Tag Archives: Jay Webber

New Jersey Celebrates Ronald Reagan’s 100th Birthday with Michael Ragan

Bookmark and Share On Friday, New Jersey Assemblyman Jay Webber held his 8th annual New Jersey Reagan Day Dinner. What started out 8 years ago as a fine and fun cozy event that was first held in a local firehouse, was now held in the grand ballroom of the Sheraton where over 650 people gathered to commemorate Ronald Reagan and celebrate his life and achievements on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Among the many in attendance included a large number of state senators and assemblymen including Assemblymen Michael Carroll, Anthony Bucco, Alex DeCroce, State Senator Joe Pennachio and a many others from the state legislature. Also attending was former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean. I had the fortune to sit with congressional candidate Anna Little, who has not stopped campaigning as she prepares to force Frank Pallone in to an long overdue retirement in 2012.

Assemblyman Jay Webber

All across America, literally thousands of such events were taking place on this weekend, but thanks to Assemblyman Webber and the Young Americans Foundation, New Jersey’s celebration featured a keynote address by President Reagan’s son. As he noted in his opening remarks, “not the son who dances,”. The speech delivered on this night was by the Reagan son who represents conservative principles and maintains his father’s legacy……..Michael Reagan.

Reagan offered those in attendance, a peek into the personal side of Reagan, but it each personal tale quickly tied in to the political side of our 40th and demonstrated that President Reagan leadership was less politics and more principle. Ronald Reagan was not interested in playing politics. He was not a man who followed polls to determine his policies, he was a man who followed his beliefs in what he thought was best for the American people. And as demonstrated in the stories told by Michael Reagan, those believes were founded in Reagan’s commitment to the conservative values and principles that he helped to make the mainstream beliefs of the Republican Party.

One of the stories Mike Reagan told was about when as a young man in the early 1960’s, he asked his father for a raise in his allowance. Michael Reagan than explained how his father who was the type of person whom if you asked what time it was, would tell you how the watch that told you the time, was made, quickly broke in to a long dissertation about how much it cost for food, maintaining their ranch and how much in taxes the government took away from every dollar earned. Michael Reagan explained that by the time he was done, he offered his father back half of the allowance that he had given him. Then his father turned to him and said, “I don’t want half your allowance back, but I’ll make you a promise. When we elect a President who cuts taxes, I’ll raise your allowance”.

According to Michael Reagan, in 1964, after LBJ pushed through the Kennedy tax cuts, his father told him a promise is a promise and raised his allowance to five dollars. The only problem was in 1964, Michael was in high school and he told the audience, while his father may have thought that was a lot of money, as kid in high school, he sure didn’t. But he always remembered how his father kept his promises.

Reagan cited another example of promises kept when he revealed that the selection of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court was the result of a promise made to his daughter Maureen.

During the 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan’s advisors were concerned with how Maureen’s outspoken support for the ERA would impact on Reagan during the primaries. So they along with her father, approached Maureen about it. Her response was, “I’ll pull back on the Equal Rights Amendment but only if you agree that if elected President, you appoint the first woman to the United States Supreme Court”. Ronald Reagan agreed. And when an opening became available, he appointed Sandra day O’Connor, the first woman on the highest court in the land.

It was this belief in promises being sacred that influenced the direction of the Reagan presidency. As Michael Reagan explained, his father once told him that one of the reasons he wanted to become President was because he was tired of the United States always sitting down with the Soviet Union and given something up in order form to them reach any agreement. As a result Ronald Reagan made a personal promise to change that by insuring that he would bring about a day when  the Soviet Union would give up something instead. Ronald Reagan kept that promise.

There were many more insightful tales and a number of lighthearted but hysterical stories involving the Secret Service. All together, Michael Reagan delivered an address that reinforced the audiences admiration and appreciation for President Reagan and everyone agreed that they felt a strong bond to Ronald Reagan the person, not just the politician.

When it was over, Michael Reagan took questions. One member of the audience asked if he was leaning in a particular direction when it came towards a Republican nominee for President in 2012. Reagan offered no sign of favoritism towards any candidate. However he did have advice for Republicans in 2012.

Mike Reagan told the capacity crowd that he firmly believes no matter who the G.O.P. nominates, they should adhere to the 80/20 rule his father believed in. Ronald Reagan once famously stated “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” It is that thinking which Michael Reagan told the audience to remember in November of 2012.

He added;

“Let me put it to you this way, who will you support….Sarah Palin or Barack Obama? Paul Ryan or Barack Obama? Rick Perry or Barack Obama?.

As for the opinions of some of the New Jersey elected officials in the room, I took an unofficial and off the record poll of where they stand right now regarding 2012. While I will not reveal who said what, I can tell you that like Michael Reagan, none endorsed any particular presidential contenders, but as for who they like as we go into the nominating process, names like Huckabee, Daniels, Romney, Giuliani and several others came up. So from the looks of it, there is not any early coordinated effort by the influential elected officials of the state to consolidate support for anyone in particular. That in my view is a good thing. It would be good for New Jersey to have as many as candidates as possible, come to the Garden State and spend their money here while also campaigning among us and earning our support based upon their ideas and abilities.

