Tales of Hoffman

Like the Hoffman of Offenbach's opera, poor Doug Hoffman has been driven off the deep end by the disappointments of love. It seems the voters in upstate New York just didn't love him as much as he thought they should, having handed electoral victory not to Hoffman, the Conservative candidate, but to the Democrat, Bill Owens. Or in Hoffman's words, the "Obamacare supporter." And so, Hoffman is unconceding.

Hoffman writes to his supporters:
...we can't let ACORN or the unions keep that from happening. They have more lawyers and more experience tampering with democracy.
Let's set aside for the moment the fact that ACORN has no offices in this district, NY-23. What I really love here is Hoffman's Freudian slip, implying that both he and ACORN want to tamper with democracy; the issue is evidently that he simply needs more lawyers to help him in his tampering.

On one hand, it was a nice moment of democracy to see a third-party candidate make headway -- though to be honest, he did so not as an outsider but as a parasite, destroying the local Republican party from within. On the other hand, contesting election results with no evidence of fraud other than that the other guy won? I worry it's the narrow wedge of the anti-democracy wing within Libertarians, fundamentalists, and other far-right wingnuts that are rising to the ascendency in the American right. Hoffman's decision to "unconcede" is sloppy, and his reasons for doing so are paranoid, rabble-rousing and delusional.

There are times to contest election results. Take Bush v. Gore in 1996 when there were widespread indications (and convictions) of fraud and mismanagement in 1996. And hey, I was born in Chicago, so I know the Democratic party has tried these tactics as well as the Republicans. But Hoffman's frothing at the mouth? Kinda sad to watch -- like the original Hoffman:

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