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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TWIN PEEPS

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

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Be Sure To Sign The Petition To

REPEAL THE CONGRESSIONAL PAY HIKE

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

Pass The Link On To Family, Friends and Co-workers

http://www.gopetition.com/online/24301.html  

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

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

the results are as follows:

40%  –  KEN BLACWELL

20%  –  SAUL ANUZIS

20%  –  MICHAEL STEELE

  7%  –  KATON DAWSON

 7%  –  CHIP SALTSMAN

 7%  –  Other 

 0%  –  MIKE DUNCAN 

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SOME HOLIDAY CHEER

With tonight’s arrival of Hanukah and Christmas not far off, on this cold and snowy Sunday, we take a brief moment to offer everyone some seasons greetings!

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Don’t forget to log back in on Monday

POLITICS 24/7 will start the week off with something fishy in the world of Monmouth County politics.

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MORE TAXES……because they’re good for your health

antefficient-tax-man

News has it that New York, replacement Governor, David Paterson, is unveiling 127 new items and services that the Empire State will start taxing.

Although the entire list is too long for inclusion in one blog post, I would like to focus on just two items on the list.

Together the taxing of these two items and the logic behind it demonstrates the utter hypocrisy and lack of reasoning behind liberal tax and spend policies.

The two items I am referring to are gym memberships and soda. Not all soda though. Diet soda is not on Democrats hit list. Claiming that regular soda is less healthy than diet soda, Patterson and fellow Democrats believe regular soda is  ripe for a tax that penalizes those who dare to purchase it.

NEW YORK GOVERNOR DAVID "tax it for your health" PATERSON

NEW YORK GOVERNOR DAVID "tax it for your health" PATERSON

After all it is our health and well being which is the government’s primary reason for creating such a tax.

Or is it?

If health concerns were their primary reason, as opposed to economic concerns, why then would they also penalize people who attempt to maintain their health by joining a gym?

If health reasons requires the state to tax soda because it is bad for you, what is the health reason that requires the state to tax gym memberships? Are gym memberships more unhealthy than diet soda?

Let’s face it folks, Democrats are just hypocrites.

They claim that they will add a tax to one thing because it is bad for you and then in the same announcement state that they will also add a tax to something that is healthy for you.

Mind you, we are just talking about only two of the new taxes that liberals are promoting in New York. There are 125 others, all as hypocritical and as inexcusable as the next. Each one of them however, will be given a reason for taxing by Democrats. They will try to rationalize each one. But who are they kidding?

Maybe themselves.

I guess they could claim that a tax on gym memberships is necessary because of the risk of injury that could be gotten while trying to keep fit. You know, a sprained ankle on the treadmill, a wrist injury while lifting weights, who really  knows. But any excuse is a good excuse.

NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR JON "hey, that was my tax idea" CORZINE

NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR JON "hey, that was my tax idea" CORZINE

This type of hypocrisy and illogic certainly isn’t limited to New York. In fact New Jersey set this trend.  When Wall Street wizard Jon Corzine came into office a whole herd of new taxes were created.  Like New York, that list of new taxes included

Just like New York with soda, Corzine and the liberal led New Jersey legislature raised taxes on cigarettes because of their unhealthiness and at the same time, created a tax on gym memberships.

Way to go guys. While looking out for our health you also penalize us for trying to be healthy.

While doing that,  Corzine’s economic brilliance led to a tax on the planting of flowers, shrubbery and trees.

That‘s one way to help take the garden out of the Garden State.

The bottom line is this.

We need political leaders who have some brains and understand that most of their constituents have brains too. Stop insulting our intelligence by making excuses for doing what is wrong. Don’t tell us you won’t tax one type of soda and not another because one is healthier than the other and then tax everything else that is healthy for us.

If health was the governments true intention, then they should be creating incentives to join the gym, not a create a penalty for joining one. 

We need intelligent leaders who are willing to look for solutions, not create problems.

