Describing Scozzafava as "anointed" is hardly as unfair as calling her a "homo," but Horowitz is in the middle of a passionate "Grand Old Purging" narrative and can hardly be bothered to consider the finer points of journalistic etiquette.

Horowitz then spun a tale of how Scozzafava was aggressively pursued and charmed by the liberal Democrats in a "White House-orchestrated initiative" to get her to endorse Democrat Bill Owens. Somehow it’s not a tale of "Republican dysfunction" that Scozzafava was so "Republican" that she eagerly endorsed the Democrat. Liberal notables called, like Andrew Cuomo: "You're probably the next governor," Scozzafava said she told Cuomo.

Apparently, the Lord inspired her to endorse the Democrat:

On Sunday morning, after her first good night's sleep in days, Scozzafava went to choir practice at the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur. Somewhere during her singing of "I went down in the valley to pray," she said she decided to endorse Owens.

Horowitz ended the story by channeling Scozzafava’s declaration of war on those ignorant conservatives:

Scozzafava, who was stripped of her Republican leadership position in the New York State Assembly on Monday, says she has no regrets and even leaves open the possibility of running for the seat again as a Republican. She sees herself as a champion of local expertise over ideological purity.

"How can Sarah Palin come out and endorse someone who can't answer some basic questions," Scozzafava asked. "Do these people even know who they are endorsing?"

Those conservative forces now descend on Florida, where former House speaker Marco Rubio, who on Monday received the endorsement of the Club for Growth, might shove aside centrist Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once on John McCain's short list for running mate. And Scozzafava has a warning.

"There is a lot of us who consider ourselves Republicans, of the Party of Lincoln," she said, her face now flush. "If they don't want us with them, we're going to work against them."

For a look at how Jason Horowitz handles "purging" in the Democratic Party and liberal intolerance (from New York Times editorial page writers), at least as it relates to the gun-rights position of newly appointed Sen. Kristen Gillibrand of New York, see his New York Observer piece here.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis