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Newt Gingrich Proving To Be Surprisingly Strong in New Jersey

 Bookmark and ShareNew Jersey Republicans may be happy with Governor Christie’s job performance but not all of them are in agreement with his first choice for the Republican presidential nomination.  many New Jersey Republicans are throwing their weight behind former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.  Myself included.  While I made sure to give each of the presidential candidates a fair hearing and gave them an all opportunity to earn my vote, back in November I concluded that Newt earned my endorsement and made it public on POLITICS 24/7’s  sister site, White House 2012.

Despite my support for Newt, I have been critical of him.  When mistakes have been made, like Newt Gingrich himself, I see no shame in admitting them, especially if one learns from them and does not repeat them.  And as this campaign progresses, I still believe that Newt Gingrich is the man best suited to do the job we need done in the years ahead.  And so do many New Jerseyans.  This realization has only been reinforced in the weeks since I endorsed him and until recently when I honored to be appointed the Regional Director of Central New Jersey for Newt 2012 .

The position is one that has afforded me the opportunity to get a true sense of how deep support for Newt runs.  Hundreds of volunteers across New Jersey have declared that they too belive that newt Gingrich has a proven record and solid vision for the type of true conservative reforms that our nation needs.  They understand that his he is the anti-establishment candidate and they are proud of it.  Many conservatives like the fact that Newt has always been willing to take on the establishment because he realizes that it is the political establishment that is holding us back with behemoth sized  bureaucracy and the crony capitalism of inside the Beltway political figures who allow bad personal politics to override positive public policy.

Yet today, some are again writing Newt Gingrich off.  Once again, some are trying to claim that this is a two man race that does not include Newt Gingrich.  Well those same people who were wrong before, are wrong again.  Ask people like DeLinda Ridings, who served as a Regional Director for Newt Gingrich in South Carolina.  After two back to back losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, people like DeLinda Ridings help to coordinate the effort and organize the support of Newt Gingrich supporters to pull off an astounding landslide victory that crossed every demographic.

That in and of itself is makes it worthwhile to remember that history does tend to repeat itself.  And if the enthusiasm among Newt Gingrich supporters is any indication, the victory that South Carolinians pulled off for Newt in the Palmetto State can very easily be duplicated in the Garden State and others as well.  That is especially the case given the fact that a few political lifetimes can pass between now and the New Jersey Presidential primary that will take place four months from now in June.

In that time, we are very likely going to see the position of frontrunner change hands numerous times, and while I am confident that Republicans will be united behind our candidate by the time we head to Tampa for the Republican National Convention, I am also confident that each of the candidates are going to to do their best to earn that united support till the bitter end.  In the case of New Jersey, it is one of very last battles in the nomination process and could prove to be quite pivotal in determining who the nominee is.  But as of now, I can tell you that regardless of what any state polls might indicate, the one thing they can not accurately gauge is how strongly voters stand behind their choice for President. And when it comes to the volunteers who are committing themselves to Newt in New Jersey those supporters vary from young to old.  It consists of young college students to older, retired persons.  It includes high powered attorneys to high powered, high energy Moms. school teachers, union workers, small business owners and minimum wage earners.  But regardless of their age or status, they all share at least one favorite quality about Newt.  We know that he is unafraid to challenge the status quo of Washington, D.C. and even fellow conservatives.

Newt supporters know that he will challenge traditional political thinking and force conservatives to make the Republican Party the Party of ideas once again.  We know that Newt is in the mold of great conservative thinkers like Jack Kemp who forced his economic ideas upon the Party and even sold Reaganomics to Ronald Reagan and introduced our nation to the type of Urban Enterprise Zones that revitalized once depressed and dilapidated urban centers.

They know that unlike Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich is the only candidate running for President who understands that we can’t just tinker with the our regressive tax code that is burdening our national economy and depressing every family’s economy and that we must  instead abolish our complex, failing, loophole ridden tax code, with one that offers one rate for one nation and can help grow our economy by leaps and bounds.

New Jersey Republicans understand that our ship of state can’t continue sail the rough seas created by the excessive growth of government and the ever increasing expansion of government involvement in our lives.   They know that to survive the government created tsunami in front of us, we must quickly change course with sharp turns away from the socialist path of so-called moderates and the progressiv-liberal Democrats that have hijacked the Constitution and placed it in the hands of activist judges who have a greater desire to impose on us their personal political agenda than to interpret the intention of our laws.

