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A BUMP IN LONEGANS ROAD TO VICTORY?: An Interview With Steve Lonegan-Part III

antlonegan3Bookmark and Share   On the issues, Steve Lonegan has proven himself to be well versed , prepared and experienced. As a former mayor he understands the ramifications of the legislation and mandates that come out of Trenton. In the previous two parts of our interview, Steve Lonegan didn’t just argue for a conservative approach to state government and governance, he demonstrated the how’s and whys of wrong minded liberal leadership. At the same time he presented concrete, conservative solutions to the problems that liberal leadership have presented us with today.

In this final part of our interview, I asked Mayor Lonegan about his campaign.

His campaign raised a few heads when late last year, Steve Lonegan stated that he would accept public matching funds in his race. Some saw that move as hypocritical, others, like Lonegan simply see at is playing by the rules of the game that we have to deal with.

Of course Jon Corzine won’t have to play by those rules. He has the luxury of reaching into his own wallet and financing his campaign on his own. After all, that is how he won his last two statewide campaigns. He bought both his seat in the United States Senate and his office in Trenton. And oddly enough, the so-called “rich” Republicans running for Governor in New Jersey, do not have the independent wealth of a limousine liberal like Corzine, so, by accepting matching funds, they are assuring themselves of having at least enough money to let people know that they are running against Corzine.

So far, Lonegan has raised over half a million dollars. That amount puts him significantly ahead in the field of current and potential candidates. As for those who may have had any doubt about how serious a run for the nomination Lonegan would make, the half a million he raised and the half a million that he will receive in matching funds makes for a million reasons to take his candidacy seriously. And that is just so far. More money is coming.

When asked if expects to be able to raise enough money to bring his name ID up to the level of Chris Christie, his major rival for the nomination at this point, Lonegan feels that he will raise an amount of money comparable, if not even, to Chris Christie.

As for raising enough money to be competitive with Jon Corzine if Lonegan is our Republican nominee for Governor, Lonegan states “I don’t need to outspend Jon Corzine to win”. “We need to have enough money to get our message out” he added.antlonegan4

Lonegan believes that Corzine has to raise and spend tons of money, maybe even an historic level of campaign spending all to simply defend his record,. Lonegan made it clear that Corzine has to explain why he created “the highest taxes in the country and an economic decline which has our friends and neighbors leaving the state”.

Lonegans punctuates the spending question in this campaign by adding “I think Corzine should spend $75million  or $100 million dollars. I think that could be the best economic stimulus package New Jersey could see”.

That statement could be funny if it were true, but the state of New Jersey has no major media market of its own and so much of the campaign dollars spent in the race for Governor of Jersey will be split between the New York media market in North Jersey and the Philly media market in the south. So even a boondoggled bundle of bucks in our state’s own election won’t benefit New Jersey that much.

  • “If the primary ends up being a hard hitting, bloody battle, well so be it.  Let’s get ready for the general election”     -Steve Lonegan, 1/21?09-POLITICS 24/7 Interview

That aside, with all things being equal, I asked Lonegan how he would describe himself and his political ideology to me, a self-proclaimed, “bleeding heart, Jack Kemp, conservative who is a heavily armed dove“. To which Lonegan replied that he is  a “principled conservative who believes in free-market principles and values of limited government and lower taxes who has been elected three times in a small town that is 2 to 1 Democrats to Republicans”.

But with the Republican field for Governor already comprised of another self avowed Conservative in Assemblyman Rick Merkt and will soon be having another in Mayor Brian Levine of Franklin Township, I asked Lonegan how he would differentiate himself. To that he replied, “I raised half a million dollars”.

Aside from that, the Mayor did admit that he and Rick Merkt “agree on a lot” and that he is “great and has a great record and is a terrific guy”.

  • Levine “has positioned himself as a pro COAH and Abbott funding moderate, so that will be interesting”                            -Steve Lonegan, 1/21?09-POLITICS 24/7 Interview

As for Brian Levine, Steve Lonegan has to muster up the desire to speak nearly half as nicely.

