By William Lewis
In a recent interview with Michael Long, the state chairman of the Conservative Party, he discussed the recently concluded 2012 campaign.
He indicated that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney did not connect with the people. Long pointed out that Romney did well in the first debate with President Barack Obama, but could not follow up with successful second and third debates. Romney during the last two debates failed to show the shortcomings of the Obama administration.
Long believes that the race was in Romney’s hands, but he failed to deliver.
Long mentioned that the late President Ronald Reagan, after he failed to win the nomination for president in 1976, became the leader of the Republican Party from 1977-80. No one has mentioned Romney as a potential Republican leader for 2013-16.
When asked if he sees an end to the two-party system in New York City, considering the shrinking number of Republicans elected during the last 30-year period, he said the two-party system ended a long time ago in New York City. He believes that for high public office in the city, a candidate has to be well-known and have considerable financial resources. His two examples were Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, both of whom were first elected mayor as Republicans.
Long believes the main focus of the state Conservative Party should be on supporting small government, opposing high government spending and lowering taxes. He also believes social issues are important, but economic issues are of prime importance during election campaigns.
Long indicated it is possible to elect a Republican mayor next year with Conservative support. He also believes it is possible to elect more Republican City Council members depending on how the redrawing of the Council lines turns out after reapportionment.
When asked what would be the emphasis of the Conservative Party in 2013 and 2014, he said it would emphasize rebuilding and aggressively push issues. He indicated in the final analysis that these campaigns are up to the candidates and how well they express themselves about the issues is what will decide election results.
Long also believes that Wendy Long’s campaign would have had a different result if she had the necessary finances to wage a successful campaign in her U.S. Senate race.
In his concluding statement, Long said the Conservative Party has promoted issues for the last 50 years of its existence and will continue to do so.
The Conservative Party has, for the most part, worked well over the years with the Republican Party at the local and state levels. Together, if they get behind the right candidate, they can produce victories. After the results of the 2012 election in New York state, it will be interesting to see how the Conservative-Republican coalition does in the Council and citywide races in 2013.
At the recent Queens Village Republican Party Club Christmas dinner, the guest speaker was Lauren Whalen, founder of the Northeast Queens Tea Party Patriots. She spoke about the growth of the Tea Party and its present and future influence on political campaigns.
In 2009, the Queens Republican Party won three seats on the Council: Dan Halloran, of Whitestone; Eric Ulrich, of Ozone Park; and Peter Koo, of Flushing. Afterward, Koo registered as a Democrat. The question is whether the Republicans can do the same or better in 2013. One factor in all this is how united the Queens Republicans will be during the general election.