So I urge all New Jersey voters to remember that this race is not over.  There is a long way yet to go and I ask that you join us in supporting the only conservative reformer in the race for President…..Newt Gingrich, the conservative with a true vision, a vision fitting of our great nation.  A vision that suits the high aspirations of our nation and its people.

To join the effort, you can contact me, Anthony Del Pellegrino, at :

Newt2012CentralNJ@gmail.com

You will be directed to the coordinator of the region you residen in, and we will get you on board with Team Newt!

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The Political Maturation of Chris Christie

Bookmark and Share  Recently socialist political news analyst Jonathon Alter declared that Chris Christie was preparing for a run for President.  This revelation was based on sources which told him that Christie began using focus groups to prepare for the run.  As it turned out the reliably unreliable Jonathon was, as usual, wrong.  Alter is a personality from MSNBC, or which I commonly refer to it as, the Mostly Slanted News Bias Corporation.  So it is not surprising that he would get yet another political scoop wrong.  However, at the same time, it is easy to assume that Christie might run.

Even after months of denying a run for President and going so far as to say that the only thing he could do to really convince people he was not running was to commit suicide, the prospect of his presidential candidacy is still not out of the question.  Christie’s name still sits at the top of the list of names of those who people would like to run and he has continuously been courted by business groups and political leaders from across the nation.  The most recent pitch was made by a mix of business leaders from Iowa, the state that holds the first presidential nominating contest. 

Saying that one will not run for President, even adamantly saying so, does not mean they won’t run.  Texas Governor Rick Perry swore that he had no interest in running and was not considering it until last month when he changed his mind.  But with Chris Christie it is probably true that he is not running.  Not now or ever.  But he is keeping his options open and recent subtle moves to moderate his image….his image, not his positions…….have proven that.

As exhibited in the clip below, Chris Christie has been hit the point where he is politically maturing. 

His recent definition of leadership demonstrates that political maturity and it is both ingenious from a strategic political perspective as well as a managerial perspective.  In the clip, you will see how Christie justifies his often hard stances and blunt talk.  It a justification that directly appeals to Independent voters, a New Jersey voting bloc that no Republican can win elected office without substantial support from.

Christie’s remarks in the clip below are the type of thing that Independent voters on the national level would appreciate and the type of statement that could even ease the tension of those who may disagree with Christie by making them believe that at least he means what he says and says what he means.  That type of respect really does cross Party lines and it is also not often seen in politics.

And Christie knows this.  That is why he promoted the clip below in his own twitter when he tweeted the following:

“[VIDEO] I think people in this state like leaders regardless of their party. Leading is not a political strategy:”
 
Chris Christie is most likely not running for President, but there is absolutely no reason why he couldn’t and between his actions, his image and statements like the one below, maybe one day he actually should run.  As for now though, I know that we could use him in New Jersey, so hopefully he will  not give the idea any serious consideration until after he has completed his second consecutive term as Governor.Bookmark and Share

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A Tribute To My Hero, Jack Kemp

jackkemp8x10Bookmark and Share   Today, Jack Kemp will be laid to rest after private funeral services at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C..

To mark this event, I have put together the following memorial tribute.

Jack Kemp was more than a politician. He was a man who helped shape lives.

From his children to activists like me, Jack Kemp inspired a generation or more of American enthusiasts like myself. It was not just his policies or legislative agenda which provided us with that inspiration, it was his ability to turn issues into goals and dreams into reality. It was his inherent optimism and boundless belief in human potential that inspired millions to the American Republican cause.

Jack Kemp inspired me to believe that it is not our government that makes us great but our people that make our nation great.

In his plight for economic empowerment, human dignity and the defense of freedom, Jack Kemp’s words and deeds gave the Republican Party a heart and for many his philosophy became the heart of the Republican Party.

That is why I am Kempite. That is why I am and will always be a bleeding-heart, Jack Kemp, conservative.

 

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An American Hero Has Fallen. Jack F. Kemp Succumbs To Cancer.

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Bookmark and Share    Along our journey through time, there are many experiences which we encounter that shape our lives but there are few people who touch our lives and do the same.

Aside from my parents there are only a select few who have shaped my life.

Jack Kemp was one of them.

On Saturday, this iconic American leader passed away. He succumbed to a battle with cancer at 73 years of age.

His death hits me hard.

Barely in my teens, my political interests were inspired by Ronald Reagan. They grew each day for the eight years that he was President. But during this same time, I also came to appreciate a Congressman from my home state of New York.

