Fueled by Scott Brown's stunning 'Massachusetts Miracle,' the New York political scene is buzzing with talk of a movement to draft Larry Kudlow to challenge liberal New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Some grassroots activists in the Empire State have gone so far to establish a Draft Kudlow committee to encourage the top-rated CNBC talk host to join the political fray.
Lawrence "Larry" Kudlow is a well-known economist and former Reagan adviser.
Schumer's Senate seat is up for grabs in November.
Conventional political wisdom has been that Schumer would be unbeatable this year, an incumbent as he is in one of the nation's bluest states.
But Massachusetts has changed the political chessboard.
Newsmax has learned that a coalition of conservatives, tea-party activists, and Republicans are joining forces to draft Kudlow to take on Schumer, who is considered one of the more liberal members of the Senate.
"It's time for Chuck Schumer to be sent packing," Draft Kudlow co-chairman Mike Caputo tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. "It's very clearly been time for quite a while, but with Scott Brown's victory, the alarm clock is going off.
"Until Tuesday night, the idea of running Larry Kudlow for Senate was a wish. And thanks to Scott Brown, we now know that wishes can come true."
Caputo, a Human Events correspondent and former speechwriter for the late GOP Rep. Jack Kemp, now works primarily as a public relations consultant. He says Kudlow would be a marquee candidate for New Yorkers.
"Nobody expected Brown to win in Massachusetts," Caputo says. "Surely, for Larry Kudlow to win in New York is not that heavy of a lift."
Asked for his reaction to the bid to enlist him against Schumer, Kudlow replied to Newsmax via e-mail, stating: "I am honored by the talk and the consideration."
The Draft Kudlow committee is currently headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y. The organization's Web site is DraftKudlow.com.
The group's initial focus will be on getting potential Kudlow supporters to visit the Web site and join the group. Caputo's goal is to enlist 100,000 supporters by February. The organization also plans a petition campaign to urge Kudlow to toss his hat in the political ring.
"Chuck Schumer is supporting a healthcare reform that is bad for New Yorkers, he's supporting a tax on banks that's bad for New Yorkers, he's now anointed himself a political boss and he's deciding who can and cannot run for office in the Democratic Party," Caputo tells Newsmax. "Even our other junior senator, Kristin Gillibrand, is Schumer's hand puppet.
"Our Senate delegation is completely ineffectual, and is foisting horrible policy on the people of New York. I believe, as do the people joining our committee, that the best man to knock him out of Washington, and send him back to New York where he belongs, is Larry Kudlow."
Caputo's co-chairman in the Draft Kudlow initiative, Dr. David Tukey, is an NYU Medical Center neuroscientist who brings downstate balance to the group.
“Americans are concerned about a bankrupt future and eager for new ideas to help our economy," says Tukey, who served as a deputy regional campaign manager for the McCain-Palin campaign. "Larry Kudlow explains fiscal policy as clearly as anyone out there. He would elevate the debate. He can explain clearly the dangers of the administration’s policies while proposing initiatives that will curb spending, stimulate the economy and create jobs.”
Kudlow would be an articulate voice for small-government, fiscally conservative principles in the Senate. As former associate director for economics and planning for Ronald Reagan's Office of Management and Budget, he would also appear well positioned to address voters' growing frustrations over the ballooning federal budget and the anemic economic recovery.
Kudlow has served as chief economist for a number of Wall Street firms, and runs his own economic research firm, Kudlow & Co., LLC. Considered a skilled debater, he anchors CNBC's The Kudlow Report and The Call programs, and hosts The Larry Kudlow Show on WABC Radio each Saturday.
He is also a nationally syndicated columnist and a distinguished scholar at George Mason University in Arlington, Va. But even with Kudlow in the race, unseating Schumer would be no cake walk.
Schumer has reportedly amassed a huge campaign war chest -- over $30 million by some accounts -- much of it coming from the Wall Street investment and securities sector that has come under heavy fire since the financial meltdown.
Schumer was a New York congressman for 18 years before being elected to the Senate in 1998. As the vice chair of the Democratic Conference, he is considered the third most powerful Democrat in the Senate. A member of the Banking and Finance Committees, he has not been able to completely evade the fallout from the nation's financial implosion just prior to the 2008 elections.
A December 2008 piece in The New York Times titled "A Champion of Wall Street Reaps Benefits" concluded that Schumer "repeatedly took other steps to protect industry players from government oversight and tougher rules… Over the years, he has also helped save financial institutions billions of dollars in higher taxes or fees."
Although his poll numbers have softened lately, Schumer remains popular in the Empire State with a 54 percent approval rating, according to a November Marist Poll.
Following Brown's upset over establishment Democrat Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, however, Schumer appears much less formidable.
One natural base of support for Kramer would be the burgeoning grassroots-conservative movement, including the tea parties.
"I think it would be great," Everett Wilkinson, a member of the Tea Party Patriots National Leadership Council, tells Newsmax. "One of our key values in the tea party movement is free markets, and Larry Kudlow is a big proponent of free markets. He would at least give the people a choice of candidates on one of our key issues."
Wilkinson adds that Kudlow would be sure a money magnet for grassroots fiscal conservatives.
"I definitely see Kudlow having a huge opportunity to raise money from tea party members nationwide, because of his being on a TV show, and promoting free markets and capitalism. That relates to a core reason people came out and joined the tea parties to begin with: The public was pouring money into failed businesses.
"We need to let failing businesses fail, and our money into opportunities that actually create jobs," says Wilkinson, who also runs the South Florida Tea Party organization. "Seventy percent of jobs in America are created by small businesses, which is why the notion that some businesses are too big to fail is wrong. So I think Kudlow, if he ran, would be an exciting candidate, and an interesting one too because he's not really a politician."
At one point last year, reports circulated that Kudlow might run against Sen. Chris Dodd to represent Connecticut in the U.S. Senate. Kudlow has deeper roots in New York, however, and was educated at the University of Rochester and Princeton University. He is a former staff economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. A former Democrat, Kudlow once worked on the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's New York Senate campaign.
Kudlow's credentials as a fiscal conservative are well known. A devout opponent of estate taxes, he opposes the president's proposed bank tax, and has called the $787 billion stimulus plan a "monster."
As an example of his views, in a recent blog entry Kudlow wrote: "Despite the historic expansion of the federal government’s involvement in, intervention in, and control of the economy -- including Bailout Nation; takeovers of banks, car companies, insurance firms, Fannie, Freddie, AIG, GM, Chrysler, and GMAC; large-scale tax threats; over-regulation; an attempted takeover of the health-care sector; ultra-easy money; a declining dollar; and unprecedented spending and debt creation -- despite all the things that would be expected to destroy the economy -- all this socialism lite and the degrading of incentives and rewards for success -- despite all this, the U.S. economy has not been destroyed."
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