While Blagojevich tries to sell a U.S. Senate seat in Illinois , others are trying to sell us excuses for making tough economic times even tougher for us .

Rather than cutting the cost of government, they raise the cost of living. And they do so with the rationalization of a fourth grader who tries to explain that they don’t have their homework because the dog ate it.

But, just like New Jersey, Democrats in New York will make excuses and some voters will buy those excuses.

But for how much longer?

Pretty soon liberals will be adding a tax to those excuses that voters buy.

Hopefully voters will wise up. Hopefully voters will realize that we can’t tax our way out of every hole in a budget or spend ourselves into prosperity. When that realization comes, hopefully we will provide liberals with an excuse for their not winning in elections.

Maybe we can tell them that, like their reasons for taxing different things, we voted against them for health reasons……our economic health.

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Wondering why there is a government bureau which oversees alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, a young man called the regional office of said bureau.

He asked the man who answered the phone “What wine goes best with an M-16?”

The ATF agent did his best to be helpful and replied…..

“That depends. What are you smoking?”

 

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“TOO MUCH CORRUPTION BECAUSE THERE’S TOO MUCH GOVENMENT”

antgovcoruptPOLITICS 24/7 has often stated that not only is state government too big but that there are too many governments in the state.

Based on the relatively small size of New Jersey, why there is a need for more than 650 municipal governments, is beyond me. Drive down any road in New Jersey and you will find yourself entering a new and different town every 3 or 4 minutes.

As stated here in the past, the proliferation of governments in this state is actually a major part of the problems that we face in the state.

The affordability crisis we are enduring is in large part due to the costs of operating all these governments. It costs a lot of money to operate and employ all these fire departments, police departments, borough halls, staffs, permit departments, and so on and so on.

It also creates an atmosphere ripe with the opportunity for corruption. Between the patronage, construction and service contracts, the ability to “spread the wealth around” runs rampant. But the wealth that is spread around is that of the taxpayers. While their wealth is taken away from them, those in charge of spreading it are doing so among their own friends, families, mistresses and fellow power brokers.

The existing arrangement has helped to make government one of the largest employers in the state. It has also helped to define New Jersey as one of the most state corrupt states in the Union, a title often in dispute with Louisiana but recently surpassed only by Illinois.

The arrest of Illinois’ Democrat Governor, Rod Blagojevich, for trying to sell President-Elect Obama’s newly available senate seat, along with other sleazy intentions, has helped take the title away from us. But we are still among the three most corrupt states at the top of that list.

Bridge commissioners, state contractors, council members, freeholders, county executives, judicial officials, cabinet members, party chairmen, state senators, assembly members and more have all been getting arrested, indicted, and sentenced in astonishing numbers.

Just today a former assembly candidate pleaded guilty in the same bribery scandal that took out his opponent for that same assembly seat.

For the past seven years, potential Republican candidate for Governor, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, has largely been responsible for exposing and successfully prosecuting the government corruption that has caused much of the public to lose their faith in public servants.

Having first hand experience with combating corruption, Christie knows about what he speaks of and today, speaking before an event sponsored by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and Cherry Hill Regional Chamber of Commerce, the former crime buster stated that the reason for all the corruption in New Jersey was because “we just have too much government.”

Now that what we at POLITICS 24/7 have known all along has been confirmed by an expert in the area, what do we do about?

Well first of all, New Jersey needs to embark on the initiatives of others like Senator Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County.

Senator Kyrillos has been pushing for consolidation. The type of consolidation which would make some of New Jersey’s less populous towns merge with larger neighboring towns.

This measure was actually proposed in legislation first sponsored by a former assemblyman, Republican Michael Arnone.

In the late ‘90’s, Assemblyman Arnone saw the need to curtail the spreading of governments in New Jersey the same way that we try to prevent the spreading of the flu.

Like a disease, the inordinate number of governments, along with their increasing size scope and staffs, have infected the state with a governing class that survives by doling out plumb, patronage positions and entering into corrupt contracts filled with kickbacks.

