Tag Archives: Ronald reagan

IN HIS FIRST ADDRESS TO CONGRESS PRESIDENT OBAMA ADVANCES SOCIALISM

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Bookmark and Share    President Obama delivered a powerful speech that focused on bipartisanship and counted on the hope that the poor performance of the private sector over the past two years has forced people to have more faith in government and want more government action.

Undeniably well received, the speech was also undeniably expected.

President Obama believes that government is the answer to all our problems and although he made a point of stating that he does not believe in bigger government, he never backed away from more government control . In fact three extraordinary government based goals were punctuated in President Obama’s speech. One was for a government run universal health care project that is akin to LBJ’s expansion of social economic welfare in the 60’s.

Another lofty target laid out was the President’s cap and trade regulations on carbon. That well intended environmental goal will revolutionize our economy and produce some economic winners and many losers and, at best negligible, environmental results.

The final foray into change offered by President Obama was his initiatives which would put education in the domain of government and under its control from the elementary level through the college level.

However, in the Republican response to the President, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal reminded us that the strength in America’s future lays not in government but our people.

Acknowledging the fact that Washington must lead, Jindal made it clear that more money and power in the hands of Washington is not leadership.

Despite the trappings of Washington power and the deserved traditional pomp and circumstances of the Presidency, Governor Jindal presented his case under less impressive circumstances than the President, but his message was as resounding as the Presidents.

Governor Jindal addressed the need to stabilize housing markets, increase energy efficiency and the use of alternative energy sources, and the need to grow our economy. But his approach to those efforts did not rely on the government bureaucracy which has proven itself unable to effectively deliver services, monitor itself or act with speed and efficiency.

Having to follow President Obama in a response, Bobby Jindal faced a daunting task. He needed to deliver a response that could appropriately counter the President and although the grandiosity of his oration may not have met the emotional height of President Obama’s, the content did.

One speech relied on the collective will, determination and stamina of the people. The other relied on government replacing individual will, determination and stamina with a bureaucracy.

Jindal’s response was not made an easier by the fact that President Obama is undeniably one of our greatest contemporary political orators Any message that the President delivers is likely to strike a chord in the hearts and minds of citizens. Much the same way that Ronald Reagan did when he ruled the bully pulpit.

Both Obama and Reagan used the bully pulpit quite effectively. The difference between the two though, existed in content.

President Obama uses the bully pulpit to promote government as the key to the success of our people.

President Reagan used the bully pulpit to promote our people as the key to the success of our government.

President Obama sees government as the tool which people are empowered by while President Reagan saw people are the source to any power that the government is given.

It is a point noted when we look at the content of President Obama’s speech.

In it , government is the source of our success. Through incremental moves to socializing medicine, education and industry, under the leadership of President Obama, things will improve. In his speech, the source to a sustainable success is the bureaucracy which has proven itself to be slow, cumbersome, unruly, ineffective and inefficient. We are to believe that a government which can’t control itself or monitor itself is suppose to be the source of our wealth.

This is the same government that operates a postal service that is in the red, and has to increase rates while cutting services.

Yet, according to President Obama, government is the answer.

Bobby Jindal’s response to President Obama stated the opposite and although he lacked the suspense and emotion of the President, the content of his speech spoke to the fact that government bureaucracy holds no candle to the power of a free people. He spoke to the principles that our nation was founded on. The principles that we will have to someday struggle to recapture as we slowly move away from a people driven government to a government driven people.

In his address, governor Jindal stated that where Republicans agree with the President, we “must be his most ardent supporters.” With that I agree. However; I fear that that the President’s incremental adoption of the socialist policies that America has long fought against will provide little opportunity to demonstrate any ardent support.

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Governor Bobby Jindal’s Republican response to President Obama

 

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What did Soviet Socialists use before they had candles?
Answer: electricity.

 

 

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FLAT TAX FOR NEW JERSEY PROPOSED BY LONEGAN AT REAGAN DAY DINNER

Assemblyman Jay Webber, host and sponsor of New Jersey Reagan Day

Assemblyman Jay Webber, host and sponsor of New Jersey Reagan Day

Bookmark and Share   In a preview of what to expect , during a speech at the annual New Jersey Reagan Day Dinner, Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan announced that he will be proposing sweeping reform in the shape of a flat tax for New Jersey.

Lonegan is expected to reveal the details of his proposal at a press conference scheduled for Thursday.

