Friday
Nov092018

The Hugin campaign would have done better in a Democrat primary.

Bob Hugin is a great guy.  Really.  He’s a good and decent man.  It was unfortunate that he found himself in a Republican primary… this year.  The fact that he persevered with such confidence and grace makes him a heroic, somewhat tragic, figure.  

Bob Hugin could have run in the Democrat primary.  $35 million… against Bob Menendez?  Hugin had the issues right for a Democrat primary… and the media wouldn’t have pounced on a Democrat Bob Hugin the way they did a Republican Bob Hugin.  The media love rich members of the One Percent when they are Democrats (it is a capital sin when you are a Republican)… they love woke, right-on pharma folk of the proper political affiliation.  They would have forgiven him everything.

But Bob ran as a Republican, and he ran this year.  A year when the media he wanted to appeal to was working to nationalize the election – to make it about Trump.  That media ended up vouching for Bob Menendez, despite having formerly called for his resignation. That media still cuts it with the people who Bob Hugin wanted to convince:  Democrats and liberal-leaners.   

Rather than shutting down Menendez, Hugin’s attacks were used by the media as evidence that he – Bob Hugin – was a “bad” man.  Of course, this only works with those who are open to receiving a message from the likes of Tom Moran and MSNBC.  Unfortunately, they were precisely the voters that the Hugin campaign was aimed at. 

Can we put aside the myth that Republican voters will come out no matter what, and dutifully vote Republican?  That myth should have finally, once and for all, been discarded after the low turnout Assembly races in 2015, when Republicans AGAIN lost seats in the Legislature and were AGAIN provided with irrelevant excuses for having done so. 

Oh the excuses!  One year it is Christie’s fault, the next it is Trump’s, and in between, the dog ate it!  New Jersey Republicans should set up their own public relations firm specializing in excuse-making.  Excuses aside, New Jersey’s GOP establishment should understand that the days of Republicans “holding their noses” and voting are over.

Republican voters are like anyone else.  Ignore them, say you are embarrassed to be with them, that you are “different” from them… and they will reward you in kind.  As an experiment, try some of that language next time you are in public with your wife and her family (or your husband and his).  Invite them out to a restaurant, then tell the host:  “I’m a different kind of member of this family, I’m not really one of them… They are a little, umm… backward.”  And say it so they hear it.  Say it loud, like ten million dollars’ worth of loud, and see how they like it.  Go ahead, try it.  Get back to us on it.

And that’s what the whole Hugin campaign was based on, wasn’t it?

“I’m a different kind of Republican.”  They are a little backward, a little off, but I’m with it.  I am a cool Republican.  Except that there are no “cool” Republicans.  Not in the minds of the media.  They only thought John McCain was cool when he was pissing on Bush.  The moment it became about him and Obama, John McCain became a troglodyte in the minds of the media.  After the dust settled, he became cool again, especially when pissing on other Republicans… especially when pissing on Trump.  But when he needed them, the media screwed John McCain.  So why even bother with them?

President Ronald Reagan understood the media (and they were a lot more condensed, more centralized, and a lot stronger back then).  That’s why he talked past them – to the people.  He didn’t give a damn about their approval.  He fed them the diet he wanted them to eat and even when they shit it out it contained the kernels of his message.  Reagan wasn’t afraid to be a Republican and to explain what that meant.  He had a message that he tested and honed by human contact – by speaking to people, engaging them, listening for the examples that would be used in his speeches, turning them on to his way of thinking, building a movement of ideas and about issues that mattered to people.

How many Republicans today, in New Jersey, can explain why they are Republicans or what Republicanism is?  At the big Republican show put on by the NJGOP last spring in Atlantic City, two professional Republican organizers up from Washington, DC, posed the same questions to attendees.  Not only was there no apparent theme or connectivity between the responses, even the organizers couldn’t adequately provide reasons or an explanation as to why they were there in the first place.  It was kind of sad.

What that confab did showcase, however, is the top-down meddling that has become the hallmark of the establishment in New Jersey, with a congressional candidate in a contested primary receiving top billing as the event’s featured speaker.  Yes, there was resource-draining meddling in districts 2, 5, and 11 – in an effort to promote candidates who would fit seamlessly with the statewide message being promoted by the campaign of Bob Hugin.

