The NYS Conservative party appears to be supporting Rick Lazio, over newly-minted Republican Steve Levy, the formerly Democratic Suffolk County Executive. The Conservatives endorsed him in his '07 re-election campaign, but he ran unopposed. Why was that? It looks as if he was fighting against the "tax and spend" mentality that most elected officials and bureaucrats have, and it was politically popular. That's why he might be a tougher opponent for Cuomo than Lazio, in the general election.
I want to share some excerpts from some recent columns, and use them in support of Levy's candidacy:
(link) The rallying cry in NYS is "stop the spending," and people are looking for candidates whose record reflects that. They are tired of having the party "anoint" candidates that they have to hold their nose while voting for...I think the GOP senators are scared, because he may represent the exact threat they fear the most: the voice of voters from both parties, who are saying "the party is over! STOP THE SPENDING!"
(link) If there was ever a state that needed a "political insurrection" by the taxpaying people, it is New York. "Governor" Cuomo (this is 99.9% certain to happen) will not fix the system; he is part of it, and has been for years. NYS needs a governor like Chris Christie of New Jersey, someone who will take the bull by the horns, and challenge the entrenched liberal interests.
(link) Meanwhile, the GOP has a revolution within it's ranks. The fiscal conservatives are taking precedence over the social conservatives...Socially liberal, or "Rockerfeller" Republicans have usually been fiscally liberal, as well. That has changed...The GOP, as the minority, stands to benefit, whether it's "divided" or not. They are better positioned to adopt the "tea party" principles, in any case.
There's more to this story. Those same Republicans from the NYS Senate, most of whom opposed Levy? Well, they unanimously supported a bill that "busts the cap" on property tax rates. This is a clear dividing line between "politicians" and "constituents." Let's see if Levy is on the constituents' side of the line, on this and other "pocketbook" issues.
I'm leaning toward supporting Levy, because Andrew Cuomo is not an "agent of change." Much like Spitzer, he has been a "do-little" Attorney General, who reeks of empty promises of "reform." His latest crusade is against excessive overtime by public employees in the last three years before retirement, to "pad" their pensions. He's quoted as saying"how long has this gone on?" ...rhetorically, and answering "Decades. Decades." So where was he when this scandal started? Well, his father was governor of NYS, decades ago, and he probably knew about it back then. That's why it's almost comical to see him, as AG, just now launch this investigation.
Even shooting these fish in a barrel, I can guarantee that Cuomo will miss, and nothing will change, regarding public sector overtime abuse, if he becomes governor. He'll prove as effective as Spitzer was at "cleaning up Wall Street." What I know of Levy's record compares favorably with Cuomo's. Levy also seems to see the bigger picture of how the system is geared to increase public spending, and is looking for a way to break that cycle.
It's interesting that Levy has a record of butting heads with "public sector" unions, most publicly the Suffolk County police union. I hope he "butts heads" with the state troopers just as much, after their role in several recent gubenatorial scandals. They are just one of many entrenched interests that any "reform-minded" governor will have to fight. Plus, as an "underdog," I naturally want him to win, and continue his anti-spending crusade. Can he do it? We'll see.