The announcement came during his speech to a crowd of more than 200 people who attended Assemblyman Jay Webber’s 6th Annual New Jersey Reagan Day Dinner in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey on Wednesday.

Guests at the well attended event, did not hear only from Lonegan though.

Also in attendance and scheduled to speak were former federal prosecutor Chris Christie and Franklin Mayor Brian Levine. But Lonegan was the first to take to the podium and he quickly became a hard act to follow.

Invoking the name of Ronald Reagan, Steve Lonegan reminded guests that the current economic woes that we are in are a result of too much government and regarding the recent stimulus package, he stated that “we are witnessing an all out attack on the free market principles which have delivered more prosperity and more opportunity to more human beings than the world has ever seen”.

Lonegan’s brief speech, which accompanies this post, rekindled some of the Reagan era wisdom which showed us that it is big government which is “responsible for shackling taxpayers and stopping us from gaining prosperity”.

As such, Lonegan intends to make New Jersey the battleground for the nations economic recovery and promised to take on the challenge laid out in Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address when he asked if we have the courage to challenge the immorality of the progressive tax.

Demonstrating his courage, Lonegan announced that in the coming days he will issue detailed economic policies that include scrapping the current state tax code in favor of a fair, equitable flat tax.

Before ending his speech, Lonegan took a swipe at his most formidable rival for the nomination, Chris Christie.

While standing a mere six feet away from each other, Lonegan referred to Christie as his “primary opponent” and accused him of not understanding the Reagan philosophy. He said “my primary opponent, in his opening remarks, when he kicked off his campaign made the following profound statement. “The Wall Street philosophy is responsible for our state’s fiscal ruin” Lonegan continued, “ladies and gentlemen, the Wall Street philosophy is not responsible for our state’s fiscal ruin, that Wall Street philosophy has elevated this nation’s prosperity for two centuries. It is big government that is responsible for our state‘s fiscal ruin”.

After Lonegan made it clear that he believes government is the problem, not the answer, Christie took to the podium and ducked the swipe taken at him by saying, “I am not here tonight to talk about me. Not to talk about the problems with New Jersey. I am here tonight to talk about Ronald Reagan.”

And in an unintended demonstration of overconfidence Christie added, “over the next nine months there will be plenty of time to talk about the rest of the stuff”.

Problem is, if Christie doesn’t win the nomination , he will only have the four months leading up to the June primary to make his case and unlike Lonegan, Chris Chritie has not been making much of case for himself.  A fact not helped by his refusing to discuss any of the issues on this night.  In fact by not addressing any issues he lacked any presentation of the Reagan-like vision that many in the audience appreciate.

Instead, Chris Christie offered a glowing but unmoving tribute to Ronald Reagan that credited Reagan for his unique personality and leadership but left you wondering if Christie really understood the Reagan philosophy. Whereas, Lonegan spoke about Reagan and laid out a vision for New Jersey much like Reagan did for America.

The contrast between the two was startling.

Lonegan left you feeling hopeful and optimistic about change coming our way. Christie just left you wondering.

Last to speak before former assistant to President Reagan and the nights keynote speaker was Franklin Mayor, Brian Levine.

Levine painted a picture of a dreary economic situation and after calling his opponents for the nomination “a good group of colleagues” he headed the audience to understand that any one of the Republican candidates for governor could help bring us out of the economic malaise that the state is in.

Touching on his background as a C.P.A, and a mayor, Levine spoke to his ability to deal with the numbers and create an atmosphere in his township that is more conducive for citizens than the atmosphere Governor Corzine has created for the rest of the state. And in what was perhaps his best line, he quoted Nancy Reagan regarding C.O.A.H., the Council On Affordable Housing.

According to Levine “we need a political leader who will just say no to C.O.A.H.”

C.O.A.H is a state agency which has recently mandated every community in New Jersey to insure a certain percentage of low income housing. The measure will decimate many municipalities and will be a major cause for already skyrocketing property taxes to reach even greater heights.

The appearances and briefs statements from three of the four Republican candidates for Governor merely added to the already special occasion which was as well run as it was well attended.

Emcee and host, Assemblyman Jay Webber provided guests with another successful celebration of the life and legacy of Ronald Reagan and helped to cement the event as a surefire stop on the campaign trail for any and all statewide candidates.

Aside from the gubernatorial candidates, dozens of county leaders, freeholders, mayors and state legislators were also in attendance. Among some of the most prominent included, local conservative assemblyman Michael Patrick Carol, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. and former Jersey City mayor and 2001 Republican gubernatorial nominee Brett Schundler.

~~~

Below you will find videos of the NJ Reagan Day statements made by each of three potential Republican candidates for New Jersey governor who spoke at the event.

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Remarks by Mayor Steve Lonegan
Remarks By Chris Christie
Remarks by Mayor Brian Levine
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“Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”        ~Ronald Reagan

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NEW JERSEY REPUBLICANS CELEBRATE NEW JERSEY REAGAN DAY

antreaganday1aBookmark and Share    Every February, the month of Ronald Reagan’s birth, citizens of  New Jersey  join together to celebrate New Jersey Reagan Day.  It is a heartfelt, “all-volunteer tribute to the life, leadership, and legacy of President Ronald Reagan“, that was founded by conservative New Jersey Assemblyman Jay Webber.

The event features speeches, displays of classic Reagan memorabilia, video tributes, and even a jelly bean guessing contest to recall Reagan’s favorite snack.

New Jersey Reagan Day has also become a standard stopping point for Republican statewide candidates. As such, this year’s event anticipates appearances by Republican gubernatorial candidates Steve Lonegan, Brian Levine  and Chris Christie.

The featured guest speaker and individual delivering this year’s keynote tribute speech will be President Reagan’s former assistant  for Political and Intergovernmental Affairs and deputy assistant to the President for Public Liaison at the White House, Frank Donatelli.antreaganday

According to the event’s web site, “New Jersey Reagan Day is not about mere nostalgia. What we celebrate most are President Reagan’s great intangible attributes — his forward-looking vision, his deep faith in the essential goodness and wisdom of the American people, and his firm commitment to great ideas and principles. Ronald Reagan saw and appreciated what is best about us. Like a lighthouse beacon reaching every corner of the world, President Reagan projected our nation’s greatness to the rest of the globe“.

Reagan Day creators add “across that globe, in places like Budapest and Warsaw, monuments literally are rising to pay homage to a great man. If former communists in Hungary and Poland can find ways to honor Reagan for his vision and strength in promoting human liberty, then certainly we in New Jersey can do the same”.

So this Wednesday, join us in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey at the Zeris Inn for a celebratory tribute to President Reagan and his accomplishments.

For your invitation click here

or call (201) 602-4468

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“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are:

‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”   ~Ronald Reagan

REAGAN JOKES ABOUT THE SOVIET UNION

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98 YEARS AGO TODAY, RONALD REAGAN WAS BORN

antreaganBookmark and ShareOn this day, 98 years ago, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born.

From the beginning days of his life and throughout his Hollywood career  no one would have imagined Ronald Reagan to be a future President. But fate is much like the American spirit.  It is surprising.

Our spirit is endless and it is the thing stories are made of. Our great American spirit keeps us going and keeps us moving forward despite any and all obstacles.

The American spirit was what gave birth to Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Down and out economically, with double digit inflation and unemployment rates, our nation was in the doldrums. Domestically our financial situation was dire and in an ever declining downward spiral..

Internationally we were in the midst of a Cold War game riddled with Soviet deceit and imperialism. Cuba was in the midst of the Marielle boat lift and Castro was casting tens of thousands of his island nation’s  worst criminals and criminally insane citizenry to our shores.

In the Middle East, fellow American citizens were held hostage as Islamic extremists took control of oil rich Iran and overran our embassy.

We were a people struggling to stay above water while losing jobs, losing money and losing our ability to secure freedom and defend it from communism. We were in disarray and each time we tried to pull ourselves out of the misery index we were in, things got worse. Unemployment would rise a bit more, production would go down and taxes would go up. It seemed hopeless and then on April 24th, 1980 we woke up to the horrific news of a botched attempt at getting our hostages out of Iraq.

In a covert operation, above the sands of the Middle East , helicopters being used in the rescue mission crashed, wounding four American servicemen and killing eight. The mission was aborted and it seemed that America was doomed to depression and failure.

As the year progressed, so did the election for President.  A weak and tarnished President Carter even found himself in a rare challenge for re-nomination by his own Democrat party.

Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy tried to take Carter to task but by the time the Democrat’s national convention took place, it was clear that President Carter would be running for election as their standard bearer.

Republicans had their own race and in it was Ronald Reagan.