My own Congressman was Chuck Schumer…….a man who was not exactly someone who I considered an innovative, heroic leader. But Jack Kemp was, and although Kemp was from Buffalo and I was from Brooklyn, the distance did not takeaway from the influence that his philosophy and public service had on me.

In the early days of the Reagan Revolution I first came to know of Jack Kemp because of his strong and vocal advocacy of deregulation, enterprise zones and tax reduction. It was his tax cutting legislation that President Ronald Reagan actually endorsed as he began to get America back on track.

Initially proposed in 1978, together with senator Roth of Delaware, Jack
Kemp wrote and sponsored legislation which proposed the 30 percent, across the board, tax cut which was, in large part, enacted in the 1981 Reagan budget.

Kemp’s vigorous promotion of supply-side economics made him a well known, if not controversial, politician and earned him a popular following among the Republican rank and file.

I was one of them.

Many casual voters outside of Buffalo may not have known who Jack Kemp was at the time, but those involved in the issues shaping America sure did. Especially those who considered themselves “movement conservatives.”

A movement conservative is one who supports all, or nearly all, conservative principles with a coherent philosophy, and who advances broad conservative goals both individually and through teamwork.

Back then I did not know it, but I was, and to this day, remain, a movement conservative and Jack Kemp was one of the movement’s leaders.

Over time, I came to appreciate Jack Kemp more and more. I followed his voting record and read the speeches he offered on the floor of the house in the congressional record. His statements were always inspiring to me. Although those speeches were often intermingled with some words that I needed to lookup in the dictionary, once I did, they made sense and they were supported by all that freedom in a free nation means.

On top of that, his voting record always matched his rhetoric. Jack Kemp meant what he said and said what he meant. With Jack Kemp it was not rhetoric, it was reality.

Kemp’s credentials increased in Congress where he became increasingly interested in economic ideas and was a keen supporter of supply-side economics and especially of large cuts in direct taxes, which he argued, would pay for themselves. In addition to being a fiscal conservative, Kemp was also conservative on cultural and foreign affair issues.

In one debate where New York’s Governor Mario Cuomo called the Congressman a “hawk”, Kemp said of himself, “I am not a hawk but actually a heavily armed dove“.

Remarks like that helped define the G.O.P. and it became clear to me that Kemp was a shining example of the type of leadership we expect, want and need in government. He was scandal free, loyal to family, always respected and always leading with innovation. So as Ronald Reagan was finishing his second term and I was coming of age, when Jack Kemp announced that he was seeking the Republican nomination for President, I enlisted in the cause.

I was fortunate to have shown myself capable of playing a role in the campaign, no matter how miniscule.

My own grassroots efforts for the death penalty in New York and other issue oriented campaigns helped to gain my entry into the Kemp camp.

As the primaries began, I found myself traveling to campaign for Jack Kemp in New Hampshire and eventually became a low level field director.

I will never forget sitting on campaign busses, traveling to every Notch from Dixville to Zealand and relaying between the state’s North White Mountains and Great North Woods to its southern sections of Portsmouth and Seabrook in the Seacoast region and Nashua, Concord and Manchester in between.

I coordinated the door-to-door effort in certain assigned locations and coordinated the smaller events and stops that we made. I was often honored beyond belief whenever I had to sit with Kemp on the campaign bus and have the opportunity to brief the would-be-President on events at our next stops and update him on how the door-to-door events at previous stops went.

It was on one such occasion, when after enduring an hour and a half of a door-to-door tour, with the Congressman, in Manchester, I collected the walking sheets of all the addresses and families visited, made sure all the volunteers boarded the bus and proceeded to settle down on the bus to go over the next event with Congressman Kemp. As I approached my seat next to him, I started rattling off the names of the local officials who would be in attendance at the next stop we were approaching.

The Congressman stopped me in mid sentence and asked,…………. “Anthony, are you cold or nervous”?

Now, primary season in New Hampshire is quite a chilly experience and I was cold, but I was also new to this and always a bit nervous in the presence of the man who had become my political hero.

So, stunned by the question, I thought for a moment and realized that the question could have been prompted by my slight shiver from the wintery winds and temperatures I had just experienced or it could have been brought about by the stammering that my nervousness triggered whenever I had to address the candidate.

So after a moment of reflection, I replied……….. “to be honest Congressman, it’s a little bit of both”.

Looking me in the eye, he casually nodded his head while saying to me………… “well let me give you a bit of advice. You might feel warmer if you zipped up your fly. And as for being nervous, just remember, I put my pants on one leg at a time like everyone else. I just happen to pull up my zipper too though”.