Instead of building a grassroots coalition of Republicans and reformers – of the kind Ralph Nader wrote about in his book, Unstoppable – the Hugin campaign  actually determined that their best chance lay in targeting “soft” Democrats and culturally “left-leaning” independents.  But these are the very same voters open to arguments from left-leaning media like CNN, MSNBC, NJ.com, and the Bergen Record.  So when the Hugin campaign pushed a relentlessly negative message about Menendez, those “independent arbiters” pushed back and were listened to. 

This allowed the Menendez campaign to focus on making the link between Hugin and Trump – which the media backed up.  The more the media pressed, the more Hugin denied Trump, the more he suppressed his own base.  Meanwhile, the Hugin campaign went right on churning out GOTV communications and efforts to turn out those “soft” Democrats and culturally “left-leaning” independents who had by now been convinced by the media that Hugin was a “bad” man who was lying about Menendez.  Gagged and gagged again.

In the days and weeks ahead we will be taking a proper, in depth, examination of the Republican operation in the Garden State.  It will be a necessary, warts and all, detailed review.  So stay tuned.

For now, we will leave you with this: 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  - Winston Churchill

Monday
Nov052018

Grana, Matteson, Hamilton camp opposes transparency/continues anti-religion rant

Time out!  

Stop arguing that property taxpayers who happen to have a connection to Catholic education cannot serve on a public school board.

That’s the argument being made by supporters of Jennifer Grana, Kate Matteson, and Jennifer Hamilton.  It seems to be a theme being pushed by their campaign for seats on the Sparta Board of Education.  

After someone with the campaign of Grana-Matteson-Hamilton sent in a letter attacking opponents Karen Scott and Chris Arnold for their service as music teachers at Pope John High School, we gave candidates Jennifer Grana, Kate Matteson, and Jennifer Hamilton the opportunity to correct what we saw as an illogical and bigoted position. We would have happily published their point of view, just to give them the opportunity to explain why they thought Catholics should not be allowed to serve on the Sparta School Board.

Instead, another supporter with the campaign doubled down with another letter that brought up the connection with Pope John High School.  Will these bigots never stop? 

This new letter-writer made the false claim that the Scott-Arnold-Serrano team she opposes sent out a mailer. We’ve seen the mailer and it is clear who sent it out.  Either the letter writer is a liar or semi-literate.   

She also must know that the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of The Constitution of the United States of America takes precedence over EVERYTHING and ANYTHING else.  So long as the school board has the power to impose a property tax on people and collect that tax, those taxpayers have the UNDISPUTED RIGHT to comment on those who are running for election to that school board.  

When you place your name on the ballot for school board, you acknowledge that along with the POWER to raise people’s property taxes comes the acceptance that you, as a candidate for public office, will come under scrutiny.  That your past actions, statements, and positions as a candidate for other elected offices is fair and proper areas of scrutiny and review. TO SUGGEST OTHERWISE FLIES IN THE FACE OF TRANSPARENCY AND OPEN GOVERNMENT! 

If you don’t want such scrutiny, don’t seek the power to tax your fellow human beings. 

How many families have been crushed – forced into foreclosure and homelessness – because the people elected to the school board did not undergo the necessary scrutiny and only too late revealed themselves to have little care for the concerns of taxpayers?  Never again!

Get used to scrutiny.  

Saturday
Nov032018

Democrat school board candidates in Sparta object to opponents’ religious affiliation

There has been much to be proud of in the conduct of most county elections this year.  The county-wide offices offer the most diverse line-up in memory and yet you wouldn’t know it by the way they have campaigned.  The candidates for Freeholder and Surrogate have ignored the personal differences of their opponents and instead have kept strictly to the issues.  For this they should be applauded… both Democrats and Republicans. 

Not so for one of the team of candidates running for School Board in Sparta.  A supporter of the team of Jen Grana, Kate Matteson and Jen Hamilton attacked members of the opposing team of Karen Scott, Chris Arnold, and Vanessa Serrano for their connection to Roman Catholic education. 

Matteson and Hamilton were Democrat candidates for the Legislature last year, so they have the experience to know better.  Their supporter targeted Karen Scott and Chris Arnold in a letter published in a county newspaper, writing that because they taught at Pope John High School, a Roman Catholic school, Sparta should not have them on a public school board.