Four years earlier Ronald Reagan gave another sitting President a run for the nomination when he challenged President Gerald Ford for the Republican presidential nomination.  Although it started off competitive, Ford did prevail but it set the stage for Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Although George Herbert Walker Bush initially took the wind out of Ronald Reagan’s sails, Reagan ultimately captured the G.O.P. nomination.

Along the way he also captured the attention and imagination of the nation.

At a time when we were down and seemingly out, Ronald Reagan spoke of an America that stood up for itself and stood up to our enemies. He spoke about an America that was once the greatest force for freedom the world ever knew but was now relegated to being held hostage to the whims of the rest of the world and vulnerable to an expansion of communism.

He spoke as to how it should and could be different. He made Americans realize that our people were not doomed, we were simply held back. Held back by of all things, government. Our government, a government consumed by misguided thinking, and a misguided philosophy.

Through debates and speeches and the poor results of Jimmy Carter’s liberal leadership, Ronald Reagan convinced people that they were not the problem, their government was. He convinced them that it was our government’s lack of will to stand up to Soviet aggression which was responsibile for its spread into places like Afghanistan.

He convinced people that it was government’s demonstrated lack of backbone which made our citizens susceptible to Mid East hostage taking.

Throughout the campaign Ronald Reagan allowed people to see that it was our governments overregulation of us antreagan-campwhich killed job markets, reduced income, raised prices, denied effective educations to our children and perpetuated policies of urban decay. He made people understand that it was government which was in our way and that with government out of the way, the American people, and our inherent entrepreneurial spirit, would lift us out of the days of malaise and into a better America, a more secure America, an America that we all knew we could be.

At a time when our spirits were down, like a cheerleader doing cartwheels with the band blaring and the crowd cheering , Ronald Reagan lifted our spirits and out of the lifting of our spirits was born his presidency.

On Election Day Jimmy Carter won the District of Columbia, and the states of Minnesota, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Maryland and Hawaii.  His homestate of Georgia, which he once governed, even turned its back on Carter

Ronald Reagan won the 45 remaining states in the union including the state he once governed, California.

With 489 electoral votes, to Jimmy Carter‘s 49 electoral votes, Ronald Wilson Reagan became the 4oth President of the United States and so began the “Reagan Era” With its beginning came an immediate sense that things were going to get better.

As I watched President-Elect Reagan raise his right hand to take the oath of office, the television network had placed a ticking clock on the lower right hand of the screen. As Reagan began to utter the words to his oath of office, the clock ticked away and just after Reagan was sworn in as President, the clock passed 12 P.M. and it was official. Our Americans hostages were out of Iranian airspace and beginning their journey home. The fear of what a forceful President might do to those involved in holding our citizens hostage was enough to end the standoff.

444 days after having their freedom taken away, it was restored and just like those hostages, America was about to embark upon a journey that would rekindle our spirits, raise our hopes and restore our standing in the world.

It was not easy. Liberals chastised Ronald Reagan every step of the way. They called him a war monger and said he was old and out of touch. They even equated him to the devil.

Some claimed that he was the devil.

They said that his name, Ronald Wilson Reagan, was proof , because just like the numbers representing the devil, 6 6 6, each of the three monikers used in Reagan’s full name were comprised of 6 letters.

The outlandish charges, and innuendoes never dampened the spirit of Reagan.

In regards to criticism of his age, he replied “Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.”

When it came to his aggressive stance against the Soviet Union and the arms build up that he stood for, Reagan said “Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.”

antreagancongr

President Reagan signing the historic Tax Reform Act of 1986 with members of Congress and White House staff present on the south lawn. 10/22/86

Time and time again Reagan knew what to say, how to say it and when to say it.

When his message didn’t persuade Congress his way, he took his case to the people, won them over and called them into action to win their representatives over.

When Reagan took to the airwaves his message created a political army of active citizens who in turn influenced their representatives. It was a process that crossed party lines and even involved Democrat voters. The tens of millions of Democrats involved in this political army became known as Reagan Democrats and Reagan Democrats were everywhere from New York to Michigan and Florida to Texas, Minnesota, California and everywhere in between.

As the Reagan revolution took hold, our economy steadied and grew, inflation dropped, our military was rebuilt, our influence increased and our spirit was restored.  America became a hopeful place once again.

It was not immune from darkness but we knew that no matter what came our way, we could endure and that our best days were still ahead of us.

We also knew that we could not just simply expect everything to come up roses.

Ronald Reagan made us understand that we had to stand up to aggression and that we could not sit idly by and let the enemies of freedom run amuck.  Nor could we let the Soviet Union’s actions go unanswered.

