The New York Times today has a profile out on the undercovered, libertarian-leaning underdog in the New York mayoral race, Joe Lhota. Headline: "Lhota Seeks to Persuade a Liberal City to Elect a Disciple of Goldwater." Excerpt:
Lhota's conservatism also has a libertarian hue: he supports same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana, and he is quick to distance himself from the moral prescriptiveness of the national Republican Party. He has occasionally called himself a libertarian, but he recently disavowed the term, saying too many New Yorkers confuse the label with — in his words — "Tea Party crap." […]
In an interview, Mr. Lhota described himself as a champion of the individual who nevertheless believes that government, in moderation, can play a pragmatic role in bettering society.
"Government should steer, not row," he said, sitting in a cramped campaign office overlooking Grand Central Terminal. "Government is to point you in the right direction, and not to do everything for you."
"I was born a limited-government person," Mr. Lhota added. "I've always had this streak going through me."[…]
He devoured the Federalist Papers in school, but it was Senator Goldwater's 1964 presidential run that had him riveted, taken by the candidate's "Western ruggedness" and contrarian bent. […]
"He was not your typical politician," Mr. Lhota said. "He believed the government has no role whatsoever in making decisions which are purely personal, and I believe that."
Elsewhere in the profile, Lhota, who held senior management positions in both the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, talks of being "a virulent anti-Communist," and says that he was wrong to have opposed the restaurant smoking ban two decades ago. "I thought the world was going to come to an end, and then it didn't," he said. "It was the right thing to do."