Does consolidation solve our problem? Nope, it sure doesn’t. Greed and other less attractive qualities that are sometimes a part of human nature will always exist. However, with less governments available for corruption to breed in, the less corruption will be born.

For me, Chris Christie’s remark is promising.

If he truly believes what he said, it may bode well for his possible candidacy. Small government conservatives will certainly appreciate the direction that his comment would take us in. Now if he can only expand on that remark.

If he does run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, will he help to do more than offer lip service to state consolidation? Will he provide the initiatives of Senator Kyrillos with the type of support that is needed to influence liberal lawmakers to pass such measures?

Whether Christie runs or not, we need more leaders who are willing to solve our problems by acknowledging what the problems are and in New Jersey the problem is government.

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In international news, 60% of the people in the country of Jordan say they find Americans to be rude. Actually, that’s not so bad, when you consider 60% of people in other Middle Eastern countries think we’re Satan. …We’re moving up!

-Jay Leno

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GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN TO MAKE JENNIFER BECK LT. GOV. OFF TO A GOOD START

Last week POLITICS 24/7 began planting the seeds of a grassroots effort in the Garden State. It is a campaign to persuade whomever becomes the Republican nominee for Governor to select State Senator Jennifer Beck as their running mate.

For this effort a new blog site was created. It is titled, Jennifer Beck for Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey. Please visit it by clicking on to its highlighted name.

There you will find all the information you need to know why we have started this movement. On the site you will find pages dealing with the campaign, Senator Beck’s voting record, her bio, the latest news in regards to her legislative efforts and this campaign, videos and also the petition which this whole campaign comes down to.

Please be sure to sign the petition urging our eventual nominee for Governor to select State Senator Beck as their running mate and our nominee for Lieutenant Governor.

Also be sure to pass the link on to other New Jersey voters. Simply cut the following url……

http://www.gopetition.com/online/23572.html

…..and paste it into an email to your friends that urges them to lend their support to the cause.

So far the this effort is working. With no money to spread the word, I am relying on word of mouth, the Internet and earned media. To date we have been contacted by The Star Ledger, The Asbury Park Press, The Two Rivers Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Politickernj.com and numerous blog and news oriented web sites. Each have, thankfully, published positive stories about the campaign and there will be more coverage to come.

Currently, our efforts are focused on establishing direct contact with voters through the Internet.

In that vein, we have expanded our effort to Facebook.com, where we started a Jennifer Beck For Lt. Gov. group.
You can find it and join it by going to the following link:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=41874237142

Since yesterday, by taking this route, 42 new, interested and excited members have joined the campaign and many have signed the petition.

We have also created another group platform on an Internet site recently created by Patrick Ruffini, a brilliant Republican, strategist and computer whiz. It is called Rebuild The Party and can be found at rebuildtheparty.com .

On Rebuild The Party is our own group for Jennifer Beck:

http://rebuildtheparty.ning.com/group/statesenatorjenniferbeckforlieutenantgovernorofnew

There too, you can get involved and be a part of this effort to shape a winning, gubernatorial ticket for Republicans in November of ’09.

If you would like to play a role in the petition campaign for Jennifer Beck, your efforts will be greatly appreciated. We could use individuals who are familiar with the Internet. I would really like someone to head up an outreach effort on MySpace.com.

With no financial budget, this grassroots campaign has to sprout up wherever possible and places like MySpace are just right for us. They’re free!

In time, our campaign will be looking to appoint county coordinators. These individuals will help to scoop up all the signatures for our on line petition that they possibly can in their counties. that type of focus will help to maximize our efforts. But that will come further down the long road ahead of us.

In the meantime I truly hope to hear from you and thank you for your interest in the campaign. If you have any questions or would like more information about this campaign for Jennifer Beck, please feel free to reach me at LiberalsRlosers@aol.com . It is an easy email address to remeber. That’s liberals, R, losers, at aol.com.