After saying that Brian Levine is a nice fellow, he throws in the fact that Levine is a small town mayor, and that,is something Lonegan likes. But that is about as far as the liking goes. Once those platitudes were over Lonegan stated “that Levine has positioned himself as a pro COAH and Abbott funding moderate, so that will be interesting”

With that out of the way, the Mayor agreed with me on the fact that Republicans need to be unified in November and so I asked him he could promise to keep the campaign civil and avoid any mocking tones and obey Ronald Reagan’s eleventh commandment which dictated that “thou shall not speak ill of fellow Republicans”. 

That so called commandment was first uttered by Reagan during his 1966 primary for the Republican nomination for Governor of California.

As for employing that phrase here in the 2009 Republican primary for Governor of New Jersey, Lonegan stated “Oh, absolutely. There is no need for personal attacks or mocking tones, however we will be hard hitting on the issues and the record”.

He added, “if you can’t make your way through a good, hard hitting, primary, how do you expect to take on Jon Corzine’s millions of dollars?”. So I will put my record up against anyone and I will be looking very carefully at Mr. Christie’s record and his positions on the issues and we will define the differences. If that ends up being a hard hitting, bloody primary, well so be it. Let’s get ready for the general election”.

So it looks like the stage is set for a few battles. One will be for the hearts of the conservative wing of the party. That battle may include Chris Christie if he gets off of the ideological fence but it will certainly include Merkt and Levine against Lonegan.

The other battle will be for the minds of all Republicans. That battle will not only include the emotionally charged ideological arguments but the electability argument as well.

It is on that argument that Steve Lonegan may have his greatest challenge and in that challenge he may not be making things any easier for himself.

Some may think the electability question may be raised by what a few see as Lonegan’s brashness. But what they may see as brash others see as open and honest.

For me the potential drawback to Lonegan’s success here, lies not so much in Lonegan himself as it does in his choice of staff.

Until now, one issue in particular, has not come up in the shaping primary race but I am afraid it might.  That is the selection of Steve Lonegan’s campaign manager, Kevin Collins.

The selection of Kevin Collins as his campaign manager could create a problem.

The source of the problem dates back to an incident in 2007.

antmailer2Collins designed a campaign mail piece in a Republican state senate primary against State Senator Kevin O’Toole.

Senator O’Toole is of Korean descent. And the piece referred to his Korean ancestry by claiming that O’Toole exploited his heritage by claimimng to be a minority and asking for special rights when his senate district lines were being redrawn during the redistricting process. The Collins campaign mailer described Kevin O’Toole as “The Republican Al Sharpton” for taking advantage of minority rights protections.  It also included a photo comparisson of the two.

The mailer was a low point for Republicans. It was typical race baiting and should not have ever been considered by Collins or the candidate on whose behalf the mailer was sent out. Worse than the mailer were some of Kevin Collins’ replies to accusations over the mailer. At one point Collins said:

“We could have altered the photo. We did not. We could have made a more jaundiced look to his skin. We did not.”

The judgment was so bad that Collins was even officially rebuked by all thirty of the Republican assembly members serving at the time.

In a unanimously signed  letter, the 30 assembly Republicans wrote “Mr. Collins has crossed a line and we believe it would no longer be appropriate for him to do work on behalf of any candidate running as a Republican in this state”.

When asked about the incident Steve Lonegan replied “ Since then, even Kevin O’Toole has hired Kevin Collins

A call to Senator O’Toole’s office to confirm that statement was not responded to but Lonegan went on to say “I don’t think the Republicans should have the democrats telling us us how to run our own campaigns”.

Problem is, it is not Democrats who joined together in denouncing the Collins mailer and requesting that Collins have no part in Republican campaigns in New Jersey. It is fellow Republicans who have decided that.

A call to Assembly Republican Minority Leader Alex DeCroce about this matter also went unanswered so we have no idea where assembly Republicans stand on their banning of Collins but others are not so quiet about the Lonegan hiring.

Jonathon Kim, President of the Korean Association of New Jersey called Lonean’s hiring of Kevin Collins “disturbing”and he thinks the Mayor might be “shooting himself in the foot” by hiring Kevin Collins.