This is a narrow and, might we say, bigoted argument.  We hope that the team of Grana, Matteson, and Hamilton will reject such arguments and publicly distance themselves from this supporter.

 

Wednesday
Oct312018

Democrats oppose reform to prevent future solar scams

At last night's NJ Herald debate, Democrat candidate for Freeholder Patrick Curreri came out squarely against the reform that would have prevented the solar program that ended in a $26 million debt for Sussex County Taxpayers.  Four Freeholder candidates held the debate in Newton this evening, Democrat Howard Zatkowsky was absent.

Democrat Curreri opposed the steps taken by neighboring Warren County which has established the requirement of voter approval for discretionary county bonding for projects such as the one that became the solar debacle in Sussex County.  The reform has been so successful in Warren County that the county has been able to cut property taxes there.  In contrast, Sussex County has had to raise its property taxes year after year.

Warren County passed the reform in a 2013 ordinance which requires voter approval for bonding that exceeds 2 percent of the annual appropriations of the county.  As Freeholder Herb Yardley said:  "This ordinance would provide a check on spending.  It would slow down the process of acquiring debt and it would force it out into the open to be debated publicly and then voted up or down."

The reform being proposed is one that is already used by local towns.  In 2017, Newton voters shot down a school bonding referendum.  The voters of Newton had the opportunity to take on $18 million at a cost to them and their families of $337 per household for the next 20 years.  They weighed the benefits with the costs and said NO.  This reform places county government under the same discipline.  It is a reform that expands transparency and democracy.

At the close of the debate, Curreri had the opportunity to correct his position on reform, but when asked by Herald reporter Bruce Scruton directly, he reiterated his opposition to no borrowing without the approval of the voters.  Curreri said he OPPOSED the reform on live video and to the crowd in Newton.

Monday
Oct292018

Murphy spoke to Israel-haters at the Women’s March. Does he regret that now?

Earlier this year – while a young woman in his administration was trying to find justice after she claims she was raped by one of his top appointees – Democrat Governor Phil Murphy trotted on to the stage of the Women’s March in New Jersey. He apparently didn’t care that the group’s founder, Linda Sarsour, called for Jihad against the government of the United States or that she was a fan of Jew-hater Louis Farrakhan.  He also didn’t seem to care that the Women’s March banner was being held by activists opposed to the Jewish State and that they were pushing anti-Israeli propaganda at the event – in front of him.

We thought of this over the weekend, when the Governor put out a press statement on the murders of eleven Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  That statement triggered a Star-Ledger headline that read:  “Murphy condemns rising anti-Semitism at vigil for Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.”

Condemn it… he’s part of it.  By allowing anti-Israeli propaganda to be part of the gatherings he speaks in front of, the Democrat is normalizing anti-Jewish sentiment by a major political party.  Forget trying to link it to President Trump’s coarse plain-spokenness – this is direct.  The people who would kill the Jewish State get to show up and be part of Democrat Party events and Murphy doesn’t say boo.

At the vigil attended by Murphy, the Governor had the gall to speak against what he himself has done:  "We must find the courage, even through tears and heartbreak, to reverse this trend. We cannot allow the normalization of hatred."  Yes Governor, we agree, so stop!

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that anti-Semitic incidents had gone up by 32 percent in New Jersey.  Of course they did.  Hating the Jewish state is now mainstream with people like Governor Murphy, the Women’s March, and the Democrat Party. 

Over the summer, Murphy’s close political ally – U.S. Senator Cory Booker – played up to the Hamas/Hezbollah loving Israel-haters – the Antifa wing of the Democrat Party.  After the Pittsburgh massacre, Booker had the gall to put out a press statement that triggered another Star-Ledger headline:  Booker says 'words matter' following attacks against Democrats and Jewish worshippers.

Ahem…

And then there’s Booker’s political ally – Democrat Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver – one of only three legislators to oppose a resolution that prohibited investment of state pension and annuity funds in anti-Jewish companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses.  That’s right, Ms. Oliver – Phil Murphy’s running mate and Cory Booker’s political ally – the Lt. Governor of New Jersey, sided with those who hate the Jewish state

The Roll Call vote is below.  Yes, words do matter Cory… and so do actions.

S1923 Aa (1R)  Prohibits investment of pension and annuity funds by State in companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses. 

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/AL16/24_.HTM