Embarrassed beyond belief, I dropped my clip board and all the paperwork I was carrying, turned around, zipped up, and apologized profusely. The Congressman, laughed it off and from that point on I believe he did more to make me feel at ease, than I did to help his campaign.

In the end, even though Kemp did win the first results that came out of Dixville Notch at midnight, when all of New Hampshire’s votes were counted, he came in third behind then Vice President George H.W. Bush and Kansas Senator Bob Dole, but ahead of evangelist Pat Robertson, Reagan’s former chief of Staff, General Alexander Haig and Delaware’s former Congressman and Governor Pete DuPont.

Suffice it to say, I was devastated.

The loss of the nomination did not, however, put an end to Jack Kemp’s service to our country and advancement of the conservative principles that he articulated.

In 1989 the man who beat Kemp and the others, President George H. W. Bush, appointed Kemp to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

In this role Kemp was perceived by many as a maverick rather than a collegial member of the administration. Yet he successfully implemented many policies and programs which won over friends and foes alike. One of Kemp’s most effective creations was the introduction of urban enterprise zones.

With his maverick image in place, in 1996 the Republican nominee for President, Bob Dole picked Kemp to be his Vice Presidential running mate. The selection was something of a surprise, not least because Kemp and Dole had policy disagreements in the past and had been rivals in 1988. Dole had generally been skeptical of massive tax cuts preferring to emphasize deficit reduction but the electoral dynamics of 1996 converted Dole to the merits of tax cuts. In this context Kemp was an ideal vice presidential choice. He symbolized vigorous tax cuts and was able to generate enthusiasm among Republican activists. Kemp was known nationally by many because of his football career and by others because of his visionary economic and defense policies. It was hoped that Kemp’s energetic style and manner would balance Dole’s age.

Maybe it did or maybe didn’t but either way Americans wanted a second term of Clinton and Gore and whether they ended up liking it or not, they got it.

Just as was the case in the 1988 primaries, I was disappointed but just like before, I remained a fan of Jack Kemp.

I feel that there are few people who have actually been involved in politics on par with Kemp. Sincere, principled, hard working, innovative, persistent, consistent and scandal free, Kemp and his leadership has influenced our nation much more than your average politician and he helped take what was once a fringe wing of American political thinking and turned it into mainstream policy.

Of course all of this took place after Jack Kemp, spent 13 years playing professional football where he was a quarterback for the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills and led the Bills to the American Football League championships in 1964 and 1965,……the same two years he was named the league’s most valuable player.

Not content with his playing on the field, he also co-founded the AFL Players Association, was elected its president for 5 consecutive terms and before he began his elected political career in 1970, Kemp worked for Reagan’s gubernatorial campaign in California during 1966 and served as a special assistant to Reagan when he was Governor.

In 1969 he worked for the chairman of the National Republican Committee until he ran and won his election to Congress, representing the people of the 38th congressional district.

Before and after his time in elected office and as a cabinet secretary, Jack Kemp held steadfast in his convictions on and off the field.

In football Kemp played hard. He also took some hard hits, enough to have caused him to endure a crushed hand, two broken ankles and a dozen concussions. But such dedication to the game he loved carried over into the service he performed for the country he loved. When asked about that service Kemp once stated “Pro football gave me a good perspective, he was quoted as saying. “When I entered the political arena, I had already been booed, cheered, cut, sold, traded, and hung in effigy.”

In politics, he used that football experience and tenacity to fight just as hard in the arena of ideas as he did in the football stadium.

He sold Reaganomics to Reagan, believed in a right to life and challenged those within his own party to think big and outside of the box.

Jack Kemp was one of those rare figures in politics who was more than just a partisan politician. He did not tow the party line, he drew the line that was the party.

It is for all these reasons that I chose to call myself “Kempite” on U4prez. Some may try to describe me as a hardcore right-winger or a conservative or neo-con. But few understand that I am actually a movement conservative who calls himself a “bleeding heart, Jack Kemp conservative.

That is why, today, my heart bleeds for the loss of Jack French Kemp.

There may not be a state funeral for this man, or national monuments built in his honor and our nation’s leaders may not even ask for flags to be flown at half-mast in tribute. He may not have been a President or a household name but his life has affected all of us in a profound and positive way.

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RUN YOUR OWN CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENT ON U4PREZ

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Bookmark and Share     As indicated by the name of this blog, politics is the name of the game. It is what we discuss here. It is nothing but POLITICS, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But every now and then the reality of politics can become a bit frustrating. At such times, where does a political fanatic turn for relief?

