Tag Archives: New Jersey race for governor

Democrats Afraid of a Return To Average Black Voter Turnout Numbers

Bookmark and Share   According to a Aaron Blake at The Hill, Democrats are fearing that a drop off in African-American votes in coming elections that do not feature President Obama on the ballot, could be quite detrimental to Racial Politicstheir election and reelection efforts.

This fear is playing itself out in the elections for governor and state legislative seats in Virginia and New Jersey which are about three weeks away. I previously illustrated evidence of this concern among Democrats, more specifically the concerns on the issue that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has.

I pointed to a slew of billboards the Governor has purchased in predominantly African-American neighborhoods. The billboards display an image of President Obama at a podium and off to the right, in the background, is the image of Jon Corzine. The bold tag line that goes along with the imagery reads “Keep it Going”.

What we are suppose to “keep going” is left to your own imagination but it is more than likely intended to mean that we should keep the work of President Obama going and that, by electing Jon Corzine, we will continue to do just that under Jon Corzine. Being strategically placed only in predominantly black communities, these billboards are obviously meant to inspire African-Americans and convince them that a vote for Governor Corzine is a vote for Barack Obama, even if the president isn’t on the ballot.

corzine bama billboardThe intended message behind the ad is, to say the least, shallow but that is the essence of the entire race for governor in New Jersey. There are no clear, concrete plans being offered by any of the candidates for governor that offer a hint of how they will improve the quality of life in New Jersey. In Governor Corzine’s case that is particularly true.

For Corzine’s main opponent, Republican Chris Christie, his campaign is banking on that being anyone other than Corzine is enough to pull him through to victory. Independent candidate Chris Daggett is hoping that not being either Corzine or Christie will make him the next Governor. But Jon Corzine, with no record of accomplishment to point to, is counting on strong voter turnout among traditionally Democrat sectors. The focus of that strategy is centered on African-American and Jewish voters. Such is why the Governor has focused on bringing people like Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to campaign for him among select New Jersey communities. It is one reason why he picked an obscure state legislator to be his running mate for Lieutenant Governor. When receiving the nomination from Corzine, State Senator Loretta Weinberg defined herself a fiesty Jewish Grandmother and had been running on that ever since.

But it is the African-American vote he mainly focuses on.

Since being re-nominated by Democrats, Governor Corzine has linked his name to President Barack Obama in every breath he takes. He has tried to morph Republican Chris Christie into George W. Bush and even tries to run against Christie, a former federal prosecutor, to Bush’s first Attorney General, John Ashcroft. In addition to that and evoking Obama’s name every chance he gets, Corzine has brought the President in for rallies and is desperately trying to get him back for more. Until then though, he is using images that cast him as the President’s shadow.

All of this, I repeat, all of this, is based on the need for the type of extraordinarily large African-American voter turnout that New Jersey and the nation saw in 2008 when President Obama was on the ballot.

He is not alone.

Democrats nationwide are begining to shake in their boots at the thought of not having the ballot draw of President Obama above their names come this and next November. A Washington Post survey estimates that the African-American voter turnout in this year’s race governor in Virginia to be around 12%, 40% lower than last year. According to The Hill, in New Jersey, the black population is “unmoved” in the race for Governor. Abnormally high black turnout seen in 2008 which offset Republican turnout in proportions too hard to overcome, will not occur in 2009 and the same seems to be true for next year’s nationwide, mid-term elections.

According to Public Policy Polling’s Tom Jensen, If what looks like is going to happen in Virginia plays out on a national level, I do think Democrats will lose the House”. That comes from a partisan polling outfit, a leading partisan Democrat polling outfit.

Virginia’s African-American population is 20% while New Jersey’s stands at 14%. Both are substantial and while their unprecedented turnout in 2008 had a significant impact in the presidential race, it had an even stronger impact on local races. In many congressional districts, they provided the pivotal power that cost Republicans several seats in the House. However, in two special elections held in Louisiana after the race for President, Republicans won both seats away from Democrats, including one in a predominantly African-American, New Orleans district. This was in large part due to the fact that the President was not on the ballot and did not attract the larger than normal black voter turnout that helped Democrats win in ‘08.

In addition to a return to average black voter turnout in the coming elections, many expect fewer young voters to show up at the polls. President Obama captured the imaginations of many younger voters. His own youth and allure of change made many even register and vote for the first time. His not being on the ballot is more than likely to return the attendance numbers of young voters back to pre-Obama levels. Both will put democrats at a disadvantage come the next two Novembers.

All of this raises two questions and points.

First; Was President Obama simply elected because he was black? Many had wondered if it was impossible for him to get elected because they feared his color would prevent Caucasians to vote for him. As it turned it, considering the almost unanimous vote for Barack Obama from blacks because he is black, it would seem that the more pertinent question is not if being African-American would have prevented Barack Obama from getting “elected” but rather if his being African-American was the reason “why” he got elected.

It makes us have to wonder if in fact race is still not a problem but not the way we expected. Plenty of Caucasians voted for African-American Barack Obama, but few if any blacks voted for white John McCain. So is the real problem reverse racism?

The other question that must be tackled is, when will the Republican Party begin to appeal to black voters?

Republican Jack Kemp devoted much time and energy to delivering the Republican message of independence, self-reliance, prosperity and personal strength over government power. He tried to take this message to, as he put it, “the inner-cities”. He was right, but he was alone. Many

Republicans simply feel that it is impossible to receive support from African-Americans and the truth is that it is not impossible.