To this Lonegan simply replied “well, he’s wrong”

For his part Steve Lonegan says “Kevin Collins is an effective individual, knows politics and has outstanding character and integrity”. and that he “will not have someone on his/my campaign personally attacked by Democrats”.

But it may not even get to the point where Democrats have the chance to do the attacking.

Lonegan first has to get through fellow Republicans and one cannot help but wonder if this issue will be brought up among his rivals or any of  the Republicans who, back in 2007, declared Kevin Collins persona non grata in New Jersey.

Personally I have no hard feelings either way. The O’Toole mailer does seem to be a bit over the line but I am not sure it is a demonstration of politics at its worst. However my real concern is the effects of Lonegans’s decision to hire Collins during the general election.

If this incident is not addressed and gone by then, what if Steve Lonegan does become the Republican standard bearer? Do we want our conservative candidate for Governor being attacked and labeled as insensitive to minorities or of running a campaign prone to racial divisiveness?

Come November, we will need every vote we can get to win. Such a victory will need to tap into almost every demographic we have, including the significant Korean population of the state, a population which is quite Republican oriented.

So I do hope that this issue gets addressed sooner rather than later and I do also hope it does not damage the chances of Lonegan’s promising campaign.

Kevin Collins is a decent man and he has done some good work including the work of challenges that some may have turned away from.

When Hillary Clinton was running for relection in New York, few came forward to challenge her and fewer volounteered time and money to campaign against her but not Kevin Collins. He managed the campaign of Hillary Clinton’s opponenet, John Spencer.

The same holds true of New York’s Chuck Schumer whose most recent opponent, Howard Mills was also managed by Kevin Collins.

Collins also managed past efforts for some candidates which I hold in high esteem. One of them is former GOP Assembly Republican Majority Leader Paul DeGaetano (in fact, he is one person I wish was running for the job of Governor this time around).

So Collins has paid his dues and fought the hard fights and along the way, everyone is entitled to a mistake or two. But this is politics and whether we like it or not, everything is on the table, including Collins mistake.

Hopefully it is not an issue that will blow up. Hopefully the past actions of Assembly Republicans regarding Collins and Lonegan’s present actions of hiring Collins as his campaign manager can somehow be balanced.

It is hard to quantify Lonegan’s decision in bringing Collins onboard the campaign. Some could say it is a courageous call on Lonegan’s part. Others may say it was a stupid decision that opens Lonegan up to attacks that can further advance liberal accusations that Republicans are out of touch with and insensitive to racial concerns.

Either way, on both the issues and his approach to the issues, Steve Lonegan’s campaign promises to be the stuff that political drama’s are made of and he will be the one candidate in this election who is certain to grab headlines.

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CORRECTION:  Rick Shaftan, a strategists and aide in the Lonegan for Governor campaign,  alerted us of an inaccuracy in the above post.  In it we attributed the quotation known as Ronald Reagan’s eleventh commandment to Ronald Reagan himself.  Mr. Shaftan made it known that the quote was first used by Gaylord Parkinson who was the California Republican State Chairman who used it in response to attacks on Reagan during his primary for the california gubernatorial nomination.

Mr. Shaftan pointed out “The Eleventh Commandment is quoted most of the time by liberals who would never quote anything Reagan said. It’s ironic that when they quote it, they are not quoting Reagan”.

We thank Mr. Shaftan for his historical accuracy and hope he was not calling us at POLITICS 24/7 liberal.

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TWIN PEEPS

Maybe there is something to the pseudoscience of face reading! When I first looked at corrupt Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich‘s face (I like to refer to him as Gov. Doucheblag), the dude who was charged with attempting to sell President-elect Obama’s vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder (!!), I immediately thought, OMG, he looks just like Lyle Menendez! All you true-crime aficionados out there know who I’m talking about: Lyle and his brother Erik were charged with murdering their parents and then going on a shopping spree with their credit cards in Beverly Hills in the ’90s. Good times . . .

GiggleSugar

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REPEAL THE CONGRESSIONAL PAY HIKE

Sign the Online Petition – Repeal The Automatic Pay Raise That Congress Is Receiving

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Results for the latest POLITICS 24/7 poll are in!

