Having lived on New York City’s Upper East Side for a decade, I’ve long noted that even the Republicans in these parts tend to mail out flyers touting their “accomplishments” in the area of promoting more spending or regulating. But the times must be changing, thanks to the past couple years of Obama and Tea Parties and “Ron Paul Republicans.”
For the first time that I can recall, the campaign literature for not one but two of the choices in the Tuesday, September 14 Republican congressional primary in my district (determining the person who’ll face Democrat Carolyn Maloney in November) sounds like the stuff of libertarian manifestoes (though talk is of course cheap, etc., etc.).
Dino Laverghetta touts having already been endorsed by such groups as the Libertarian Party and the New York Young Republican Club and vows he will oppose “all new taxes” and fight for lower taxes, the repeal of Obamacare, and other good things. He adds: “I believe in the Republican ideals of individual liberty, individual responsibility, and limited government.” Standard Republican fare in some parts of the country but not here, at least not in the past.
Ryan Brumberg — the opponent who Laverghetta dismisses as someone who was a Democrat until this very year and who hasn’t even voted in ten years — for his part quotes Paul Ryan, Milton Friedman, Chris Christie, and Ronald Reagan with approval while vowing to fight Obamacare, shrink government, deregulate, and lower and simplify taxes, calling himself “the true fiscal conservative” and touting his past as a management consultant and student of law and economics, now “committed to restoring fiscal sanity, individual responsibility, and the entrepreneurial spirit.” (He worked at McKinsey, as did a libertarian friend of mine who recently moved to this neighborhood, in fact. Democrats like this we could use more of, I’m thinking.)
The Republican Party in New York has long been decrepit and ripe for takeover by younger ideologues. In a city dominated by public sector unions more than political parties, I don’t know how much difference they can make, but it will be much less depressing to watch them try than to spend another decade being assured that, say, Non-Frightening Republican Candidate X is almost as gung-ho about fighting global warming and gender bias as a Democrat if you just give him a chance, blah, blah, blah.
Given that my polling place is across the street from my front door, I may even vote.