Until they deal with that truth, Republicans will have to consistently hope for “low voter turnout” to win elections and that is just not right. Our message is an inclusive one. Freedom, prosperity, education, personal empowerment are not terms limited to white people. They are terms that should inspire all Americans regardless of background or color. Until the G.O.P. realizes that, they will always be a marginal power in America.

As for Democrats, they too need stop relying on racial politics. They need to be able to campaign among all the population, not just use billboards in black communities designed to appeal strictly to African-American racial pride over their life conditions and the quality of life that their government limits them to.

Until Democrats accept that truth, they will have to count on the color of President Obama’s skin and his placement on the ballot as their sole opportunikty to stay in power. That is not an enduring strategy. President Obama is likely to be on the ballot only one more time and at this point in time, that isn’t even a sure thing yet.

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Ted Kennedy Dies. Liberal Lions Legacy Launches

Bookmark and Share  Senator Kennedy’s death makes us all pause for a moment. His name evokes many emotions and conjures up thoughts aTedof his storied brothers Jack and Bobby.

The Senator certainly has his share of devoted fans and admirers and the emotions stirred and thoughts conjured up in their minds are all positive. But their exist many others who do not have such positive sentiments.

I am among those of the former opinion. And so at a time like this, I really do not know what to say. The death of any person, with the exception of the most truly evil and dangerous among us in the world, is not a source of any good emotions and the death of Ted Kennedy is quite sad. I do hope that he rest peacefully and I offer my deepest condolences to the members of the Kennedy family, one of America’s most iconic families in American history.

They are a family which has suffered an inordinate and unjust amount of pain and loss and after losing the their patriarch they deserve our prayers.

None of this however allows me to make Senator Ted Kennedy something that he wasn’t. Although he had a longevity in politics that his two famed brothers were denied, Ted Kennedy did not leave behind a legacy as great as either of his of them.

Chappaquiddick will always be a part of his legacy, a dark spot on his legacy, a very sad and dark spot which documented Ted Kennedy’s lack of integrity and his sense of being above the law.

And while some fondly refer to him as the Liberal Lion, others realize that with that name came a quality that many Americans do not view positively……partisanship. Ted Kennedy was one of the most partisan politicians that the Senate had to offer and some have had to question if his first loyalty was to his country or was it to his party.

In many ways many of the qualities which made Ted Kennedy such a respected man by some are also the same reasons that some did not respect him for. There are those who hung on his every word because he was a Kennedy while others saw him as only having his position because he was a Kennedy.

Some are impressed by his 47 years in the United States Senate while many others were turned off by his being a career politician who spent the vast majority of his life in the Senate. The great liberal legacy that he represents is admired by some whereas others found his championing of only liberal policies as a sign of blind partisanship.

Just days ago, I posted my own harsh words for Senator Kennedy. After trying to get the Massachusetts state legislature to change the law which would have his replacement in the Senate chosen by the Governor instead of being chosen in a special election, I was incensed at the nerve the Senator had. He wanted to undo the very law he helped change when the Governor who would have had the opportunity to fill any vacancies was a Republican. The fact that Senator Kennedy wanted to usurp democracy in Massachusetts for partisan interests was an example of political insincerity and hypocrisy.

Ted Kennedy’s sad passing does not change these things. It does not erase any of his shortcomings  or y anshenanigans he took part in.

Yet I am sure that in death the senator will be canonized and turned into a greater figure than he actually was. There will be bridges, highways, schools, state office buildings, parks, airports and post offices all named after him. I am certain that healthcare reform which had its name changed to health insurance reform will now take on another new name and be called the Ted Kennedy Health Security Act.

All of this is likely to occur as a result of all that the senator influenced and did but none of it will cover all of the scars left behind. While structures and legislation will be named after Ted Kennedy there will be no buildings or parks named after Mary Jo Kopechy.

I will respect Ted Kennedy for the sacrifices that he made for what he believed in. No matter who you are, you do indeed make sacrifices as a public servant. But I will not go with the much anticipated flow, no, make that the flood of praise for Ted Kennedy that we will see and make him in death, something that he was not in life.

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So a Rabbi, a Mayor, and a Real Estate Developer Walk Into a New Jersey Diner……..

Bookmark and Share   After that, all hell breaks loose as on the morning of July 23rd, over 200 federal agents swept across New York and JerseyCorruptionNew Jersey to round up 44 miscreants who were fire inspectors, city planning officials, utilities officials, real estate developers, political operatives, philanthropists, rabbi’s, assemblymen, mayor’s and gubernatorial cabinet officials.

Years of criminal investigation culminated in the discovery of a tangled web of corruption that included the laundering of tens of millions of dollars through Jewish charities controlled by rabbis in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Deal, N.J., the trafficking of kidneys and fake Gucci handbags and tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to public officials that were meant to get approvals for buildings and other projects in New Jersey.

The key to the arrests was Solomon Dwek, a 36-year-old religious-school head and philanthropist from Monmouth County, N.J., who became a cooperating witness after being charged with defrauding PNC Bank by writing a bad check for $25 million in 2006.

From that point on Dwek was wired, videotaped and followed by F.B.I. agents in a plot straight out of The Soprano’s. On those F.B.I. recordings are such gems as Mr. Dwek stating to one money-launderer that he had “at least $100,000 a month coming from money I ‘schnookied’ from banks for bad loans.” In another tape Dwek is seen giving another coconspirator a box of Apple Jacks cereal stuffed with $97,000 cash for a few political favors in return.

