New York Republicans seem to be divorced from common sense. After the Dede Debacle in the special election in NY-23, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe it’s time for the little boy on the sidelines to tell the king that he isn’t wearing any clothes.
New York will elect both of its U.S. senators this November, the regular full term for the seat held by Sen. Charles Schumer (D) and a special election for the remaining term of the seat currently held by interim Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), who is seeking retention to a full term. (That seat was vacated when Sen. Hillary Clinton resigned to become Secretary of State and filled temporarily when Interim NY Gov. David Patterson filled the vacancy by appointing Gillibrand.)
Polls indicate the Gillibrand is relatively vulnerable, while the more established Schumer is relatively safe. In spite of the likely Republican wave building for the 2010 elections, Republicans are having difficulty recruiting challengers.
Schumer is the more obnoxious and more liberal of the two, and many conservatives want him challenged. One online campaign that may bear fruit is encouraging CNBC host Larry Kudlow to challenge Schumer. Kudlow would be a fantastic candidate, because he is a respected economist who is conservative, well-versed, well-known and trusted (not to mention articulate and clean).
But the Schumer seat seems like the wrong contest to waste a candidate of Kudlow’s appeal. Kudlow and New York Republicans should borrow a strategy from high school and college tennis teams: move your top player from “first singles” down to a lower match, where you have a better chance of winning, sacrificing a lesser player to play the other team’s top player in first singles. Then instead of losing both matches, you lose one by a bigger margin but have a better shot at winning the other. Margin doesn’t matter; the difference between 0-2 and 1-1 matters a lot.
Kudlow should take on the vulnerable Gillibrand and leave the more hated Schumer to a long-shot challenger. No, beating the slightly more moderate Gillibrand won’t be as much fun as doing the same to Schumer, but risking losing both seats (and perhaps missing the golden opportunity to take control of the Senate) would be even less fun.
New York is a tough blue state for Republicans, much more expensive to win than Massachusetts. Get smart, New York Republicans. Take your best shot at the lower hanging fruit.