Well ladies and gentlemen a respite from real politics can be found in fantasy politics at u4prez.com.

Now I have to tell you that active participation on u4prez does not come without frustrations of its own.

In fact sometimes it can be even more frustrating than real politics.

The premise of the site is to afford you the opportunity to run your virtual reality campaign for President of the United States and in many ways it is similar to the real thing.

To begin you simply sign up by registering in a simple process that has you pick a user I.D. and password.

I selected my user I.D by using the name of my political mentor, Jack Kemp. So I am, Kempite.

The site is free and after you have selected your own creative online user ID, you can take your time in selecting an image to use as your avatar and in crafting your political platform. Here you can create your favorite sound bite and list your favorite and least favorite Presidents as well as declare your party affiliation. My platform can be viewed, here.

The rest of your platform can be used to articulate your positions on the issues. This platform becomes your homepage of sorts and it gives people an idea as to where you stand and where you are coming from.

Once you have established your online political persona, you have to jump right in to debate. You will find debates taking place everywhere on the site. It is up to you to interject yourself into the topics and discussions that you wish to have a say in.

There are other ways to start debate on the site though such as a special section for press releases which automatically go out to your supporters.

Another forum for debate can be started by creating a caucus.

Through caucuses you can maintain an ongoing discussion on any particular issue or cause that you wish.

You can also find some more general debate by viewing the comments on individual profiles and now debate has been expanded with the introduction of a user blog section.

Here you can post a blog story and readers take it from there as they leave commentary that shreds apart the points that you try to make clear.

The more commentary and dialogue that you participate in, the higher your rating goes and the higher your rating goes, the more often you are placed in a primary against a fellow u4prez member of your party. Of course the rating is also affected by others who vote for you.

antu4logoCandidates can be rated on a scale of 1 to 10 every twenty four hours. The more people like you and agree with you, the more they will extend a high rating to you. In fact owners of the site encourage members to rate one another and they encourage reviewing the platforms of fellow candidates and leaving your own commentary about them.

The logistics sound simple enough. It is not much different than running for real elected office. Get out there and try to get people to support your point of view. But the simple logistics often get complicated because of human nature and the inherent American instinct for accountability.

On u4prez, you will held accountable for everything you say and everything you say will challenged.

After awhile, the site can get personal. The level of faith that individuals involved in u4prez bring to the table is striking and they take their political beliefs to heart. For some, a challenge to their thinking is a direct blow to their hearts and they lash out.

Others view the political discourse as a challenge.

For my part, u4prez has been a terrific launching pad for ideas. As an early participant, I created the first caucus on the site and eventually I created one of the most intense and longest u4prez debates on u4prez. It involved illegal immigration and a proposal that I called Open Arms-Secure Borders.

For months the left and right of u4prez discussed every aspect of the immigration issue from amnesty to deportation to the construction of a border barrier to an open border policy. You name it, it was brought up and debated.

Probably the greatest challenge on u4prez is the same that faces any real candidate for President. How do you vehemently disagree with someone, yet still earn enough support to get elected.

That challenge has led to a great deal of creativity on u4prez and it has also led to some intense battles between candidates.

In the end, u4prez.com provides political fanatics with an forum that allows them to be heard and much like real politics, some people don’t want hear it. But just like politics, you have to find a way to make your opinion appealing and a way to overcome the apprehensions of am apprehensive electorate.

Although u4prez may not be the real thing, it does provide a real sense of just how difficult it is to reach a trustworthy consensus in America today.

Occasionally u4prez runs contests. In the past I have won their video contests where u4prez partnered up with you tube and asked candidates to produce a video ad for their campaign.

For that last contest, I produced the piece below. It highlighted the legislative initiatives that I crusaded for on u4prez.

Currently u4prez is running another contest. It is, a blog contest that offers the winning blogs cash prizes ranging from one thousand dollars for first place to 100 dollars for third place.

All in all, u4prez is a fun and creative experience in American democracy that promotes a constructive flow of ideas and sparks a rousing debate that gets the creative juices flowing while teaching you that sincere participation in politics is not as easy as it looks.

Try it out for yourself. Tell ‘em POLITICS 24/7 sent you and after registering, join my campaign, Kempite , and lets put forth the virtual reality agenda that we hope to advance in the real world.

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Size Matters
 
antillinois_governor_obama
 
Barack Obama demonstrates the size of the briefcase Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will need to accommodate the cash from auctioning off the President-elect’s Senate seat.