Some of the most high profile thugs rounded up were the New Jersey mayors of Ridgefield, Secaucus and Hoboken, Jersey City’s deputy mayor and two state assemblymen.

A former state senate leader and now member of New Jersey Governor Corzine’s cabinet was also implicated and forced to resign after F.B.I officials searched his home in connection to the still unfolding scandal.

All but one of the officeholders are Democrats. The lone Republican is Dan Van Pelt, a double dipping, dual office holder who serves as the mayor of Ocean Township, NJ. and an assemblyman in the state legislature. Republicans throughout the state called for his immediate resignation from both public offices. A call to his office for a reaction was answered by a woman who calmly said “Mr. Van Pelt was arrested today and is out of the office.”

Now that’s New Jersey!

The most conspicuous of all to have been rounded up so far is the Democrat mayor of Hoboken, Peter Cammarano.

Cammarano just took office on July 1st after winning a cantankerous runoff election and despite the efforts of those officials in Hoboken who have not been arrested, Cammarano refuses to resign. After all he just got the job.

On tape, Mr. Cammarano was caught accepting $25,000 in cash bribes from Solomon Dwek in exchange for expediting zoning changes and pushing through approval of building plans. After the money exchanges hands he tells Dwek “you can put your faith in me” and that “I promise you…you’re gonna be, you’re gonna be treated like a friend.” But along the way other embarrassing statements are overheard. At one point, while talking about his chances of winning what, at the time, was his upcoming mayoral race, Cammarano’s cocky bravado compelled him to declare “right now, the Italians, the Hispanics, the seniors are locked down. Nothing can change that now. . . . I could be, uh, indicted, and I’m still gonna win 85 to 95 percent of those populations”. In another very Mafioso-like moment, Cammarano is caught talking about payback for those who were not with him in the election.

None of this is helping Governor Corzine or the image of Democrats who lined up behind the new Hoboken mayor as he was sworn into office. There, U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez as well as Governor Corzine proudly embraced the 32 year old rising Democrat star with warm embraces and glowing praise.

The whole situation has produced an incredibly embarrassing state of affairs for Corzine who ran New Jersey into the ground after taking office almost four years ago and, among other things, promised to quash corruption. After seeing more than 130 public officials plead guilty or get convicted of corruption since 2001, the arrest of 43 Democrats and 1 Republican, at one time, has proven that Corzine did little to achieve that goal.

Like everything else he promised, including getting the state budget under control, Corzine has been a disastrous failure and this monumental size corruption spectacle just hammers that point harder than ever.

But aside from the increased sour impressions that this newest saga creates, is has disabled a a good portion of the Hudson County Democratic political machine and severely handicapped Corzine‘s chances to win reelection with his major campaign theme which consists of repeating Barack Obama’s name and reminding people that he belongs to the same party that the President belongs to.

Hoboken is one of the largest cities in Hudson Country and Corzine’s home town . Hudson County is one of the most heavily Democrat counties in the state and is the crown jewel of the Governor’s base of support and source of the political engine that runs Corzine’s Get-Out-The-Vote operation.

In this recent historic corruption sweep, 19 of those rounded up were Hudson County officials and operatives. All of which were gearing up to pump out the vote for Corzine in November.

Now they are otherwise occupied in criminal court.

One of these 19 is Jack Shaw, a professional politician that has strong ties and influence with unions on Corzine‘s behalf. Another arrested member of the Corzine cabal is Joseph Cardwell, an operative famous for his coordination of African-American voters, a vote so crucial to Corzine‘s reelection that, without success, he begged the new rising political star, Cory Booker, an African-American mayor of New Jersey‘s largest city, to be his Lieutenant Governor.

All of this has placed the decapitated head of a horse on the pillow of Corzine’s deathbed reelection effort that signifies things to come.

The Governor is already running about ten percent behind his chief rival, Republican Chris Christie, and the prevalent political corruption that has been flourishing among Corzine’s political network is neatly countered by the fact that as the state’s former U.S. Attorney, Chris Christie is the most high profile and successful crime buster that New Jersey’s has ever seen. This naturally compensating aspect of Chris Christie’s candidacy is just another nail in Corzine’s political coffin. That and the fact that you have key Corzine campaigners handcuffed, record high unemployment, a decimated business environment and the highest tax burden in the nation, all adds up to his defeat in November.

That is the good news.

The bad news is that the 44 recent and dramatic malfeasances that were linked together and exposed on just one sunny, summer, New Jersey morning, have officially made New Jersey the most politically corrupt state in the nation. It has also made it very clear that New Jerseyans can not trust anyone in government who asks for their support or whom they seek assistance from or discuss issues with. And to make matters worse, this criminal investigation is still ongoing. I fully expect Governor Corzine to, at some point, be implicated himself, for tampering with the case and trying to have the arrests delayed until after the election when news of the scandal could not effect his chances for reelection.

The whole ugly, unfolding, situation is simply a travesty and cry for change. Not just in New Jersey but in politics and public service in general. It makes it quite obvious that something has to give here and it can’t be the voters. They have already given too much in freedom, taxes, patience and quality of life.

But that assessment begs the question, what must give? What must and can we do? It also leads one to wonder if the systemic corruption that exists in public service is simply a byproduct of politics or is it beyond politics and just a part of human nature?

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Stars of The Reality TV Stage Take To The Political Stage

Bookmark and Share  As New Jersey enters the remaining months of it’s gubernatorial election, the last most intriguing question that remains is whom will the Republican and Democrat candidates choose to RealityNJbe their running mate for Lieutenant Governor.

