The New York Times, that reliable if hoary defender of the status quo, is appalled — appalled, I tell you — that the race for U.S. Senate in New Jersey lacks a "moderate" candidate in the Republican primary. "New Jersey Republicans owe their voters a viable moderate choice," the Times scolded them the other day.
Translation: can’t we have someone who will promise to keep things just as they are?
And in fact that’s just what the Times urged: they’d like the Republicans to consider nominating someone like Clifford Case, who used to vote for welfare and warfare spending.
Ah, the predictable New York Times, always anxious to make sure Americans never actually get to debate anything their betters have decided for them. As long as "moderates" in both parties are running against each other — just the way the Times likes it — there will be nothing but trivialities to debate about. The two clones will have no choice but to focus on who has the more expensive haircut or looks more ridiculous riding around in a tank. What else really separates them?
No one can expect the Times’ endorsement unless he favors the status quo in monetary policy and will leave both prongs of the welfare-warfare state untouched. If you point out that we can’t possibly pay the $70 trillion in unfunded liabilities that are coming due, and that expanding the federal budget still further (and running the printing press to sustain it all) only makes the impending crisis that much worse, you’re probably some kind of extremist, and it would only confuse the electorate to hear from you.
Needless to say, the Times recoils in horror at finance professor and Ron Paul Republican Murray Sabrin, who actually does want to discuss substantial things. You know, like the global depression that Federal Reserve policies have brought upon us, the real reasons for the housing fiasco, and a great many other issues neither party wants to talk about.
Sabrin’s opponent is State Senator Joe Pennacchio, who postures as regular guy "Jersey Joe." He’s the typical by-the-script GOP clone: I’m for fiscal conservatism, he says, all the while having nothing to say about anything specific he’d cut, and who will be first in line to vote for the next overseas quagmire. If $3 trillion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan strikes you as a mere bag of shells, and another counterproductive military adventure based on propaganda seems like just what the doctor ordered, Jersey Joe is your man.
Naturally, Jersey Joe has the support of a good chunk of the party machine.
Another part of the corrupt GOP establishment of New Jersey is calling for the entry into the race of — get this — Rudy Giuliani, whose chief difference with Hillary Clinton seems to be his marginally stronger inclination to wear a dress.
In other words, GOP leaders in New Jersey are ready to take their marching orders from the New York Times. No wonder they fear Murray Sabrin.
Giuliani is unlikely to accept, by the way: word is he’s tired of campaigning, and hopes to become attorney general in a McCain administration.
Meanwhile, poor Joe Pennacchio: in a televised debate not long ago on the economy, he listened uncomprehendingly as Sabrin discussed the Federal Reserve, financial bubbles, the housing market, and the state of the economy in general. Sabrin, a finance professor for three decades, can give a dissertation on the American economy and American economic history off the top of his head. Pennacchio was then asked if he agreed with Sabrin. The poor guy hardly knew what to say.
In the old days — that is, until about a year ago — when the Federal Reserve was understood to be off limits in political debate, a politician could more easily get away with being an ignoramus. But the rules of the game are starting to change, and unfortunately for Jersey Joe that change is taking place right in the middle of a U.S. Senate race he hoped to win without knowing much of anything about interest rates, financial markets, and the Fed. Too bad.
With the withdrawal of Anne Evans Estabrook, a liberal Republican, from the race just over a week ago, Sabrin is one Republican candidate away from taking on 84-year-old Frank Lautenberg in November. I’ve described Sabrin, to whom I’ve given the maximum allowable donation, as being the exact opposite of the typical U.S. senator. That is to say, he’s decent, honest, knowledgeable, a man of unshakeable moral and political principle, and a great champion of freedom.
But this isn’t just a New Jersey matter. A U.S. senator who understands Austrian economics (and thus the only one who can make sense of what is happening right now) and is committed to a program of genuine fiscal conservatism, sound money, civil liberties, and nonintervention abroad? Six years of such a senator, right across from the biggest media market in the country, would give our ideas a higher political profile than ever before.
The New York Times would be in mourning. And you can’t put a price tag on that.
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. [view his website; send him mail] is senior fellow in American history at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the author, most recently, of Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass and 33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask. His other books include How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (get a free chapter here), The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy (first-place winner in the 2006 Templeton Enterprise Awards), and the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.