Hope to see you soon!

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Q: What is the best job an Iraqi can have?

A: Foreign Ambassador

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THE TOP 10 POLITICAL HAPPENINGS OF 2008

With the new year here, we have the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and to thank the passage of time for resolving some situations. While some happenings in 2008 came and went, other events of 2008 still require time, time that will absorb much of 2009 and even beyond.

So today, before we forge ahead with the rest of this new year, we reflect on the events that shaped politics and the politics that shaped events, by presenting to you the 10 most significant political stories of the year that helped to get us where we are today.

TONY SNOW

TONY SNOW

10. – THE DEATHS OF TIM RUSSERT and TONY SNOW

TIM RUSSERT

TIM RUSSERT

Both of these men loved politics. For a time they were both involved in politics on different sides of the aisle and during  a different time they covered both sides of the aisle in politics . Tony Snow started in print and broadcast journalism delivering political news and commentary and ended his career in politics as the Press Secretary for President Bush. Tim Russert began in politics working for a political legend, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York and ended covering politics on NBC. As host of Meet The Press, Tim became a part of every American household and despite his personal left leaning tendencies Tim Russert was respected for probing questions that were leveled at liberals and conservatives alike. Tony Snow was also a partisan. For decades he was a favorite in conservative circles, yet when delivering a news story people of every party carefully listened to the insightful delivery of facts that he presented. His last major endeavor was one that helped provide the White House with the ability to properly convey the right messages. Tony served as Press Secretary for 17 months. Probably the most understandable 17 months of the Presidents two terms in office. Tim Russert died after suffering a massive heart attack on Jun 13th at the age of 58 and Tony Snow died after battling colon cancer on July 12th at the age of 53. In life they shaped politics and political opinion. In death, they left us a legacy of lessons and examples to follow.

 

 

FORMER NY GOVERNOR ELLIOT SPITZER

FORMER NY GOVERNOR ELLIOT SPITZER

9 . – IS THAT CAMPAIGN MONEY IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME?

 

The Empire State helped to set a tone for 2008 when early in the year, New York’s Governor, Elliot Spitzer got caught up in scandal. After serving only 14 months in office the rising Democrat star found himself standing next to his wife announcing his resignation. Suspicious transfers of money in and out of Spitzer’s bank account led federal investigators to believe that he might be taking bribes. However their probe discovered that for over several years Spitzer wasn’t taking bribes, he was paying out at least $80,000 for prostitutes. The period covered his tenure as New York’s Attorney General as well as his brief time as Governor. The happiest people of all in this episode were David Paterson and New Jersey. As Spitzer’s Lieutenant Governor, Paterson, became New York’s first African American Governor, and the nation’s first legally blind one. New Jersey was just happy to know that they were no longer the only state in the region to lose a governor because of sexual scandals and illegal conduct.

 

 

8. – WEEKEND AT KIM’S

NOT WANTED but is he dead or alive?

NOT WANTED but is he dead or alive?

 

Around August rumors began to circulate that North Korea’s obscure and, to put it kindly, eccentric leader, Kim Jong-Il, was dead. Since then no reputable sources have either seen him or heard from him. Not that that is unusual, few people have ever heard or seen Kim Jong-Il, but what is unusual are recent decisions that Kim Jong-Il supposedly made to eliminate efforts to develop nuclear power. Did Kim make that decision? Is North Korea really abandoning nuclear ambitions? Or is North Korea propping up Kim Jong-Il, like a bad, out of sync, Korean version of “Weekend At Bernie’s” while a different, unknown, brain dead ruler is pulling the strings and, at the same time, trying to pull the wool over our eyes? All jokes aside, the sensitivity of the situation is a dire one. Chaos on the Korean Peninsula could create a ripple effect that no one can afford. Dramatic events could alter sensitive relations with South Korea and negotiations with the United States. All of which could result in tensions throughout the world including those involving hard feelings between North Korea and Japan. And let us not forget North Korea’s greatest ally, China. With their booming economy, the Chinese are ambitious. Knowing who is in charge of things could be helpful in 2009.

