In an article for Human Events, Donald Lambro writes about “The Case for Larry Kudlow“, explaining that various “supporters” have been encouraging the economist and CNBC economics commentator to challenge Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for one of New York’s Senate seats in the upcoming November elections.
Lambro correctly portrays Mr. Kudlow as a popular and influential voice for smaller government, liberty, and free markets.
But if anything, Kudlow’s combination of expertise and current position argue against his running for office.
I imagine that Larry Kudlow would show up near or at the top of the list if you ask television viewers – especially white-collar Americans – whom they think of when asked to name a free-market small-government economist.
This name recognition is crucially important if the forces of liberty hope to win a nationwide argument for the “hearts and minds” of Americans as we go into the November elections. Kudlow can make a much bigger impact in support of the positions he cares about and in support of politicians who share his “classical liberal” values by staying where he is and using his CNBC (and radio) megaphone to influence voters across the nation rather than having to focus his voice into a singular NY Senate race.
For someone to give up the influence that Kudlow has now in order to run for the U.S. Senate would strike me as an act of blind hubris. My take is that a man who has seen the highs, and more importantly the lows, that Larry Kudlow has seen (he’s not shy about talking about his experience with “twelve step programs”, for example) simply does not have the narcissistic ego that drive others (such as Barack Obama) to seek high office.
In terms of the politics, even a popular figure like Kudlow would be a huge underdog against Chuck Schumer. Lambro notes that Schumer already has $30 million in campaign funds and points out a recent poll which shows Kudlow 35 points behind Schumer in a theoretical matchup. And while Lambro optimistically notes that “conservative strategists are quick to point out that would put Kudlow about where Scott Brown started out before he came from behind to win”, this is NOT the Massachusetts race.
How many of you (who don’t live in Massachusetts) can even name Scott Brown’s opponent? That person…Martha Coakley…had modest-at-best name recognition even within her own state. She ran a much worse campaign than Schumer would. And, Scott Brown had the advantage of being involved in the only election in the nation at that time, allowing conservative and libertarian and Republican activists from around the nation the “bandwidth” to assist and contribute to his campaign. Kudlow’s campaign would be one of many. I simply don’t see the outpouring of nationwide grassroots support for Larry Kudlow, despite the many tens of thousands of Americans like me who think he’s great, in an environment where people will be focused on their local Congressional, state legislature, and in many states, Governors’ elections.
Additionally, like it or not, Kudlow will be attacked for his extremely optimistic pronouncements on his web site such as saying “There is no recession” and “The Bush boom is alive and well” just as we headed into the worst recession for several generations. To be fair, this comment was before it became clear that Democrats were going to control everything, something which I’m sure would have made Kudlow temper his indefatigable optimism. But still, you can get these words will be used to tie him to the unpopular George W. Bush and generally make him look bad. (All this despite the fact that Kudlow was right that the good economic news was consistently and almost certainly intentionally underreported by the left-leaning “mainstream” media as long as a Republican president would have gotten credit. And despite the fact that Obama’s dismal early performance is making George W. Bush look good in comparison, something many – including many Republicans – would have found difficult to imagine just a year ago.)
Larry Kudlow has a great job, an influential voice, and is one of the nation’s true champions for capitalism. The last thing that those of us who care about winning the long-run war for our nation versus the short-run battle for one Senate seat should breathe a sigh of relief that Mr. Kudlow has the good sense and modest ego to decline giving up a position that many of us would envy – were fiscal conservatives envy-prone, a trait we generally leave to the left.
Instead of being one voice in the Senate, Larry Kudlow should keep using his bully pulpit to educate and pressure 100 Senators into learning basic economics and the fundamental value of liberty. At such teaching, Kudlow has few equals and America is lucky to have him – right where he is.