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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 . . .

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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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JACK KEMP – A POLITICAL ICON BATTLES CANCER

antjackkemp8x10aIt has been reported that Jack Kemp has cancer.

His office released the following statement:

“Mr. Kemp has been undergoing tests to determine the origin of the disease and the options for continued treatment. He will continue to serve as Chairman of Kemp Partners and plans to remain involved in his business, charitable and politically related activities. Mr. Kemp and his family are grateful for the thoughts and prayers of friends and appreciate respect for their privacy at this time”.

The disturbing news hits POLITICS 24/7 hard. For me Jack Kemp, has been a shining example of the type of leadership we expect, want and need in government and the news causes reason for me to pause.

As a young man Jack F. Kemp spent 13 years in professional football, playing quarterback for the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills. He led the Buffalo Bills to the American Football League championships in 1964 and 1965 when he was named the league’s most valuable player. He also co-founded the AFL Players Association and was elected it’s president for 5 consecutive terms.

After a period working for the Reagan gubernatorial campaign in California during 1966 and as special assistant to Reagan when he was Governor, Kemp in 1969 worked for the chairman of the National Republican Committee. In 1970 Kemp was elected to Congress where he represented the people of Buffalo, New York in the state’s 38th district and served their until 1989.

Barely in my teens, my political interests were inspired by Ronald Reagan. They grew each day for the eight years thatant952 he was President but during the mid 80’s I also came to appreciate a Congressman from my home state of New York.   My own Congressman was Scmuck Schumer and not exactly a heroic political leader. But Jack Kemp was and  although Kemp was from Buffalo and I was from Brooklyn, the distance did not takeaway any sense of the Congressman’s impact on me.

Many casual voters outside of Buffalo may not have heard of him at the time but those involved in the issues shaping America sure did. Especially those who considered themselves “movement conservatives“. They considered Jack Kemp a leading figure.

A movement conservative is one who supports all or nearly all conservative principles with a coherent philosophy, and who advances broad conservative goals both individually and through teamwork. At the time, I did not know it, but I was one and Jack Kemp was one of the movements leaders.

Kemp’s credentials increased in In Congress where he became increasingly interested in economic ideas and was a keen supporter of supply-side economics and especially of large cuts in direct taxes, which he argued, would pay for themselves. Kemp was also a strong and vocal advocate of deregulation and enterprise zones. In 1978, together with senator Roth of Delaware, Kemp sponsored a 30 percent across the board tax cut which was in large part enacted in the 1981 Reagan budget. It is said that he sold Reaganomics to Reagan. Kemp’s vigorous promotion of supply-side economics made him a well known, if not controversial, politician and earned him a popular following among the Republican rank and file.

In addition to being a fiscal conservative Kemp has also been conservative on cultural and foreign affair issues. In one debate with Mario Cuomo, Kemp said of himself, “I am not a hawk but actually a heavily armed dove“.

Over time, I came to appreciate Jack Kemp more and more. I followed his voting record and read the speeches he offered on the floor of the house in the congressional record. His words were always inspiring to me. Although those speeches were often intermingled with words that I needed to lookup in the dictionary, once I did, they made sense antkempsellingreaganomicsand they were supported by all that freedom in a free nation meant.

On top of that, his voting record always matched his rhetoric. Jack Kemp meant what he said and said what he meant.  With jack Kemp it was not rhetoric, it was reality.

Later, while working on Kemp’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, I learned that I was not alone in sometimes having to look up the meaning of something Kemp said. While gathering the mornings news clippings for the campaign’s press secretary, I stumbled upon a piece in a local paper that wrote “although very passionate about economic policy, Congressman Kemp often finds himself speaking to an audience of reporters and voters alike, who have a glazed look in their eyes that is brought about by his discussion of intricate policies and use of technical terms that Kemp uses with the familiarity that we have with the alphabet“.

After reading that I was actually relieved to know that I wasn’t quite as ignorant as most. I was just as ignorant as everyone else.  As the Reagan years were winding down I geared up to take the Reagan revolution to the next level and I prepared to make sure that Jack Kemp became our next President. The man to carry the torch into the future. I even developed a report which proved that Jack kemp would be the Republican presidential nominee and that Jean Kirkpatrick would be tapped as his running mate.