It wasn’t always easy.

In 1983 America deployed peace keeping forces to help stabilize a war torn Lebanon.

After being expelled fromantreaganleb Jordan, members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization took refuge there. What ensued was a constant clash of Christian and Muslim militias.

In 1982 Israel tried to eliminate the PLO and invaded Lebanon to take them on. A cease fire was eventually agreed to and part of that agreement included a peace keeping force involving Italy, France Great Britain and the United States.

For our involvement, today section 59 of Arlington National Cemetery  is lined with 21 of the bodies of the 241 U.S. service members who were killed in their barracks by a suicide bomber.

On the 23rd day of October, 1983 we shed the blood of some of America’s first victims of middle east terrorism.

It was a day that would never be forgotten by the administration and it set in motion a posture that would not allow terrorist action against America to go unanswered.

In 1986 ,after a terrorist bomb in a Berlin nightclub killed two American soldiers was traced back to Libya, President Reagan ordered the bombing of Libya’s capital, Tripoli and the Libyan city of Benghazi.

On the Soviet front, President Reagan brought communism to it’s knees.

His aggressive arms build up forced the “evil empire” into escalating the Cold War to a level that they could not sustain. While this tit for tat game raged on, a rapid succession of deaths at the Kremlin saw the Soviets first lose long serving Communist leader Leonid Breznev in 1982.

Then, two years later Yuri Andropov suddenly died.

Less than one year after Andrpov dropped off, his successor, Constantine Chernenko kicked the bucket.

Following Chernenko’s demise, the old guard decided to turn to someone from a younger generation. Someone who might be able to hold on to life and office for more than a matter of months.

antreagan-gorbyThey turned to Mikhail Gorbachev.

Gorbachev knew his nation could no longer sustain itself by trying to keep up with Ronald Reagan’s arms build up. So he began to enter into meaningful negotiations, which along with Gorbachev’s national reforms of perestroika and glasnost, led to an end of Cold War hostilities and ultimately the collapse of the Soviet Union as we once knew it.

Through it all Ronald Reagan reinvigorated America, put it back on track, spared us from a possible apocalyptic clash between superpowers and helped bring about the end of the Cold War and defeat the evil empire .

But his legacy goes beyond victory over a nemesis. His legacy included a rethinking of the way nations had to confront war.

During his second term Reagan made a request that would revolutionize our approach to nuclear threats. It also was a major factor in the Soviet”s inability to keep pace with the U.S. in the Cold war.

He said “I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”

That statement led to SDI, the strategic defense initiative. Some came to ridicule it by calling it star wars because, at the time, it seemed unrealistic to shoot down missiles before they hit us.

Back then, it may have seemed unrealistic but what once was Ronald Reagan’s thought, is quickly becoming today’s reality.

President Reagan speaking at a White House ceremony for Medical Students from St. George's School of Medicine in Grenada on south lawn. 11/7/83.

President Reagan speaking at a White House ceremony for Medical Students from St. George's School of Medicine in Grenada on south lawn. 11/7/83.

There were several other enduring aspects to the Reagan years.

For instance the Reagan Doctrine.

That ideological policy eliminated the isolationist thinking which prohibited the United States from taking an active roll in eliminating communism.  As we did in Grenada, under Reagan.  

He understood that we need to challenge our enemies before our enemies become too strong for us to stop.

That is a lesson we learned back then but seem to have a problem accepting today.

There were more long lasting, positive effects such as Reagan’s military build up which gave us the ability to properly defend ourselves and to deter aggression aimed at us. But the greatest legacy of Ronald Reagan is probably the lesson he taught us when he made it clear that the American people were not the problem, government was the problem.

He once said “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

antreagan-berlinReagan knew that government had a purpose, and he knew that a government that goes beyond its purpose is a government that is destined to fail its people. And although he did restore our faith in government and the presidency after Jimmy Carter, he helped to restore our faith in something even more important than that, ourselves and our great American spirit.

From his surviving an assasin’s bullets to his speech calling for Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” at the foot of the Berlin Wall, Ronald Reagan was a true world leader and he was ours.  He was an American original and he has helped to keep America strong in so many different ways.

His ability to  restore America to its greatness and to leave us with a blueprint for future success is a gift almost as great as freedom itself and just as a fine wine improves with age, so too will his legacy as history unfolds.

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“Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

~Ronald Reagan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TWIN PEEPS

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

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

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

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