Now if only we can get our elected officials to change our primary system to a proportionate one rather than a winner-take-all contest. With New Jersey being stuck in between the New York and Philadelphia markets, campaigning here is more expensive than in most states. As such, if candidates for the nomination have no chance at picking up at least a few delegates, they are less inclined to invest any time or money here. That causes New Jersey to lose out. But that is for another day. As for this particular Friday and the New Jersey Reagan Day Dinner held on it, everyone was a winner. However the biggest winner of all was Jay Webber and his exceptional and professional staff and volunteers who pulled off a well planned, well executed, smooth running, memorably enjoyable evening that gave all of us the opportunity to celebrate one of nation’s greatest contemporary American heroes……President Ronald Reagan.

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Jersey’s Largest Paper Pokes Dems & Reps Right In Their Eyes and Endorses Chris Daggett for Governor

Bookmark and Share    The Star-Ledger is one of New Jersey’s largest newspapers. It mainly serves Northern and Central New Jersey, where the largest portions of the state’s population exists. Like most newspapers, they are struggling for readers. With 24 Chris Dagget, Independent candidate for governor of New Jerseyhour news outfits on radio and television and the internet, they are hardly do or die sources of the most up to date news anymore. But the Star Ledger just did something that transformed it from being an outlet that delivers the news, to an outfit that is the news.

In a surprise move, The Star-Ledger has come out and endorsed Chris Daggett for Governor of New Jersey.

Under funded and underexposed, Chris Daggett has been running as an independent candidate. His campaign has been as well run as any effort of its size could be. He does not have party powerbrokers wheeling and dealing for him, he has no union bosses intimidating their members into canvassing communities for him and he has no major corporations, lobbyists or political party throwing oodles of dollars into his campaign. Given that and the fact that it is uniquely difficult to become known statewide in New Jersey, Chris Daggett has been doing remarkably well for himself. His polling numbers haven’t hit 20% yet but they are still higher than 10%. Not bad for a candidate who, in a matter of months, has come from relative obscurity to prominent player.

Daggett’s plight would not normally garner much attention and to be honest, he’s nothing special. He is not a particularly unique or great leader. But with less than four weeks till Election Day what just happened makes Daggett and his candidacy newsworthy and a powerful force to reckon with. The Star-Ledger’s endorsement of Chris Daggett creates a partnership of sorts  between a struggling newspaper and a struggling candidate and together, they have just poked their fingers into the eyes of the political establishment.

In plain English, the Star-Ledger came out and endorsed Daggett, not because he is uniquely qualified or even the most qualified person for the job. They did so because Democrat Governor Corzine and Republican candidate for Governor, Chris Christie have proven themselves to not be up to the job and because, as they put it, both Democrats and Republicans:

 have forfeited any claim to the trust and confidence of the people of New Jersey. They share responsibility for the state’s current plight.”

As a Republican, I have to agree with that assessment too.

As a Republican there are few  incumbent G.O.P. legislators in New Jersey who adhere to the conservative principles that make me a Republican and  translate them into the practical application of our government and its policies. I won’t corner myself by claiming that there aren’t any good New JerseyRrepublicans.  There are a few stands out who are exceptions to that opinion.  A  handful of worthy, conservative Republicansdo exist.   In the state Assembly there’s  Jay Webber, Michael Carroll, and Michael Doherty . In the State Senate, while not exactly being the most conservative, Bill Baroni and Jennifer Beck are still quite promising figures. In Congress, Rep. Scott Garrett is a true and outstanding voice for traditional Republican policy and values. So there are exceptions but since none of them are running for Governor, and since the majority of New Jersey Republicans fall far short from those I mentioned, my opinion of the Jersey G.O.P. remains negative.

Chris Christie and the events leading up to his candidacy only enhanced that view. Before Christie even announced that he would run for Governor, rank and file Republicans came out and endorsed him in unprecedented numbers . Establishment New Jersey Republicans always manage to get behind a lousy losers either because they have name ID or money. To hell with what they believe in or how good the candidates in question are.   Republican leaders in New Jersey give away the nomination to anyone with good  name recognition or lots of money.   In 2008 they got behind Rudy Giuliani like teenagers waiting in line to buy the hottest new single by Madonna.   This year they did it again , but with Chris Christie for Governor instead of Rudy giuliani for President.  Christie never earned the nomination by proving himself or presenting solid plans for the state’s future.  The status quo, establishment  just said, “Here.  The nomination is yours”.  

 And so what did they get?

