LOPEZ: What would you bring to the Senate?
LONG: Two things: One, I have certain core convictions and principles, which stem from my understanding of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Those founding documents contain the answers to almost every problem we have in federal government today. If we had 100 senators who saw it that way, we would have a federal government that is smaller, less intrusive, and less burdensome to Americans in their daily lives, but also more vigorous in protecting America and her interests in the world.
Two, I would be honest instead of politically correct. Senator Gillibrand is good at saying things that sound nice but have little substance. I don’t think we elect our public officials to avoid taking a stand or a difficult position on anything. Public officials insult our intelligence and our goodwill when they paint rosy pictures about budgets, jobs, bipartisanship, and transparency, and alter their positions on issues simply to keep collecting their paycheck by never disagreeing or disappointing anyone.LOPEZ
: Does the “Daniel Patrick Moynihan seat” aspect of this race resonate with you in any particular way?
LONG: Absolutely. He was the kind of senator we need now. He had core convictions and principles, and he acted on them. He didn’t worry about being politically correct. He was honest with his fellow citizens. He was a brilliant man, but he did not talk down to people. He raised them to his level by speaking with clarity about difficult problems. He was a strong character, an independent personality — I think New Yorkers like that in their senators. We’ve had lots of different characters as senators from New York: Moynihan, Kennedy, Buckley, Clinton, D’Amato — some conservative like me, and some liberal. But what they had in common, which New Yorkers like, was independence and boldness, not pandering, flip-flopping, wishy-washiness.
New York is a place where people have strong convictions. Senator Moynihan was living proof of the value of great public- and Catholic-school education. He was ahead of his time on entitlement reform and the dignity of work as connected to welfare. I intend to bring back his Fisc Report, in which he told New Yorkers each year how much they had paid to Washington and what they had gotten back. Laurence O’Donnell, the liberal pundit who used to work for Moynihan, observed that Moynihan did something “inexplicable for a late 20th-century politician: He [said] what he thinks.” I’d like to emulate that. I think people are tired of lowest-common-denominator statements crafted by political consultants designed to say as little of substance as possible in order to offend as few people as possible. What is the point of politics unless you have a real discussion?
LOPEZ: What do you make of our secretary of state, who once held the seat you’re hoping to win and who recently warned that there are extremists out to control women?
LONG: Disappointing. Hillary Clinton is an extremely bright woman who has strong convictions, most of them very different from mine. But I took a page from her book when I recently did a “listening and learning” tour around the state of New York. Her “listening tour” of New York during her Senate campaign was brilliant, and what I learned from following her example was extremely helpful to me. But her recent speech about “extremists out to control women” was really beneath her. She’s so bright, and she knows how to debate and marshal evidence. And yet she’s throwing these wild charges with no evidence and no analysis behind them. Is she “controlled” by someone? I don’t think so. Neither am I. And I suspect if you asked most women whom they feel most “controlled by,” it would likely be the federal government. It strikes me as an embarrassing lack of perspective about the incredible freedom and opportunity that we as women have in America today, as compared to every other time and place in the history of the world. We can do anything we want to, such as run for the Senate and the presidency.