I was also a fan of Ambassador Kirkpatrick and the relatively close ties that she and Kemp had at the time, seemed to me, to make them a perfect and likely ticket.

antkemp1988As the 1988 campaign began, I found myself traveling to campaign for Jack Kemp in New Hampshire and eventually became a low level field director. I will never forget sitting on campaign busses traveling to every Notch from Dixville to Zealand and relaying between the state’s North White Mountains and Great North Woods to its southern sectionss of Portsmouth and Seabrook in the Seacoast region and Nashua, Concord and Manchester in between. I was often honored beyond belief to sit next Jack Kemp on the campaign bus and have the opportunity to brief the would-be-President on events at our next stops and update him on how the door-to-door events at previous stops went.

Although Kemp did win in Dixville Notch, when all of New Hampshire’s votes were counted, Kemp came in third behind then Vice President George H.W. Bush and Kansas Senator Bob Dole, but ahead of evangelist Pat Robertson, Reagan’s former chief of Staff, General Alexander Haig and Delaware’s former Congressman and Governor Pete DuPont, respectively.

Suffice it to say, I was devastated.

In 1989 President George H. W. Bush appointed Kemp to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development when he formed his administration. In this role Kemp was perceived by many as a maverick rather than a collegial member of the administration. Yet he successfully implemented many policies and programs which won over friends and foes alike. One of Kemp’s most effective creations was the introduction of urban enterprise zones.

antdolekempjugateWith his maverick image in place, in 1996 the Republican nominee for President, Bob Dole picked Kemp to be his Vice Presidential running mate. The selection was something of a surprise, not least because Kemp and Dole had policy disagreements in the past and had been rivals in 1988. Dole had generally been skeptical of massive tax cuts preferring to emphasize deficit reduction but the electoral dynamics of 1996 converted Dole to the merits of tax cuts. In this context Kemp was an ideal vice presidential choice. He symbolized vigorous tax cuts and was able to generate enthusiasm among Republican activists. Kemp was well known nationally because of his football career and visionary economic and defense policies; and it was hoped that Kemp’s energetic style and manner would balance Dole’s age.

Maybe it did or maybe didn’t but either way Americans wanted a second term of Clinton and Gore and whether they ended up liking it or not, they got it.

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Just as was the case in the 1988 primaries, I was disappointed but just like before, I remained a fan of Jack Kemp.

I feel that there are few people who have actually been involved in politics on par with Kemp. Sincere, principled, hard working, innovative, persistent, consistent and scandal free, Kemp and his leadership has influenced our nation much more than your average politician and he helped take what was once a fringe wing of American political thinking and turned it into mainstream policy.

All of his leadership and accomplishments led me to pick up the moniker ‘Kempite”. On the internet, one must often come up with a user I.D. and since all of my online activity involves politics, I felt there was no name better to choose from other than Kemp’s.

So today, from the bottom of my heart, I offer my wishes for a speedy recovery for Secretary Kemp and it is the greatest hope of all of us that he defeats this bout with cancer with the same level of energy and success that earned him his victories and honors in the N.F.L. and that moved America over to his way of thinking in politics.

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THE REAL REPUBLICAN DEBATE

After licking our wounds from this past election, the blogosphere is packed with suggestions and commentary regarding how to rebuild the Republican party. Many Republican activists and enthusiasts are debating who will be the face of our party as we go forward. At times I too have been eager to want to put forward a name that best represents us, but doing so does not help us establish the solid foundation that we need to build upon.
Louisiana Governor bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor bobby Jindal

Aside from the race for leadership of the party, activists are caught up in a struggle over who is next, who is going to be our candidate for President and who we must rely upon to deliver our message and carry us forward? There are those who are demanding that we pin our hopes on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, while others debate the future of Sarah Palin or other party figures like Romney and Huckabee.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

I have an appreciation for all of the above mentioned named people but I have an even greater appreciation for what my party stands for regardless of the name of who we discuss and there in lies what the real debate should be about.

Former Governor Mitt Romney

Former Governor Mitt Romney

We, as a party, need to be less concerned with the face of the party and more concerned with the heart of the party. We need to reestablish that which was the source of our political preeminence beginning with the ‘94 Republican revolution and the ending of its dominance which culminated in the 2006 elections when we lost control of the senate and house.

Former Governor Mike Huckabee

Former Governor Mike Huckabee

The 1994 Republican revolution ushered in 73 new Republican House members and 11 new Republican Senators. The largess of that freshmen class of Republicans influenced the leadership of congress with the “power to the people” sentiments that they brought to government. It was a sentiment that believed, as elected officials, they needed to make sacrifices for the people and live by the same rules that they created for the people.