It is the first time that New Jersey will ever have such a post, a post that over the last decade or more has proven to be quite a necessity. The need became aparent after a series of events rotated the office of Governor like a political carousel that went around and around and got us nowhere.

It started in the late 90’s when Governor Christine Todd Whitman failed to complete her second term in office after resigning to become Director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In accordance with state law, the New Jersey State Senate President assumes the responsibilities of the Governor in the event of a vacancy or incapacity or even whenever the duly elected Governor leaves the state.

When Whitman resigned the Senate President, Donald DiFrancesco, took over. But his term as Senate President ended one week before his successor, Jim McGreevey, was to be sworn in as Governor. That created a unique set of circumstances. The Senate was evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. This gave the leaders of each party the right to claim the title and the job of acting governor. So they agreed to split the job for the week before the new Governor took office.

Republican leader John Bennett first took charge, then Democratic leader Richard Codey. A fifth governor was state Attorney General John J. Farmer, Jr. who got the job Tuesday afternoon for the hour or so that it took to swear in the new Senate president.

Following that tangled web, Governor Jim McGreevey resigned more than a year before his term was up due to the fact, that as he put it, he was “a gay American”. Being gay was not why he had to resign of course, but the shock value of the admission helped to cover up the real reasons which were a clandestine gay affair that he was conducting behind his wife’s back and the subsequent patronage scandal involving his gay lover and a host of other financial improprieties that the Governor was engaging in.

This yet again unique set of circumstances allowed Democrat Senate Presidentr Dick Codey to again become Governor. So for more than a year New Jersey had a Governor who was also the Senate President. Along the way many realized that by having one person in charge of two branches of the legislature kind of defeated the checks and balances of the state legislature. Was Dick Codey going to push for one set of crappy legislative initiatives as Governor and then rally the state senate together to vote against those initiatives as the Senate President? Obviously not and so this consolidation of power was a concern.

So after time New Jerseyans passed a referendum that created the office of Lieutenant Governor. But after filling the post of Governor when McGreevey resigned, Codey again had to step in when Jon Corzine was elected Governor.

As Corzine had his driver speed down the Garden State Parkway at 90 miles per hour, he cascaded off the road and EMS workers found the new Governors legs dangling out of the window of the state SUV that he used as it rested in the shrubbery along side of the highway.

Corzine was incapacitated for months as surgery after surgery repaired the many broken bones that he received for speeding and not wearing his seat belt.

The situation highlighted New Jersey’s exceptional need for a Lieutenant Governor.

So here we are today. Jon Corzine has been re-nominated for Governor and now he has the opportunity to select a Lieutenant Governor if once again he cannot fullfill his duties as Governor.

On his own, Corzine faces an uphill battle .

After first coming to Trenton, in just six short months he increased taxes in New Jersey by almost $2 billion dollars. This happened after he ran for Governor promising to “control spending”. Now as reelection approaches the state has a budget deficit slightly larger than the total amount of revenue he raised in tax increases when he first took office. This is just one dismal spot on a very spotty and tarnished record.

After questionable negotiations with state unions that were headed up by the Governors girlfriend, Carla Katz, state budget negotiations that closed state government for the fourth of July in his first term, a plan to increase tolls on roadways every year for decades to come and a push for putting tolls on roads that don’t have any tolls, Governor Corzine has accomplished little more than make life in New Jersey tougher and more expensive. In fact the most significant legislative achievement of his administration to date was the abolishment of the death penalty in New Jersey.

This dismal record puts Corzine’s reelection in a desperate position.

Polls have the Governor behind his Republican opponent by as much as 8 to 10 %. So what is a desperate candidate to do?

Well first thing the Governor is attempting to do is take the focus off of him and put it on President Barack Obama.

After winning the Democrat nomination in June, Corzine’s victory speech evoked the name of the still popular President dozens of times and in talking about his Republican opponent, Chris Christie, the former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, he evoked the name of Georg Bush and even one of Christie’s former bosses, Attorney General John Ashcroft.

I guess with little to go on, the only hope Corzine has is to latch on to the popularity that Barack Obama has in New Jersey and try to paint a picture that makes him an Obama surrogate and Christie a Bush surrogate. But the problem is George Bush and Barack Obama are not on the ballot in November of ‘09. He and Chrsitie are.

So Corzine is now apparently considering using the newly created Lieutenant Governor spot on his ticket as a means to tag a name and face that might help his chances more than his own name.

It is said that Randall Pinkett may be Corzine’s running mate.

Who is Randall Pinkett?

He is an African-American reality TV star with degrees from MIT, Oxford University and Rutgers University and CEO of a successful technology consulting firm in Newark. He was the winner of Donald Trump’s hit reality television show The Apprentice.

Personally I cannot believe the speculation that has Corzine selecting Pinkett as his running mate. I can’t see how a sitting Governor would find a reality TV star to be the most qualified person to run the state in his place. But it is clear that Corzine needs lots of help to win in November. So Pinket might just be the choice he thinks he needs.

First of all we know that Governor Corzine has courted and desperately hoped that Newark Mayor Cory Booker would be his running mate.

Booker is a popular first term Mayor of New Jersey’s largest city. He is young, articulate, energetic and political savvy. He is also African-American and Corzine hopes to tap into an unusually heavy turnout of pro-Democrat, Obama supporting African-Americans.

But alas, Booker rejected latching his rising star to the falling meteor that is Corzine‘s.

