It’s always hard to know how much difference endorsements can make in a race, but it’s very unusual to see the Republican candidate in a race drop out to endorse the Democratic nominee, and Dede Scozzafava endorsing Bill Owens certainly does make Rick Santorum’s remarks from Saturday look idiotic:
When Assemblywomen Dede Scozzafava suspended her campaign because it appeared that her Conservative-party opponent, a Republican, stood a better chance to win on Tuesday she noted that she was a proud Republican….Her announcement today is a lesson to all of us — that even those in our party who may not agree with us on many of our core principles and positions not only still want to be on our team, but want us to win.
Both parties at this point seem to me to have a need to reconsider their approaches to party discipline. The common sense way to behave is to try to insist on orthodoxy in places where orthodox candidates can clearly win, but to be more flexible elsewhere. Instead Democrats are dealing with a rogue senator from Connecticut, while the GOP drove Arlen Specter out of the party for being an occasional deviationist in a state that’s consistently backed Democratic presidential candidates for 20 years.