The Conservative Next Door
An unabashedly proud Reaganite retires to the Upper West Side, and revels in scaring the neighbors with her contrarian political views.
“When you ask what it’s like on the Upper West Side,” says Rosanne Klass, “I would say, first of all, that it’s hilarious.”
An “independent conservative” with an illustrious career as an expert in Afghan affairs, Klass has downed scotch with Afghan resistance fighters and advised a director of the CIA. As Director of the Afghanistan Information Center at Freedom House, she worked to keep the media focused on the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, influencing the progression of American foreign policy under Ronald Reagan. Now that she is retired, she takes pleasure in being an “out” conservative on the Upper West Side, a notorious hotbed of New York liberalism.
“Being a conservative here is kind of fun!” Klass remarks. “In Zabar’s, I have had people come up to me and whisper, ‘Thank you. God bless you.’ And I remember to one woman I responded, ‘Well look, I’ve got a couple of extra buttons, would you like one?’ And she said, ‘No, I wouldn’t dare. I don’t know what my ne…