Other prominent African-American mayors do exist and Corzine has toyed with the idea of naming one of them but none of them have the same statewide identification that Booker has.

There are some women he is considering but few of them have very significant regional appeal and none of them have any statewide appeal. So that leaves Corzine with an African-American who has been seen by millions on a reality TV show.

By this standard why not select the buxom beauty from MTV’s reality show, “I Love New York”. The so named “New York” of that show had extremely high ratings and tens of millions of young voters watched her bounce from room to room with prospective male partners as she determined who was her best looking and most compatible love interest. New York is both a woman and African-American so she is a twofer for Corzine, whereas Randal Pinket only adds color, not gender, to his appeal.

Apparently the name of the game for Corzine is simply winning reelection. I mean why choose a running mate based on experience, expertise, ability or public service accomplishments?

With little to run on Jon Corzine is hoping that snowballs don’t melt in hell. As such he has begun to run one of the most negative and shallow campaigns in history. Instead of pointing to any achievements, he tries to morph his Republican opponent into George Bush.

Without any ability to demonstrate how Corzine has improved life in New Jersey, he evokes the name of Barack Obama in the hopes of morphing himself into the popular President.

In the mean time New Jerseyans suffer from the highest tax burden in the nation and due to a business environment that Corzine has decimated with taxes, fees and regulations, the state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.

Yet with no relief in sight, Corzine sticks to his reelection plan. Today he will appear at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey with none other than the President and when the President flies off, it looks like Corzine is hoping to tap into victory by adding another African-American with little experience to his ticket.

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Is The Tide Already Turning?

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Bookmark and Share    The latest Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters gives Republicans a more favorable opinion than Democrats in 6 out of 10 crucial issues facing our nation. On one of those issues, abortion, Americans are just about as split on who they prefer to handle that issue as they are on the issue itself. 41% of the voters favor Democrat’s position on abortion while another 41% approve of the Republican’s approach to it.

On the issues of health care, education and social security Republicans poll a 37% approval rating in each of the three categories while Democrats poll a positive rating on those issues ranging from 43 to 47 %.

When it comes to national security though, Republicans receive the highest approval rating of either party on any of the ten issues presented to those polled.

51% approve of the GOP’s national security abilities while the party in power can only muster a meager 36%.

With smaller but still significant margins, Republicans also receive higher approval over Democrats on taxes, immigration, ethics and even the issue that many feel cost Republicans at the voting booths…………..Iraq.

These are all pretty good indications of an electorate that is beginning to realize that the Democrat messiah and his apostles really can’t walk on water or turn it into wine. Months into the one party rule of Democrats and the luster of their promise seems to be wearing off.

Perhaps the most telling evidence of that assessment comes from the results dealing with what is considered the most important issue of the moment, the issue du jour,………..the economy.obama_geitner2

On the economy Democrats receive a 39% approval rating while Republicans have the confidence of 45% of the voters.

That is a margin of 6%. Pretty slim., yet pretty significant given the fact that the last campaign cycle largely blamed Republicans under President Bush for the economic stresses that we cycled into.

Such a reversal of opinion can only be due to the fact that after two years in control of Congress and a few months in control of the White House, Democrats are slowly beginning to own the economy that they are manipulating. That and the fact that there are no Republicans in charge of any federal policies help to give ownership of the situation to the Democrats in power. You can argue that Democrats inherited the problem but you would have to look hard to find anything that Democrats wanted to do differently than President Bush other than even more spending and raising taxes.

Now I will not attempt to defend Bush’s spending policies or weak Republican congressional leadership which went along to get along but one can not try to claim that Democrat hands are clean and now, 6 months into the new year, Americans are beginning to realize that when it comes to the economy Democrat hands have as much blood on them as anyone else, if not more.

The public has seen a Democrat push for spending, spending, spending and more spending. Today the federal government is paying for everything from cell phones to the poor to the takeover of the American auto industry. It may have taken a few months but people are beginning to realize that spending is not exactly the way to strengthen our economy, especially when we don’t have the money to spend.

Congressman Eric Cantor

Congressman Eric Cantor

Add to that the rising to the top of newer Republican leaders like Eric Cantor of Virginia and you have a swing in thinking that gives Republicans an edge on an issue that they were recently losing on.

As pessimistic as the American electorate may be about politicians, they are inherently an optimistic bunch that is looking for any excuse to believe that someone in Washington can act responsibly and apply logic to the bureaucracy and legislative process.

This 6% swing in opinion on who can handle the economy best is not a major development. It is after all one poll and we would need a few different polls of a few different pool of voters over a prolonged period of time to actually prove that this trend does exist. But the point is, if democrats continue passing their hail Mary spending policies and Republicans like Eric Cantor can pull the GOP back to their fiscal conservative roots, the electorate might just begin to feel that the grass is greener on the other side of the aisle come the mid term elections in 2010.

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Have Some Respect This Memorial Day

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Bookmark and Share  The barbecues are being prepared. Cars are being packed for road trips to spots of recreation and swimming pools and beaches are being prepared for the introduction of summer’s inaugural visitors to usher in the activities of the season.

Like birds flocking south for the winter, it is all a part of summertime rituals that begin at the sounding of a bell that is called Memorial Day.

In some respects it is a wholesome sort of tradition that seems to be quite pleasant, but in truth, the time has become a tragic example of lost sensibilities and respect.

