New York Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long calls Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy “ruin(ing) a perfect year for Republicans to win.” Perfect?
“This is the way the world ends,” wrote T.S. Eliot, “not with a bang but a whimper.”
This is how former Republican Congressman Rick Lazio’s campaign for New York governor may end: not with withdrawal but weakness.
In Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania, 2010 already appears a perfect-storm GOP year. The economy totters. Barack Obama seems oblivious to how jobs are Job One. His word is worthless. In a right-of-century, he misgoverns from a far-left fringe. Loathing Middle America, Obama finds it increasingly loathing him.
An exception has been deep-blue New York, political planets unrealigned. One cause: Lazio seemed sure to face Democrat Andrew Cuomo in November, the victor replacing disgraced David Paterson, who followed guttural Eliot Spitzer, who succeeded RINO George Pataki. (The State motto is the Latin word excelsior: “ever upward.” It should be déjà vu: by January 1, four governors in the last four years.)
Recently, two-term Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy proposed to undo Lazio’s done deal, saying: a) He is now a Republican; and b) He will run for governor. Most GOP county chairmen back Lazio, one terming Levy “a turncoat … not Republican.” Others rue Lazio’s pee-wee fundraising and Pee-wee Herman polling. One: State GOP Chairman Ed Cox, who has a character flaw. A pragmatist, he likes to win.
Like many, Cox worries about Lazio’s persona of Mitt Romney’s hair, Obama’s judgment and Eddie Haskell’s gravitas. Worse, they know that the dish will run away with the spoon before New Yorkers forget Lazio, on stage, accosting Hillary Clinton in a 2000 U.S. Senate debate: his stain that will not rinse out — like George W. Bush’s Katrina, Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sex,” or ObamaCare.
Amnesiac, state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long calls Levy “ruin(ing) a perfect year for Republicans to win.” Perfect? Democrats have a 2.6 million voter registration advantage, owning public unions, Albany and media. A Quinnipiac poll reads: Cuomo 57 percent, Lazio 25 percent. Even conservatives doubt Lazio can compete in what elsewhere may be a GOP year. What is Long thinking, drinking? Any 12-step program begins with fact.
Fact: Levy has outraised Lazio, $4 million to a pygmy $700,000. (Tellingly, Cuomo has $16 million.) Fact: His vote-rich Long Island base is must-get for a Republican. Fact: Levy backs sane tax and spend, traditional values and American exceptionalism, pitch-perfect for independents and centrist Democrats. Hope: Unlike Lazio, he might at least avoid a rout, stoking 2010’s perfect storm.
Churchill said, “Some men leave their principles for their party. Others leave their party for their principles.” Which is Levy? Likely both. Does it matter? Given Lazio, likely not. Given the alternative, Levy seems the probable GOP candidate. Beating Cuomo is sadly improbable, at best.
Down, if not out, Republicans pant for gubernatorial nominees like the late Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas E. Dewey. On second thought, having raised taxes, spending, the deficit, cynicism, deceit and bile, perhaps Washington’s Faux Messiah can raise T.R. and Dewey, too.
Curt Smith is the author of 13 books; a former speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush; and host of WXXI Radio’s "Perspectives" at 2 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Tuesday. His views do not necessarily reflect the station’s. Mr. Smith writes for GateHouse Media’s Messenger-Post Newspapers. E-mail: email@example.com