As for who you want to see be the next Chairman of the Republican National Committee

the results are as follows:

40%  –  KEN BLACWELL

20%  –  SAUL ANUZIS

20%  –  MICHAEL STEELE

  7%  –  KATON DAWSON

 7%  –  CHIP SALTSMAN

 7%  –  Other 

 0%  –  MIKE DUNCAN 

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IS ‘BARACK THE MAGIC NEGRO” AN APPROPRIATE CAMPAIGN PROMO?

I have remained quiet in the shaping race to elect a new Republican National Committee Chairman. I have been waiting to see what each candidate brings to the table. I want to hear about how they intend to reach out and involve the grassroots of the G.O.P. and how they intend to spread the Republican message and increase the chances for good Republicans to win elections again.

 The current field of declared candidates include incumbent national committee chairman Mike Duncan, Saul Anuzis of Michigan, Maryland’s former Lt. Gov. and the current chairman of GOPac, Michael Steele, South Carolina Republican Chairman Katon Dawson, Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and former Tennessee Republican Chairman and campaign to manager to Mike Huckabee, Chip Saltsman.

The only names on that list which I have had negative impressions of were Duncan and Saltsman.

Mike Duncan has had his chance to boost the fortunes of our party. Admittedly, during his tenure as chairman, he had a tough situation to deal with. The tide was not going our way so I do not blame Mike Duncan for our defeats at the poll, but I also cannot credit him for cutting our losses. Under his leadership, I did not see any enhanced outreach, defining of our message or cohesive strategy for republicans to tap into.

As for Chip Saltsman, I saw nothing outstanding about him. As the campaign manager for Mike Huckabee’s presidential primary effort, there was no evidence of unique, innovative strategies nor were there any operational advantages gained by his management of Huckabee. Furthermore, as the former chairman of the Tennessee G.O.P., Saltsman simply inherited a strong Republican party and presided over it as a mere caretaker.

All of this allowed me to see that there was no reason to choose Saltsman over any of the other candidates for the job.

However, recent events have allowed me to see that there is good reason not to choose Saltsman for Chairman.

As Christmas approached the wannabe Republican leader sent a 41 track cd that was created by Paul Shanklin, a conservative satirists and friend of his, to Republican committee members whose votes will elect a new Chairman for the Republican National Committee.

Entitled, “We Hate The U.S.A.”, the CD pokes fun at liberals and liberal thinking. One of the tracks on this musical giveaway chided liberal followers with spirited lyrics that claimed Caucasians who felt guilty about the treatment of African Americans tried to ease that guilt by supporting Barack Obama. The disturbing ditty was called “Barack the Magic Negro” and it was sung to the tune of “Puff The Magic Dragon”.

Now, I am not going to get into the reasons behind why one voted for or against President-elect Obama, nor will I joke about it. For me, the reasons behind those votes, either way, are too serious for me to joke about. But that is me and anyone who knows me, knows that I take politics too serious. So although I can’t find humor in someone supporting a move toward socialism, I can accept someone else finding it funny, in a dark sort of way.

What I do not respect is someone who tries to be a leader and lacks the judgment to properly lead us.

CHIP SALTSMAN

CHIP SALTSMAN

The ignorance Chip Saltsman displayed by giving out this CD is astonishing. It indicates a blatant lack of judgment and skill.

Instead of showing himself to be savvy and having the ability to overcome wrongly held perceptions about Republicans, Chip Saltsman went out of his way to open Republicans up to accusations of racist tendencies.

 Now you may be able to find some humor in the “Barack the Magic Negro” tune. You can argue that some people voted for Obama because they felt that it was time for an African American to be elected and in doing so they may have ignored what he would do as President. You may debate the validity of such thinking but what a responsible leader cannot do is bring up the topic in such a way that is seen as irresponsible and in a way that can allow others to call Republicans racists.

 The actions of Chip Saltsman have demonstrated that he is the last person Republicans need to lead our rebuilding effort. We do not need a Republican chairman whose judgment divides Americans before we even begin to disagree on issues. We need a leader who can maintain our principles and unite people behind our agenda . An agenda that cannot be seen to have racial overtones.

