Dateline: 01 November 2006
The election takes place next Tuesday, except, of course, for those of you who have already voted. It is time for Common Sense to make its endorsements. Few of the elections are likely to be close, and my endorsements will not change the outcome, but it would be remiss of this column to let such important elections pass without engaging in this longstanding media tradition. Particularly when it is certain that the state will elect a new governor and possible that control of Congress will change.
It is tempting, of course, in broadly conservative and libertarian region of a largely liberal state to vote a straight Republican ticket, even knowing that in some elections this is mere protest, and that the seven to one Democratic margin in New York City will overwhelm the votes of those upstate. But, in a liberal state like New York, the Republican Party often moderates its position for electoral reasons, and is rarely the strong voice for liberty and self-reliance that it should be, and which upstate voters would prefer.
At state level in particular, this columnís commitment to liberty and a strictly limited role for the government is often best represented by the Libertarian Party. There are two things, however, on which the Republicans will normally seem preferable to the Libertarians. First, Republicans, even in New York State, often get elected, while Libertarians almost never do. Secondly, Libertarians have a naÔve faith in rolling back the power of government even in matters of foreign and security policy. With the War on Terror still very much a live issue, this is to be regretted.
As a result, I am recommending tactical votes, depending partly on the candidates, electability, and partly on general preference for Libertarians at state level and Republicans federally.
When it comes to the office of governor, my visceral dislike of the way Eliot Spitzerís war on business has degraded into a war on civil liberties and justice, makes it tempting to recommend a vote for his strongest opponent, John J Faso, on the Republican and Conservative lines. But Spitzer is winning, and any vote against him is protest. In which case, as Spitzerís hatred of liberty is his most vile characteristic, a vote for the Libertarian is the most effective protest: Endorsement: John Clifton.
The down-ballot state elections are different. For Lt Governor, a vote for C Scott Vanderhoef, Republican and Conservative, may be a little less futile than in the governorís election, though the lack of polling evidence makes it hard to be sure.
For Comptroller, the meltdown of the Hevesi campaign, with credible allegations of misconduct multiplying, is so complete that the New York Times has endorsed the Republican, J Christopher Callaghan. I concur.
For Attorney General, Jeanine Pirro has secured the Independence line as well as Conservative and Republican. She remains the underdog, but one worth supporting.
For Senate, Hillary Clinton cannot be stopped, but the Libertarian, Jeffrey T Russell, provides an avenue of protest.
For Congress, by contrast, there is a real race on, with Democrats believing that upstate New York is where they can make gains. In these circumstances it is necessary to rally to Rep John McHugh, (Republican).
Quentin Langley is editor of http://www.quentinlangley.net an academic at the University of Cardiff and is a columnist with Campaigns & Elections. This article was first published in the Common Sense series for Lake Champlain Weekly.