This meant getting rid of special privileges and reversing the practices that allowed members of congress to abuse power. It also meant a strong adherence to conservative fiscal, foreign and law and order policies. Many in this class quickly became a part of a new informal group dubbed “New Federalists” and set an agenda of widespread U.S. government cuts in many departments and also intended on privatizing, localizing, consolidating and even , eliminating many departments and agencies. This federalist direction was part of their success.

At least up until 2002.

In my estimation our fall from power as a party came about not due to what we stand for but due to a lack of attention to coordinated efforts in clearly defining what we stand for and a backing away from those intentions.

After winning the White House in 2000, with total control of all three branches of federal government, many of our elected officials became complacent. With that White House win also came the loss of the “power to the people” spirit that ushered in our majorities in 1994.

Former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough

Former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough

After winning the presidency, many of those who were a part of that ’94 federalist style, freshmen class slowly left office. Many of them believed in term limits and felt, that in truth to their beliefs, they must step aside and move on. So by 2002, gone were many of the freshmen of the ‘94 GOP revolution. Gone were the strong federalist tendencies of John Kasich , J.C. Watts, Joe Scarborough and their like. And with them, the “power to the power” legislation and message slowly departed as well.

Former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts

Former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts

Slowly, congressional Republicans became complacent with their power. Slowly they lost touch with the people and lost their message. In 2004, the effects of this loss of spirit were not dramatically pronounced. Republicans maintained what power they had, including the White House, but the erosion was beginning. By 2006 it had set in. Our federalist influences were gone and so was our power.

And that is what we must get back in order to regain power. The “power to the people” message and federalist intentions which defined the ‘94 freshman Republican class was what helped to bring us to power.

In 1994 we did not win simply because we were not Democrats. We won because of the anti-establishmentarian mentality that we represented. We were also able to point fingers of blame at Democrats who controlled the establishment. We were able to point to the pay raises and special privileges that Democrats afforded the governing class while offering only a lack of attention to the needs of the people that democrat policies seemingly overlooked.

But by 2006 it became clear to the people that we were the establishment and that we were not responsive to their needs. By 2008 an exclamation mark was added to that sentiment.

So here we are today, wondering how to gain back our majority status.

Many are trying to achieve that goal by appointing one name or another as the name that will propel us back into power. Yet, the truth is that no one name will restore faith in our party.

We can fondly mention the Reagan name and we can offer up Mitt Romney as a the new bearer of the Reagan torch or Sarah Palin as the Republican savior and Bobby Jindal as the leader of the next revolution but no matter what name may be put forth, it is the what our party stands for that is more important than who represents it.

So I propose that we stop linking our fortunes to any one figure and start clearly defining our party. Not redefining it, but clarifying it’s definition.

Doing that requires those Republicans who still remain in office to get back on message and adopt a stronger adherence to federalist tendencies in their legislative initiatives and voting records.

Beyond generalities, that means controlling spending and maintaining an aggressive posture with those foreign elements whom threaten our security and would weaken the threads of freedoms delicate fabric. It means reducing the size of a costly and inefficient government and the bureaucracy that makes government inefficient.

Under the auspices of Homeland Security, Republicans, during the Bush administration, have tried to excuse away budget deficits. Although Homeland Security did account for one of the largest reorganizations of federal government in our history, it did not create an excuse for avoiding budget cuts in other areas or streamlining departments and cutting waste.

In light of this, we must create a legislative agenda that reflects our political ideology. For too long the G.O.P. has been overshadowed by the War on Terror. That effort must not be diminished nor should any focus be taken away from it. However; our efforts must simultaneously embark upon the same domestic agenda that brought us to power in the mid ‘90’s and that we lost track of during the security agenda of this current decade.

Former Ohio Rep. and Future Ohio Governor John Kasich

Former Ohio Rep. and Future Ohio Governor John Kasich

So put aside the name of your favorite potential Republican nominee four years from now. Focus on the clarity of our message and how best to shape that message. Let the great work of Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin, as a governors, speak for themselves and see what it shall bring. Let people like former congressman John Kasich reemerge on the frontlines of the political battlefield as he throws his hat in the ring for Governor of Ohio. Let the candidacies of the best and brightest develop as we help to recapture the spirit and agenda which brought us to power but strayed away from.

Through that agenda, the best of our leaders will emerge and victory will again be ours.

 

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“The IRS announced that obese Americans are entitled to certain tax breaks.

Apparently, under the new rules, you’re allowed to claim two or more chins as dependents.”

~Conan O’Brien

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