Warren Redlich is a Libertarian seeking the Republican nomination for Governor of New York. According to the most recent reports, Redlich has vowed to run on the Libertarian ticket whether he wins the Republican nod or not. Within the GOP he'll certainly be an underdog against Rick Lazio, but Redlich is hoping to get the local Tea Partiers on his side. Here is his campaign website.
Predictably, Redlich preaches fiscal responsibility. He intends to restore it by eliminating several government departments and eliminating fat elsewhere. Some of these proposals look reasonable, such as his plan to impose a $100,000 pay cap on public officials -- though it should be noted that there is no good reason why the people of New York should not demand or enact a pay cap for private officials. Since Redlich dismisses the argument that high salaries are needed to attract qualified people to the public posts in question, he should be expected not to make the same argument when similar caps are suggested for CEOs.
Redlich also supports submitting pay raises for elected officials and political appointees to public votes. He offers this suggestion on analogy with proposals to submit CEO pay raises to shareholder votes, so we can assume that he supports that idea as well. If so, how great a leap would it be, in a democracy, to close the circle and submit CEO pay to public votes as well. I'm just asking.
The new candidate would get rid of the New York State Lottery ("the state should not be in the lottery business"), Thruway tolls, and many agencies that seem to have purely advisory or coordinative mandates, on the supposition that the latter don't really do anything but devour taxes.
On cultural issues he's more obviously Libertarian than Republican. While he should win gun-nut support with his advocacy of concealed-weapon rights for New Yorkers, he might lose those with right-wing cultural leanings by supporting further liberalization of the state's drug laws. Redlich believes that the answer to drug crime is to "take the profit out of the market for illegal drugs." While he doesn't explicitly endorse legalization, his association with reform groups implies some sympathy toward that end. As for guns, he cites Vermont's peaceful record as proof of the effectiveness of concealed-weapon permits -- as if that were the only decisive factor in that state.
I've offered a quick sampler of Redlich's opinions. As a candidate with an inevitable funding disadvantage, this Libertarian is not above playing a little populist politics, as he does here by listing some of Democratic front-runner Andrew Cuomo's wealthy donors. It may be fair for someone of Redlich's ideology to expose a seeming hypocrisy on the part of self-described champions of the little people, but I doubt that he can object to soliciting funds from the rich as a practice on any principle he has.
It's easy for candidates to run against wasteful government. The existence of waste is too obvious to ignore, especially in hard times, but Redlich may be too quick to assume that bureaucracy itself is always waste, given his obvious bias in favor of the private sector and The Market as the answer to all human needs. The emergence of political society in all places, however, is proof of the private sector's limited efficacy in all periods of human history. Redlich's own aspiration to office is an acknowledgment of the state's necessity; otherwise he might just as well hoard his gold or his guns, hunker down and wait for everything to break down. What I want to hear from a libertarian sometime is an acknowledgment that in a political society all the people share an obligation to the material welfare of all the people. Absent that obligation, government becomes nothing more than a police state inevitably dedicated to protecting one class of people from another. But if libertarians always think that political society is less than the sum of its parts, then governing that society is always going to be a waste of their and our time.
Here's a local news report on Redlich's announcement, including comments below from the candidate himself in response to website readers.