Palin-style conservatives claimed a big victory over the weekend as Dede Scozzafava, the moderate, pro-choice GOP nominee in a special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district, quit the race. Though the gay-rights-supporting Scozzafava further “betrayed” the GOP by endorsing the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, a third-party conservative, Doug Hoffman, is surging in the polls—buoyed by support from the likes of Rush Limbaugh. What does Scozzafava’s force-out mean for the future of the GOP? (Watch our Sunday Talk Show Briefing on the GOP civil war and NY-23)

The GOP has become a party of doomed Stalinists: This “bloody national GOP civil war” between the party’s conservative and moderate wings is a gift to Democrats, says Frank Rich in The New York Times. It confirms “just how swiftly the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy Obama.” Whatever happens in the NY-23 election this Tuesday, “the Republicans are the sure losers.”
“The GOP Stalinists invade Upstate New York”

Hold on—why would any Republican back Scozzafava? I’m not sure why this is a big deal, says Jonathan Chait in The New Republic. Scozzafava, a “relative moderate” who supports abortion rights, gay marriage, and the stimulus in a solidly GOP district, was picked by “party bosses,” not voters. Why shouldn’t local conservatives try to elect “a more right-wing alternative”? Wouldn’t liberals pull a similar move if the tables were reversed?
“Third-party challenger = Stalinist?”

The GOP leadership needs to be more inclusive to survive: "If we don't get some adult supervision,” says former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis (R), quoted in the Associated Press, “basically the party could explode and split itself up." Republicans won’t be able to retake the majority with a far right agenda that excludes moderates.
“Future of GOP and moderate Republicans uncertain”

This is a wake-up call for the GOP, not a new agenda: This “voter revolt” could help “return the GOP to first principles,” says the Wall Street Journal in an editorial, and force the GOP elite to pay heed to "public dismay against the Democratic agenda.” But a “bloody-minded and intolerant” party won’t retake power any time soon, “and conservatives will do their cause no good by forcing GOP candidates in Illinois, California, and Connecticut to sound like Tom DeLay.”
“Revolt in New York”