Diary

Final Push for Conservatism in NY-23: Josh Lynch makes the case that a young Conservative can win in Upstate New York

Promoted from the diaries by EPU

The Confirmation of Representative John McHugh as Obama’s Secretary of the Army is still yet to occur, but NY-23 Republicans and Democrats are preparing for the inevitable race for his seat in Congress.  And amidst talks that the District 23 Republicans may push off making their nominations, The Jefferson County GOP has made their selection known, and a final tally now seems set for Thursday.  In their pick of Dede Scozzafava, Jefferson County admits to weighing “experience” over substance.  Jefferson County’s GOP Chair Sandra Corey told the Watertown Daily Times criticism that Scozzafava is too liberal “isn’t a problem for me, because I’m a Republican.  I’m not a Conservative or a Liberal.”

The prevailing wisdom, certainly inside the Franklin GOP, seems to be that any Republican victory is important — even if it’s a center-left moderate.

Conservative candidate Josh Lynch, who has found supporters among the Jefferson County voters and throughout NY-23, disagrees.  “I see a ripe opportunity,” says Lynch.  An opportunity for a “Common-sense Conservative” who can run a “positive, issues-based campaign

There’s an aspect of the modern day campaign and on the new media side [in which] I would excel.  I would continue to do it the way I did here.  I want to be the consensus candidate.  A candidate that appeals to new coalitions.

Still a Senatorial Aid, Lynch is essentially working two full-time jobs — his second being the campaign for Congress.  In a late-night phonecall, I spoke with Josh Lynch about something the local GOP seems to be ignoring in favor of (flawed) perceptions of electability: policy.

Lynch, who came from a single-parent home, grew up in “a family of educators” who encouraged him to think for himself. “What it comes down to is the Curiosity to have an intellectual argument.”  And it was this, along with the inspiration of his mother and extended family, which developed his Conservative sensibilities.

Turning to recent issues, Lynch talked about the recent Cap & Trade bill that passed the house.  A bill that current NY-23 rep McHugh voted for.  From both a national and local standpoint, says Lynch, that was the wrong thing to do.

In a small district, we disproportionally use energy.   You drive farther to work.  You heat with natural gas.  I feel like it’s a redistribution of taxes on rural communities.  You see democrats pushing urbanization, and pushing our way of life into the gutter.

Beyond that, it was just the process.  No one read the bill.  It was changed so many times last minute.  They shoved it through the committee.  And I don’t think that was the right thing.   If we’re talking about creating new jobs, I don’t see cap & trade creating jobs.  I see it killing jobs, especially in rural communities.

Lynch says it is his rural connection that would encourage him to fight on issues like Cap & Trade.

I really see rural prosperity as part of my message.  You have to be business-friendly.  You have to try to be lax on regluations.  You have to use common sense…   We don’t really have the luxury of sacrificing.  I’ve been thinking about his for a long, long time, and I’m passionate about it. The government has been asking us to sacrifice for it tomorrow, but nobody is standing up and asking the government to sacrifice for us today.  It’s supposed to be Government for the people, and n0t vice versa.  At what point to you say enough is enough?

Lynch sees this disconnect between the government’s desires and those of its constituents as being a part of the reason for Obama’s lagging poll numbers in recent days.  He cites government control over GM, the desire for harsher regulation on industry and farming, and suggests the people are starting to notice that things aren’t working.

There’s a lot of inefficiency.  Anyone that thinks government can run anything better than private or small business is not living in the real world.

And that, naturally, brought the conversation to the topic on everyone’s mind: healthcare reform.  Lynch says he does believe there is a problem with people being able to find care: “The healthcare we’re in now, costs are rising higher than inflation, so that’s not a good thing.”  But, Lynch says, there is a free market solution, where the Obama Administration keeps looking to Government.  Lynch sees a government system leading to rationing of care.

I think Republicans have reasonable alternatives to lower the cost [of health insurance] and create access.  Right now you can’t buy insurance across state lines.   You can buy other things; you should be able to buy healthcare   People are smart.  They buy things all the time…  Consumers are rational actors.  Why can’t that be the case with healthcare?