I do not know if Chip Saltsman is a biggot or not. Up until now I have had no reason to believe that he is. Unforunately, his recent taste in Christmas gifts designed at getting him enough votes to become Chairman of the R.N.C. has made we wonder if he is though.

Does the song in question offer any racist sentiments?

Judge for yourself.

For the purpose of full disclosure and clarification of whether Saltsman demonstrated poor judgment, here are the lyrics from that controversial tune…….

“Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.
The L.A. Times they called him that
cause he’s not authentic like me.

Yeah the guy from the L.A. paper
said he made guilty whites feel good
they’ll vote for him and not for me
cause hes not from da hood.

See, real black men like snoop dogg
or me or Farrakhan
have talked the talk and walked the walk
not come and laid and won (not sure about this line).

Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.
The L.A. Times they called him that
cause he’s not authentic like me
cause hes black but not authentically.

Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.
The L.A. Times they called him that
cause he’s not authentic like me
cause hes black but not authentically.

Some say Barack’s articulate
and bright and new and clean
the media sure love this guy
a white interloper’s dream.

But when you vote for president
watch out and don’t be fooled
don’t vote the magic negro in
cause…

(background singing the first 3 lines, while the singer is saying)

Cause I wont have nothing after all these years of sacrifice and I wont get justice this is about justice this is about justice, buffet, I don’t have no buffet there wont be any church contributions there’ll be no cash in the collection plate, no cash money, no walkin’ around money…”

 

Personally, I do find the song inappropriate. I do not support blatantly, disrespectful intentions that help exacerbate tensions. With that view, I am disgusted by Chip Saltsman’s attempt to promote himself among Republicans by offering a gift that utilizes this song.

You may claim, that I am wrong for reproducing the lyrics in this post. If so I disagree. Unlike Saltsman, I do not offer it up as a fun gift. I offer it up as an example of intolerable conduct. I also display it so that others can understand why I am calling upon Chip Saltsman to withdraw his name from consideration for chairman of the R.N.C..

Just as troublesome as having to question whether or not Saltsman has racist tendencies, is the obvious lack of judgment which allowed the question to be raised. Even if he is not a racist, he has shown us that he does not have the capacity to help deflect such accusations from being leveled at the Republican party.

As I look forward to rebuilding our party, Saltsman is not someone who we can look forward to rebuilding it with.

punchline-politics21

Having chosen English as the preferred language in the EEC, the European Parliament has commissioned a feasibility study in ways of improving efficiency in communications between Government departments. European officials have often pointed out that English spelling is unnecessarily difficult – for example, cough, plough, rough, through and thorough. What is clearly needed is a phased program of changes to iron out these anomalies. A committee staff from the top level of participating nations would, of course, administer the program. In the first year, for example, the committee would suggest using ‘s’ instead of the soft ‘c’. Sertainly, sivil servants in all sities would resieve this news with joy. Then the hard ‘c’ could be replaced by ‘k’ sinse both letters are pronounsed alike. Not only would this klear up konfusion in the minds of klerikal workers, but typewriters kould be made with one less letter. There would be growing enthusiasm when in the sekond year, it kould be announsed that the troublesome ‘ph’ would henseforth be written as ‘f’. 

This would make words like ‘fotograf’ twenty per sent shorter in print. 

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reash the stage where more komplikated shanges are possible. Governments would enkourage the removal of double letters which have always been a deterent to akurate speling. We would al agre that the horible mes of silent ‘e’s in the languag is disgrasful. Therefor we kould drop thes and kontinu to read and writ as though nothing had hapend. By this tim it would be four years sins the skem began and peopl would be reseptive to steps sutsh as replasing ‘th’ by ‘z’. Perhaps zen ze funktion of ‘w’ kould be taken on by ‘v’, vitsh is, after al, half a ‘w’. Shortly after zis, ze unesesary ‘o’ kould be dropd from words kontaining ‘ou’. Similar arguments vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. 

Kontinuing zis proses yer after yer, ve vud eventuli hav a reli sensibl riten styl. After tventi yers zer vud be no mor trubls, difikultis and evrivun vud fin it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drems of ze Guvermnt vud finali hav kum tru.

 

 

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