Memorial Day is a national day of mourning. At least that is what it was intended to be. And in case you wondered, that is one reason why the phrase “Happy Memorial Day” is never really appropriate and has never really caught on. The day is a sad one. Yet when this holiday of sincere appreciation for our fallen defenders of freedom approaches, few people utilize it for its intended purpose.

Such disregard is shameful.

Memorial Day was originally honored on May 30th but it was changed to accommodate Americans with an extended weekend. That extra consecutive day off helped to fuel the focus on fun but it also helped dilute the purpose of the day. There were efforts by some, like Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye, who proposed legislation to move the holiday from the last Monday of every May back to it’s original May 30th date.

The merit of that measure is debatable but what is not debatable is the fact that our tributes and heartfelt appreciation for the men and women who gave all in the defense of our nation and its values should not require legislative prompting.

Be it blood shed on the beaches of Normandy, limbs lost in Korea, kamikaze piloted planes crashing on the deck of a battleship in the Pacific, a roadside bomb in Baghdad, the lives lost in such events and under such circumstances, warrant your consideration and require your sincerest debt of gratitude.

The honorable men and women who sacrificed their lives in order for us to have a better life deserve more than a commemoration that is marked by your taking advantage of a summer sale or your eating a funnel cake while strolling down a favorite seaside boardwalk.

That is why this Monday, although I do not ask you to deny yourself the pleasure of a break from work or an enjoyable romp in the surf of a sunny beach, I do ask you to take some time to be thankful and grateful for those who gave their lives for ours.

Decorate the grave of a fallen soldier while reflecting on who that person was, what they did and how meaningful their actions were. Visit with a Gold Star family and offer words of warmth, solace, consolation and appreciation.

At the very least, offer a moment of personal prayer or reflection for those who have died so that you could live. Pay some kind of respect to those who gave their all so that you could have it all.

Oceans of tears have been shed by sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and husbands and wives who have all lost loved ones that fought in valiant battles meant to preserve all that we take for granted in our nation. But on Memorial Day don’t take anything for granted. Don’t take our freedom or opportunities for granted. Don’t take the efforts of those who died for America and its cause for granted.

On Memorial Day you can make sure you have enough hot dogs for the grill. Make sure you have your swim trunks packed and your Frisbee on hand. Have some fun. That’s fine.

But also have some respect.

Don’t let Memorial Day go by without giving it the meaning it deserves and don’t let its meaning get by you.

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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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Party Like It’s 1773

teaparty1   Bookmark and Share December 16th, marked the 235th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the original Boston Tea Party. It is the model for the more than 500 tea parties that are taking place across America on this day which marks the deadline for filing taxes.

A little more than 235 years ago the residents of the American colonies had enough. They could no longer quietly tolerate the oppression of a ruling authority that dictated too much. They were tired of the majesty’s demands upon them and it all came to a head in Boston when the cry of “taxation without representation” resulted in a tea party that was anything but sedate or civil.

Back then, American colonists were developing a sense of independence that wanted government out of their lives. They wanted to make their own wages without a ruling authority limiting how much of it they could earn. They wanted the right to have a say in the way their territory was run.

This spirit led to the Declaration of Independence and eventually it led to the birth of what the world would came to know as the freest, most innovative and powerful nation in the universe.

Today, we still hold that impressive title but many of us see it being lost. That greatness is a bi-product of freedom. A freedom that has allowed individuals to flourish well beyond the limited framework that any one established authority could set it’s people on. The diversity of thinking, and goals has created the greatest pool of ideas known to man.

Our freedom and individuality has been the key to our greatness but unlike the people of colonial America, today, Americans are giving up their freedom and relinquishing their individuality to a controlling authority that they want to give greater control to.

Instead of demanding “no taxation without representation” we are accepting of the practice.

If you live in New Jersey but work in New York, in addition to a litany of federal taxes and state taxes, you have to pay a commuter tax. Does paying that tax give New Jerseyans the chance to vote for leaders and representatives in New York? Heck no! But without any representation for them in New York, they are forced to pay taxes to New York.

This scenario is not limited to New York. It exists almost everywhere in the nation but that does not make it right. It is simply an indication of the spirit that has been lost since days of old.

Further indication of this is made in other areas of government.

Instead of that sense of responsibility that the colonists had, today we look towards government for everything. Where the colonists wanted less of the majesty’s governance, we want more of the federal bureaucracy’s governance.

Have a business that isn’t successful? Let the government bail you out.

Want to start a business? Let the government give you a grant to do it.

Lost money on a business deal or investment? Let the government give you the money back.

Let the government do everything and pay for everything, right?

Wrong!

The money the government gives you is not theirs to give away. It is your money, it is our money. It is the tax dollars we let them take from us and the more we refuse to do for ourselves, the more money they take from us.

Economically, that may not sound like a bad thing to some but in reality it is anything but a good deal.

When the bureaucracy of government does something, they do so in a way that costs much more than any individual or private sector institution can. So by letting the government do more, is allowing more money to be wasted. If you needed a hammer would you buy one for 8 bucks at Home Depot yourself or would you buy the same one from the Pentagon for 108 dollars?

The government needs to get out of our business and Americans need to recapture the independent spirit that founded this country and made us the great nation that we are.

We need to start doing for ourselves what we have come to expect government to do for us. Our reliance on a controlling authority has taken control of our lives away from us. That reliance has created a dependency that has led to the growth of government and that growth has created the need for more money. Money that is raised by increasing the taxes that the people have to pay.

The Boston Tea Party may not have been a cozy afternoon gathering but it was a good thing. It signaled our deep rooted yearning for our God given freedom and believe it or not, freedom is still a good thing.

