When, after much painful soul-searching, Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race for upstate New York’s 23rd congressional district a few days before the election, the Republican establishment instantly and almost gleefully shifted all of its support to Conservative Doug Hoffman, as a dog will burst out of a house the moment the front door opens. No calls saying, “Hey, we’re sorry it didn’t work out, but there’s still a place for you in the GOP, even though you like gay people,” or anything like that. And that hurt Scozzafava’s feelings. It hurt bad. And it turns out that only one party actually cared, or was at least willing to go through the effort of pretending to care: the Democrats.
The first Democrat to woo Scozzafava as part of a carefully orchestrated kindness offensive was her ex-opponent, Democrat Bill Owens. “He didn’t ask for an endorsement,” Scozzafava says, “he just said, ‘I hope you’re doing okay.’” How sweet and totally selfless! Next up in a long line of dignitaries was June O’Neill, former chairwoman of the New York State Democratic Party. And then Andrew Cuomo. And Chuck Schumer. And Steve Israel. So many Democrats were calling to console Scozzafava and ask for her support that she didn’t even care when she was told that Bill Clinton was trying to reach her.
It wasn’t long before Scozzafava offered her endorsement to Owens, and many people cynically wondered what the Democrats gave her in return. It turns out there was a quid pro quo. Quid: endorsing Owens. Quo: love.