 

 

BID WELL TO FIDEL?

BID WELL TO FIDEL?

7. – BID WELL FIDEL?

 

In 1959 Cuba took on the face of Fidel Castro. Just 90 miles off of our shores, Cuban communism and Castro were too close for comfort. As much as we didn’t like it, invasions, coups and even assassination attempts did not eliminate Castro’s hold on power. However, time did reduce Castro’s influence. As time changed most of the world, Castro and Cuba didn’t but the logistics which helped to make him a thorn in our side did change. The, once feared communist Soviet-Cuban relationship lost it’s potency as the Soviet Union lost it’s hammer and sickle. As time went by, our concerns with Cuba focused more on human rights for Cubans than defense from Cuba. So it was still welcome news when, in February, we discovered that an ailing Fidel Castro was resigning from office. Not that it mattered much. Before stepping down, Fidel told the Cuban Communist Party that they were too elect his brother Raul to be the new Commander in Chief. The event did not change things very much but after almost 50 years in power, and events such as the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Elian Gonzales and other disconcerting situations, as minor as the effects of this change may be, Fidel’s painstakingly slow departure from the world stage is welcomed and ranks as the seventh most dramatic political occurrence of 2008.

 

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6. – THE GEOGIAN-RUSSIAN WAR

 

It was not a battle that reshaped Europe again but the surprising developments that caused the Russian Army to invade a neighboring, breakaway Republic with internationally recognized sovereignty, gave us all a glimpse of reality. It may not be the Soviet Union anymore but a bear by any other name is still a bear and the vulnerabilities of newly formed and reformed European nations and those with relatively new freedoms still offer some new Russian leaders the same old reasons for wanting control. The incident helped to demonstrate that freedom in parts of Europe is still a fragile concept.

 

 

ROD "How much do 'ya want" BLAGOJEVICH

ROD "How much do 'ya want" BLAGOJEVICH

5. – THE EBAY APPOINTMENT

 

2008 ended with a story that will carry well into the first months of 2009. As President-Elect Obama vacated his seat in the U.S. Senate, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich began a private auction process to determine who will fill the vacancy. As investigators, under the direction of federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, investigated Blagojevich for numerous improprieties, they discovered that he was basing his appointment to the senate seat on who could give him the most for it. Blago wanted either a “cushy union” job, a high paying cabinet position or at the very least an enormous financial campaign contribution. After being arrested the Illinois state legislature began impeachment proceedings against Blagojevich and he began digging in his heals refusing to resign. The events have the potential for drawing in some big name co-conspirators and participants. From Rep. Jesse Jackson, jr. to President -Elect Obama’s incoming Chief of Staff, Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuelle, many reputations may yet be questioned in this scandal. And to make things even more interesting, Blagojevich took the opportunity to raise the stakes and named Roland Burris, a long time, old line, liberal Chicago Democrat party machine hack to replace Barack Obama. Not at all concerned with peoples faith in government, or the integrity of the process, Burriss accepted the tainted appointment and in doing so, puts the United States and it’s Democrat leader, Harry Reid in the position of denying to seat someone that would be the only African American in the United States Senate. So coming in as the fifth top political occurrence in 2008 is the story that will keep on bleeding and keep us reading…..the process to replace a Barack Obama in the senate.