235 years later Americans are far removed from that fact. Instead of demanding less government and more personal freedom, we ask for more government and more government action. Instead of protesting excessive taxation we just held an election that endorsed more taxes and “spreading the wealth around”.

Maybe we will have to lose some of our freedom in order to realize what all the hullabaloo in Boston was about.

Slowly we already have lost some of our freedoms but apparently not enough. Not enough to select candidates who want to limit government. Not enough to force representatives to stop trying to solve problems by restricting our freedoms and creating more problems.

Just how much freedom we must lose before we begin to miss it, is quite important.

That freedom made us the great power and people that we are and the more of it that we lose, the further from greatness we shall fall.

Those of us who understand that are the ones behind the organic, grassroots growth of the tea parties that hundreds of thousands are participating in today. Ourr participation is not merely based on taxation. It is based on freedom and the right to it. It is based on the need to rid ourselves of a controlling authority that has gone too far, takes too much and produces more harm than good.

More than 235 years ago, a bunch of colonists who understood the value of freedom stood up to their oppressors. They were a group of soon to be Americans whose desires for a better life led them to renounce the authority of a government for the sake of their freedom. The same freedom that we have come to take for granted and whittled away.

That is what today’s modern tea parties are all about and that is the sentiment behind the events that Americans from border to border and coast to coast, are rekindling today.

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Porth Authority of New York and New Jersey Rejects Freedom

freedomtower-003Bookmark and Share    Being born and raised in New York, I am quite familiar with the area in America that after 9/11 became known as “ground zero”. The towers that stood on ground zero were a part of the everyday landscape of my life.

I worked in them and in their shadow. Having an office, for a time, across from the City Hall, just mere blocks away from the towers, a great deal of my activity and day was influenced by the towers. It was a hub of activity for me and many New Yorkers.

None of this makes my relationship to the World Trade Center any closer than anyone else, but it does account for some of my passion surrounding the events of 9/11. The fact is, that after the events of 9/11, many Americans feel a connection to the towers. They were once a symbol of America but now they have become a symbol for Americans. The collapse of those towers represents the most tragic act of terrorism ever committed against us. The recovery from their collapse represents our enduring spirit and inherent American vitality.

Part of our demonstrated resiliency and defiance in the face of threats is the reconstruction of a new World Trade Center.

For New Yorkers it is quite an important step. Not only does it have incredibly positive financial and economic ramifications, it has an intrinsic symbolic value with infinitesimal meaning.

The reconstruction of the new WTC is a symbol and tribute to emergency workers, paramedics, policemen, firemen, construction workers, doctors, nurses, and everyone else who ran toward the crumbling towers on that fateful day in an attempt to save lives.

It is a symbol to the tens of thousands who ran away from the towers as they were falling, in order to save their own lives. It is also a symbol for those who did not make it and to the loved ones they left behind.

The reconstructed World Trade Center will be a symbol for all Americans.

As such, the new center was to bear a name befitting of such an iconic creation.

It was going to be named The Freedom Tower.

The name threatened no sensitivities or faiths, It did not defy any bounds of decency or politically correct dictums.

The name reflected a concept truly important to Americans, one that was under attack when the original towers came crashing down.

It was a perfect name for a potential center of the free market in America and the world.

But nothing is perfect and as such, the controlling authority of the new tower, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has determined that the name “Freedom Tower” will be dropped.

The Port Authority claims that their reason for scrapping that name is a business decision based on the fact that some potential foreign tenants of the tower are turned off by the name. Port Authority officials claim that changing the name from Freedom Tower back to World Trade Center will make it easier to market.little

For me, the decision to turn their back on the symbolic importance of the towers name, is an offense to us all. Especially to those directly affected by the events of 9/11.

It also brings rise to what type of potential international tenants of the tower are offended by the name “Freedom Tower”. Is the Port Authority planning on renting office space in the new WTC to the Taliban?

The decision to back down from the name Freedom Tower, on a project that has so much symbolic value to our nation’s recovery from terrorism and our continued plight for freedom in the world, is a travesty of insurmountable proportions. The rejection of the name and the reasoning behind the rejection is repulsive.

It does not help to properly define a post 9/11 era . It does not help to honor the thousands who died when freedom was attacked on 9/11…….the thousands who will be memorialized where they died, right on the remaining foot print of both old towers.

By refusing to call the new tower, the Freedom Tower, we are not demonstrating our own commitment to the cause of freedom. What we are doing is demonstrating that we will compromise our freedoms to suit the desires of others.

Well I do not want to suit the needs of people who have a problem with freedom. Whether they are foreigners or domestic dolts, I do not want to promote or support their antithetical views regarding freedom.

Freedom is the foundation of our very nation. Or at least it is suppose to be.

Yet here we are. We have a committee of Americans appointed by the American governors of New York and New Jersey. They were entrusted with the responsibility of operating America’s Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and they refuse to stand by the name of the principle most important to America………freedom.

Is there any wonder why we are where we are today?

God bless America. Now more than ever!

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Renewable Energy Is Great, But Not Here. Somewhere Else Though

Bookmark and Share     renwable-u4prezI believe that a vast majority of Americans understand the need to move towards a utilization of sound, economic, renewable energy sources. Most of us understand the downside to our current oil based economy. We understand the foreign affairs implications and environmental impacts.

Knowing that, most Americans hold out the desire for a day when clean, efficient and plentiful natural alternatives can become the primary source of energy.

