As I stated in yesterday’s election special, one aspect of the outcome in the 23rd district of New York was the destruction of the moderate GOP candidate by an insurgent conservative. The Daily Beast is today confirming suspicions that this was merely the tip of the spear, and that instead of mourning their candidate’s loss to the democrats, influential conservative blogger Erick Erickson, the head of, celebrated victory against the republican. Ladies and Gentlemen, the conservatives may have finally declared open war against the GOP. In response to Michael Steele saying that losing a seats is hardly a victory, Erickson had this to say:

“He and the establishment Republicans are playing a dangerous game equating conservatives and the Republican Party as the same thing,” he said. “There’s a break that’s needed to happen between that relationship, and I think [New York’s 23rd District] finally severed that relationship the way it needed to be severed.”

Conservative activists are already preparing primary challengers against several moderate GOP candidates in 2010, mostly notably in Florida and Illinois. What mystifies me is that neither of these states provide particularly fertile soil for hard right candidates: Crist is the governor of a state even more politically schizophrenic than Virginia and is about as popular as he has been effective (which is very). As for Illinois, just as New York City rules New York State, Illinois basically does what Chicago tells it to. Regardless of these facts, both candidates have responded to this existential threa by tacking to the right, with Crist throwing Obama under a bus and Kirk summoning Palin herself to his side to campaign.

Only time will tell what effects this will actually have on the race and It’s going to get very, very interesting going into next august. The main question at hand: is the electorate as conservative as activists want it to be, or will turning rightward create an opportunity for the demoncrats to widen their majorities for a third time in a row?

PS: Gasp! Subsequent entries!