 

 

4. – BRINGING OUTSIDERS IN

GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN

GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN

 

One of the most important political decisions made in 2008 was John McCain’s selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President on the Republican ticket. It was a controversial choice for some and one of the only right decisions made in the opinions of others. No matter how you see it, it remains one of the most spoken about political stories of the year. Beyond the newsworthiness are the implications. For many it was a sign of the fact that government needs thinking that is as far removed from the Washington D.C. mentality as Alaska is from Washington D.C itself. Many Americans are tired of Washington politics and want common sense as opposed to the one hand washes the other, old boys bureaucracy that we perceive as screwing us more than helping us. Sarah Palin embodied, and still does embody, that thinking. She is a political outsider who became a Governor by opposing the political class while representing the working class. Without abandoning conservative Republican principles, Sarah Palin fought against corrupt Republican and liberal politicians. Although picking Sarah Palin for Vice President may have been the right decision for John McCain, trying to restrict and control her wasn’t. By trying to script Sarah Palin, the McCain campaign lost out on the greatest advantageous quality Palin brought to the ticket…….her anti-establishment, outsider qualities. As McCain lost the election for President, Sarh Palin won exposure. Exposure that has made her a person who conservatives look forward to advancing the cause and for Americans to have to consider for national leadership in the future. So at number four in 2008 is the selection of Sarah Palin for Vice President. Thank you senator McCain!

 

 

ant1oil23. – “OILS WELL” IN THE ECONOMY?

 

The price of oil ranks third on our list of top stories. As prices for a barrel of oil soared to heights in excess of 150 dollars a barrel , gas prices flew up to over 4 dollars a gallon and the ripple effects raise the cost of everything from milk, eggs and bread to lumber, air fares, and life in general. The high cost of energy generated heated debates over domestic oil drilling, and pushed issues like immigration and terrorism off of the front burners in the race for President. Based upon the duration of the immediate negative effects of the price of oil combined with its ripple effects on the economy, its control of the political agenda and the long term policy initiatives that it created, oil prices is number 3 in ‘08. It is also likely to become a top story again, at least around August of ‘09, when the now delightfully low prices we see rise back up.

 

 

2. – THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA

 

Putting all political opinion aside, Barack Obama ran a long hard campaign, that Republican strategists are dissecting in order to reproduce in elections of their own. The Obama campaign not only effectively tapped into voter dissatisfaction, they organized it and organized it well. Their utilization of the internet was exemplary and their ability to win favor through eloquence and style over substance and fact was done to political perfection. Despite some pitfalls such as Bill Ayers, ACORN, Rev. Wright, admitting a desire akin to socialism by stating that he wanted to spread the wealth, Barack Obama won big. To do so his campaign raised historic amounts of money and more than just raising that money, they spent it right and put it to good use. A use that mobilized the forces well enough to produce his substantial victory. The election of President-Elect Barack Obama comes in second not only because of how he won but because he did win. His victory marked the election of America’s first African American President. Like any other first, it is notable and in this case it is profoundly notable. It demonstrates an undeniable ability for our nation to overcome racial differences and the evidence of decency overcoming prejudice is promising. The effects of President-Elect Obama’s leadership are yet to be seen but the lessons learned and points made by his election are unquestionable.

 

 

ant1bailout21 . – BAIL OUT MANIA

 

POLITICS 24/7 considers the 700 billion dollar bailout that the federal government approved to be the most profound and important story of 2009. Not only was the suggested need for this bailout indicative of our wrong ways of the past, it signaled a continuation of wrong ways in the future. Our promotion of spending as the answer to all of our problems has created generations ands a government that spend beyond our means. The 700 billion dollar bailout meant to solve our problems didn’t solve our anything, it just provided a quick fix. It did however, create more problems. It has called upon more people and more industries to put their own hands out. The bailout set in motion a sense of government control that has taken freedom, with all of it’s risks and promises, out of the free market and it has helped to move America closer to the socialism that we have fought against in the past. Many major events come and go in politics. What we once saw as earth shattering developments often become something that we later laugh about but we fear that bailout trend established in 2008 is no laughing matter for any time.

 

2008 was an intense year. There were many events and some of the most dramatic ones did not involve politics. Human nature played a role in all of them though and hopefully our better instincts will drive the events and politics of 2009.

With that in mind we wish everyone a happy new year and hope that our better instincts help to make each and every day better than the last.

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