Lynch says he believes dropping regulations and opening access, encouraging health savings plans (“I have one,” says Lynch, “and I love it.”) and incentivising wellness are free-market solutions which will work better than the government model.

I just think people are smart enough to make their own healthcare decisions.  I don’t think the government shoud be getting between you and your doctor, telling us what services we can and cannot have access to.

And, says Lynch, the key to winning this debate, as in most things, is in actually having the argument and allowing the American people access to it.

The longer we have this debate, the more Americans are seeing [Obama’s plan] isn’t the answer.  The longer we draw this debate out, the more we can educate Americans about the options.

Lynch believes the Republican options for healthcare are being largely ignored by the Democrats in charge.

To be perfectly blunt, I think President Obama wants a major legislative victory to hang his hat on, early on.  And I think healthcare is one of the major issues he’s looked at.  The reason the other options aren’t being looked at is politics.  [The Democrats are] sensing that this healthcare plan could fall apart and if they don’t ratchet up the rhetoric, this whole thing could fail, and the President would miss on a campaign promise.

But, Lynch says, there is an opportunity for coalitions within the Republican movement to come together on the issue.

I’m opposed to a national health board, with the Surgeon General as its chief officer, to determine the benefit structure.  What if that includes abortion?  What if that board decides a 75-year-old man can’t get chemotherapy treatment?  I think we can merge Social Conervatives and Fiscal Conservatives together and say, “we’re not gonna pay for this stuff.”

And it is issues like health care, or the stimulus package, where Lynch says he can start battling the Democrat opponant for NY-23.

I want to be the candidate who who forces the Democrat [candidate] to answer, “Do you support the President’s healthcare plan?”  And if he says yes, I have to believe I have a good shot at winning.

Lynch believes people are quickly becoming weary with Obama’s blitzkrieg approach to policy-making.  “The time is right with someone with some common sense conservative ideas, even in NY-23,” he says.

Conservative ideas like tax breaks.  I had to ask Lynch about the stimulus packages.  “Do you believe we can still make the first stimulus work,” I asked, “and how?”

Yeah.  I think all the money that hasn’t been used should go back to the citizens.   What are we gonna spend it on?  Recovery.org?   We can’t spend our way into prosperity. There are models in history where we’ve tried it and failed.  It’s an economic model that isn’t there.  It’s so frustrating that people would even talk about a second stimulus when we haven’t even used the money from the first stimulus.

Lynch says using some of that money on safety and transportation projects is a good thing, but that there is too much waste in the system right now.  As an example, he talked about Madrid, New York, where an important bridge has been out for a long time.  The bridge outage separates consumers from businesses, costs money to small business owners and every day taxpayers.  The government solution, paid for, says Lynch, with Stimulus money, is a bus that shuttles people around the long detour.

You can’t continue to have stimulus money being spent on a bus going around in circles.  Build the bridge.  It needs to get done now.  That’s a practical conservative position.  Got a problem?  Fix the problem.

Lynch believes it is this common sense, Conservative approach, that can win in NY-23 and, importantly, make a difference in Washington.  And he views his youth, called a weakness by some, as a source of strength for the task at hand.

People are frustrated with Washington and Albany, and they want someone new, who will talk to them about issues on a day to day basis.  We need some energy, and who better than a young person who can talk about serious issues?

Depopulation is a huge issue in this district.  People move away, and I have a unique knowledge and perspective on why.  It’s because we don’t have good-paying jobs.  Who better to talk about those issues than somebody young?   People are looking for somebody new and fresh and wiling to talk about ideas.  It’s about being willing to articulate.

And it is exactly that youth and that zeal for a Conservative approach which Lynch says he’ll bring to a campaign.  As a campaign staffer for Brownback and, later, for the McCain/Palin Campaign, Lynch knows how to get out the vote.

I want to run a positive, issues-based campaing and build a campaign team that’s never been built before in Upstate New York.  One with youth, energy and passion, for change for the right reasons.  I can put together a team of people to knock on doors, do grassroots politicking.

And, says Lynch, new media will be an important part of that campaign.

Josh Lynch is running because he loves Upstate New York.  As a member of congress, he says it’s important to remember where you came from.  “I want to be a member of Congress that stays connected with the people,” he says.