Such is a goal that both presidential candidates outlined in their individual campaigns. It is also an issue which you will be hard pressed to find opposition to on either side of the political aisle.

Accept for some of those sitting on the left side of the aisle.

When it comes to energy and alternatives to oil, some of your most liberal legislators stand in the way.

When a wind farm was proposed off the coast of Cape Cod, its most famous resident, Senator Ted Kennedy, opposed it. The plan would have disrupted the view from and aesthetics of the coastal Kennedy compound.

For the longest time Kennedy was one of the greatest examples of liberal hypocrisy concerning the lefts environmental activism and their plight for clean and efficient energy.

Then of course there came the largest hypocrite of them all.

Al Gore.

The man ran around the world ands crisscrossed America consuming more fuel and wasting more energy than the entirety of a small business sector in New England. Than while living in his own luxurious Tennessee family compound it was discovered that his own home used almost three times the amount of energy than the average home and lacked many of the energy efficiency standards that he himself promoted.

While producing a movie to exaggerate the effects of global warming and motivate people through fear and an overly dramatic hypothesis, he lived a life and undertook an effort that helped leave behind a carbon footprint the size of more than a hundred average American families.

For all his produced environmental waste, he received both an Oscar and a Nobel prize.

Now we have President Obama promising to bring America into an era of energy independence and efficiency.

The problem is that while he promises to get America out of tough economic times by fueling the economy with vast expenditures on renewable energy sources, he is doing little to help us get through the transition to that time. Little is being said or done regarding safe and sound domestic oil drilling and little is being done to make conversions to alternative fuel and energy sources more affordable.

I will give President Obama a break though. His complete energy program has not yet unfolded and it should be dealt with, on its merits, as it is developed.

But even if that plan happens to be a good one, how much help will it get in implementing it?

On the Presidents own side of the aisle, there exists a “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) attitude that does not help the cause for environmentally safe and sound energy that utilizes the riches of nature to our advantage.

First, Ted Kennedy opposed the use of wind for energy and now The Golden State’s Senator Dianne Feinstein opposes the use of solar energy.

Of course neither mind the use of solar or wind power technology somewhere other than in the states they represent. In fact they are big proponents of it………….in someone else’s state though.

This new hypocritical point of view reared its ugly head after nineteen companies submitted applications that would lead to the construction of solar and wind power farms amidst 500,000 acres of the desolate Mojave Desert.

In response to this advance, Senator Feinstein is crafting legislation that would turn the region into a national monument and allow for only existing uses in the area to continue while preventing any future utilization of the land.

Much of the land in question was purchased by the government between 1999 and 2004 from the former Sante Fe and Southern Pacific Railroad. The deal was arranged by a group called The Wildlands Conservancy which helped to raise $40 million dollar for the purchase deal.

In a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar the senator writes “I urge you to direct the Bureau of Land Management to suspend any further consideration of leases to develop former railroad lands for renewable energy or for any other purpose.”

The impetus behind this demand is the conservancy’s fear that these energy projects will greatly harm the region’s desert tortoise population.

Now, I am animal lover. I am a professional breeder and shower of cats with a Cat Fanciers Association and Cat Fanciers Federation registered cattery. I have also shown and handled dogs for my mother who, along with her own cattery, is the owner of an American Kennel Club registered kennel and a breeder and handler of dogs.

I grew up with cats, dogs, fish, exotic animals and was also one of the few kids in Brooklyn to have had a horse, which was maintained at a stable that was just blocks from where I lived. I can still remember how while other people were walking their dogs in Canarsie’s Seaview Park I was riding a horse in it.

I love all kinds of animals. I understand that they too have, if not the same, than at least a sense of emotion that is similar to us. They experience pain and pleasure. They can be happy or sad, bored or excited. I am empathetic to animals and at times I prefer the companionship of some of my pets to some people. They are not arrogant and judgmental. They are not bigoted and hard to please.

So no, I am not the heartless conservative that the left would like to use in their arguments to support their radical agendas. I do not want to see the eradication of the desert tortoise or any other tortoise, rabbit, owl, wildcat or creature crucial in the chain of our ecosystem.

However, I also do not see how scientific advances can’t help to accommodate the need for coexistence on the face of the earth.

But if coexistence between us and the desert tortoise is impossible, are environmentalists saying that the desert tortoise’s existence is more important than our own?

Are they claiming that the utilization of sun and wind to get off of our environmentally damaging reliance on oil should be halted in areas like the West?

Do they feel that the damaging effects on our environment, due to the use of fossil fuels, is more beneficial to the long term health of the desert tortoise?

We are talking about the use of the sun and the wind. Few places are sunnier or windier than the Mojave Desert. Few places are more suitable for the implementation of wind and solar energy solutions to California’s increasing energy crisis.

Yet again, another liberal environmentalist who berates us all for not advancing the cause for, and implementation of strategies that are environmentally safe and energy efficient, becomes one of the first to get in the way of that very same cause.

It is counterproductive and hypocritical.

It is also sad.

One of the best ways to lead is by example but unfortunately there are very few true leaders in the United States senate. That is made increasingly apparent by the actions of people like former Senate President and Vice President Al Gore who asks us to live one way then subsequently lives another way. It is made more and more evident by Senators like Kennedy and Feinstein who promote a national agenda to get us off of fossil fuels but oppose options that could help us to do so when it comes to their own states.

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At a press conference, Vice President Joe Biden announced that he is surprised at how quickly global warming is happening. Then one of his aides pulled him aside and explained that it was just springtime.

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