They got a man who had a reputation as great crime busting federal prosecutor but failed to demonstrate how that reputation will translate into being a good governor.  Aside from saying that he will do things differently than Jon Corzine, Christie has wasted valuable time not telling us what he would do differently nor has he given a detailed answer to any question or presented a solid plan for New Jersey. This has not helped to instill any confidence in him among the voters.

With little to say, his campaign has not had much to go on and it shows because his campaign has been a poorly run effort that has dropped the ball on many issues. It is also why his once double digit lead over Jon Corzine has evaporated.

As for Jon Corzine, his record speaks for itself. As Governor he has presided over nothing less than a mess. As a leader, he has failed to control any circumstances or conditions. He has consistently been a victim of circumstance who has constantly been shaped by events and unable to shape events. On this, the Star-Ledger writes;

 “Corzine is the chaplain on a pirate ship, not really its captain.”

Here again, I agree with the Star-Ledger.

None of this is new for New Jersey Republicans and Democrats. Recent history shows that Jersey Republicans have only come into the power of majority status whenever Democrats fail and screw everything up. They never win based on any credit of their own. As for New Jersey Democrats, they too only regain majority status after Republicans screw up. The Star-Ledger puts it this way:

“For too long, the cliche about New Jersey’s two great parties has seemed all too true — that Democrats are corrupt, Republicans incompetent. Nothing will cause them to change their ways for the better except repudiation at the polls Nov. 3.”

They may just be right about that too. However I do not believe that Republicans are inherently incompetent. When true conservative principles are translated into the practical application of government, those policies work. From fighting crime to combating unemployment and taxes, innovative conservative thinking based on less government and more freedom do work. The problem is that New Jersey Republicans never see their ideological train of thought completely through . If they did, perhaps the success of such right of center policies could be seen. But we will not find that out anytime soon because Christie is not a conservative. He’s a Democrat-lite candidate and not even a very good one at that.

I have tried to give Chris Christie a chance each and every day, and each and every day he disappoints me. With a little more than 3 weeks to go, I still will give him a chance. Perhaps he will release a well thought out plan that shows he means business. One that allows us to take him serious and offers hope for turning things around in the state.

I really do not want Jon Corzine to be reelected. His shallow, Obama-based campaign and grossly incompetent management of the state make him the last person to vote for.  However, unless Christie proves to me that he can and will govern based on the principles that make me a Republican, than I do not want a Democrat-lite like him to win either. That will only encourage the establishment Republicans and to continue watering down our principles.

That explains why, although I do not want to, I may very well for Chris Daggett.

Jersey Republicans need to wake up. Perhaps losing a race that they once had in the palm of their hands, will do that. I do not want to encourage bad behavior or reward it. That is why I am preparing to vote for Chris Daggett. And the sad thing is, I believe an awful lot of Republicans will feel that way too. Many Democrats have similar sentiments towards Corzine. They see he has been a failure and many democrat voters who feel that same way, will also be voting for Daggett. Will it be enough to pull Chris Daggett over the top? At this juncture in the race, I don’t think so. I do however believe that Daggett may syphon off enough votes from Chritie  to deny him the margin of victory.

Add to that the combination of Corzine’s personal wealth, unlimited spending and union support, his Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort will be far superior to Chris Christie’s and ultimately I believe a strong showing from Daggett and a weaker than expected turnout for Christie will give New Jersey what it deserves. Another four years of Jon Corzine.

Of course, we could all just join together like Dagget and The Star-Ledger did. Us struggling citizens of New Jersey could take the lead of a struggling newspaper and support the struggling candidacy of Chris Daggett. That would in fact send the right message.   The Star-Ledger articulated that point  quite well in their endorsement of Daggett when they wrote;

“As for government experience, Daggett, who has a doctorate in education, has at least as much as his rivals, having worked for both Democratic and Republican governors and served as regional administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. His mastery of detail is impressive.

The reservation one hears about Daggett among the surprising number who say they’d like to vote for him is that he can’t win. And, indeed, the ballot position assigned Daggett and other independents makes his task daunting. You’ll have to hunt to find him.

But the value of a vote is not limited to picking a winner. The real value lies in the signal it sends about what the voter believes is best for the city, county or state — not merely at the moment, but long-term.

We believe Daggett is best.

For disappointed Democrats and Republicans, a decision to vote for Daggett will mean a break with party loyalty — no easy thing. What we’re suggesting is a temporary suspension of that loyalty as a way to begin changing the corrosive culture of Trenton. Daggett would owe nothing to either party establishment; he’d be free to recruit best talent wherever he found it. As he told The Star-Ledger editorial board, he’d feel no obligation to honor the traditional Democratic-Republican deal that requires bipartisan balance on the Supreme Court. He’d apparently take the best he could find regardless of party affiliation — or lack thereof.”

It is not often that I agree with the lamestream media but unless Chris Christie gives me reason to believe otherwise in the closing days of this election, not only will I agree with them, I will be taking their advice.

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