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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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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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