The Left has accused Republicans of a “war on women,” but New York Democratic senator Kirsten Gillibrand could wind up running against a woman in the fall. The contest for who will face Democrat Gillibrand is on, and Wendy Long discusses what a Senator Long would look like with Kathryn Jean Lopez.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What do you have against Senator Gillibrand?
WENDY LONG: National Journal recently came out with its annual congressional rankings — the gold standard in political measuring sticks. Kirsten Gillibrand was tied for No. 1 Most Liberal Member of the United States Senate. She’s metamorphosed from a moderate, fiscally responsible, guns-under-the-bed, upstate, Blue Dog Democrat into an entrenched vote for the hard Left, carrying water for big government and special interests. She voted for Obamacare, for Obama’s failed stimulus that did nothing (not even build infrastructure in New York), for federal funding of ACORN, for Dodd-Frank (which will cripple New York as the financial capital of the world) — generally, for big, oppressive government. On jobs, debt, deficit spending, energy policy, taxes, and regulation, she’s out of step with mainstream New Yorkers, who gave Ronald Reagan two victories in this state. She has stood mute while Barack Obama has undermined and attacked our ally Israel, and while Iran has marched toward nuclear armament. She speaks in friendly bromides that seem designed to keep her in office, so that she can tell all the rest of us how to run our lives. It reminds me of a phrase that Tocqueville used: “velvet tyranny.”
LOPEZ: What’s the tenure of a Senator Long going to look like?
LONG: I would be honest with my fellow New Yorkers. Our nation and state are in dire circumstances. Serious people need to work hard to reduce the debt, reduce taxes, and slash regulation on the small businesses and families that are the lifeblood of new jobs and innovation in our state. I wouldn’t let a year pass by without producing a federal budget. This is the most basic job that we are paying her salary to do. I would vote to repeal Obamacare immediately, if the Supreme Court has not already invalidated it. I would support a real American energy policy, put American interests first in foreign policy, and be actively engaged on national-security matters, as Congressman Pete King is. New York needs not just a congressman but also a senator who is at the forefront of protecting our national security.
I would let our allies know that we are unequivocally on their side — particularly Israel. I would drastically revise much of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation, which I call the “Bureaucrat Full Employment Act.” I would not waste time, as Senator Gillibrand does, on things such as dictating a national minimum driving age and sponsoring a “National Day of Play.” I’d help New Yorkers understand that we get less in value from Washington than what we send there in taxes. Our families and employers, and our financial, agricultural, medical-device, and other industries, are being crushed by taxes and regulation. I would fight to take those burdens off them.
LOPEZ: Why you and not the others in the primary mix?
LONG: I salute my two primary opponents: George Maragos, a real gentleman who embodies the American Dream and now serves Nassau County as comptroller, and Bob Turner, who inspired Republicans with his special-election victory in a Brooklyn-Queens district. We share many of the same views. I expect that differences among us will emerge over the course of the next few months. I have never run for elective office before, but I have significant experience working in or with all three branches of our federal government.
I have been in private law practice in New York City, where my husband and I are raising our children. I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past decade as a caregiver for various family members. It gives me a perspective on the struggles that many New Yorkers face with illness, disability, health care, insurance difficulties, and trying to work with and also take care of family members. I’ve also in recent years been involved in important national debates about our Constitution and Supreme Court, in the context of the confirmation battles over nominees of both President Bush and President Obama. My experience in those battles has given me a depth of experience and perspective on the problems facing our country — and how to solve them — that I think is unique.