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From Spitzer to Paterson; A Tale of Two Governors and a State That is Screwed

Bookmark and Share  May we have a moment of silence please.

The announcement that Governor David Paterson of New York will close shop on his week old effort to be elected to his first full term as the state’s chief executive warrants a certain degree of reflection.

It is the final note to an Administration that has brought nothing but shame, despair, economic ruin and an unprecedented level of shattered confidence in government in the minds of New Yorkers from Brooklyn to Buffalo.

It started almost four years ago when three term Republican Governor George Pataki took a pass on running for a fourth term and retired. An ill prepared Republican Party had no one in the wings to step in and convincingly argue the merits of continued Republican stewardship of the Empire State. So they went with Dan Faso . After serving for a time as the New York State Assembly Minority Leader, Faso spent a few years becoming known as a perennial candidate for state wide office. His perennial status was earned because of his repeated attempts for statewide office that were followed by his repeated failure to win. But since Rudy Giuliani decided against a run, Republicans had no one to turn to accept Faso.

Democrats however had the shinning star of the Democrat party. State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer spent the previous 4 years going after Wall Street and making a name for himself as a tough, no-nonsense, law and order guy who was looking out for the little guy. A better image could not have been crafted by the greatest of political consultants. So before any nominees were officially chosen, Spitzer’s elevation to Governor was a foregone conclusion. So sure was his victory that Spitzer decided he didn’t need a big name achiever to back him up as Lieutenant. Governor. So he took a different route, one that would allow him to pick a relatively obscure State Senator. He was black, he was blind and he had no real enemies. It was a perfect situation. The handicapped African-American balanced the ticket ethnically and his personal story added a compassionate twist to the campaign.

Unfortunately things are not always what they seem though.

Spitzer was not the tough law and order guy people thought he was and Patterson, well with him, in time people would come to find out why he was a relatively obscure state senator.

About a year into Spitzer’s term, suspicious bank transfers of large sums of money by the Governor, triggered an FBI investigation which eventually found that the Governor was involved in hiring prostitutes and to make matters worse, doing so across state lines, which elevated the nature of his illegal conduct to a federal level. The good thing was that he wasn’t pimping or hiring them for others. He was just illegally hiring them for himself.

The disclosure took the shine off of Spitzer’s image faster than you could say Ashley Dupree, the name of the call girl that had been able to call Spitzer one of her regulars.

Promptly, Spitzer’s rising star fell and his swollen ego burst as he resigned from office and left New York in the hands of his Lieutenant. Governor, David Paterson.

Although Paterson initially had a rather disarming, dry, and amusing, self depredating, sense of humor, he quickly found himself the center of a developing scandal that involved state troopers and their possible leaking of some unsavory information about the new accidental governor. Paterson got out in front of the story though. He publicly announced that at some point during his marriage he and his wife drifted apart and had separate affairs. After a prying media beat the story to death, Paterson and the public came to accept the fact that those personal problems in the past were just that, in the past, and did not reflect on the stability his loving marriage now or his ability to govern.

But then came the job of governing.

This is where Paterson’s humor could not save him.

He quickly became overwhelmed by economic downturns and political strife. On the economic front, Paterson’s answer to everything was to raise taxes and even invent new taxes on things like carbonated beverages. With a state full of people that were already hurting economically, making things tougher for them was not going over well.

Meanwhile, a unique set of circumstances which saw Democrats take majority control of the state senate for the first time in decades, created an internal power struggle that had one New York Democrat State Senator switch parties and give control back to the Republicans. Democrats played a game of locking the senate chamber and for a few weeks no business was conducted. It became apparent to everyone that not only was David Paterson unable to effectively handle the state of state, he could not even control his own Party. In fact because of his Party all business in state government came to a halt.

Finally, Democrats, without the help of Paterson, worked out their own arrangement, the renegade Democrat who switched to the GOP came back home and swore allegiance to the Party he was screwing with.

But this did not stop New York from continuing to take a nose dive.

The state was in an obvious tailspin, Paterson was at war with the state legislature, he was threatening to raise more taxes, cut school budgets and avoid focusing on any relief for overtaxed, underemployed New Yorkers. This did not go unnoticed by the White House, where weary political strategists are concerned with what will prove to be a very tough midterm election year for Democrats. So quite arrogantly, the Obama Administration sent out the word that they did not want Paterson to stand for reelection. Clearly his presence on any Democrat ticket would be a drain not only on their chances of keeping the Governor’s mansion but also on the two US Senate seats up for grabs in the state as well as quite a few highly competitive House races. In his place, the White House wanted popular State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to run.

Paterson rejected the signal and defiantly vowed to run for Governor. On several occasions he even stated that the only way he was being taken out of the office of governor was either feet first in a box or by defeat at the ballot box.

The more time that went by, the worse things got for Paterson. It became clear that Paterson was unable to control circumstances but was instead being controlled by circumstances. Lacking any political appeal, public sense of leadership or political innovation, Democrats throughout the state were asking Paterson to not run. But he persisted.

Then last week, he set up a sparsely attended, low energy rally to announce his candidacy for Governor. The event was held at his alma mater, Hofstra University, on Long Island. The school administration sent memo’s to students, begging them to show up, but in the end, Paterson’s campaign kickoff was more like a wake than a rally.

Still, undeterred, Paterson spent the last week trying to find any kind of momentum he possible could. But before he could look too far, scandal erupted again. And again it involved state troopers.

This time it was reported that one of Paterson’s closets aides had been involved in a domestic assault with his wife. State troopers were involved, and at some point, Paterson was in touch with the close aide’s wife and persuading her to let the situation go and resist seeking any restraining orders against her husbands, Paterson‘s aide and friend..

Unkown to the public, an investigation regarding any inappropriate involvement by the Governor was being conducted and for more than two weeks, it was rumored that the New York Times did have some sort of bombshell revelation about the Governor.

That investigation was apparently part of it and as the Times began to release their bombshell revelation, things quickly unraveled.

Paterson’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety abruptly resigned and issued the following message:

“The fact that the Governor and members of the State Police have acknowledged direct contact with a woman who had filed for an order of protection against a senior member of the Governor’s staff is a very serious matter,”

She added;

“These actions are unacceptable regardless of their intent.”

This announcement came after Paterson apparently admitted to talking to the woman who was the victim of the domestic assault carried out by her husband, Paterson’s confidant. At first Paterson publicly stated that the events in question were not forcing him to end his campaign but that he was going to be meeting with leaders throughout the state and talking the issue over with them.

Within hours, Paterson came back and closed down his campaign for Governor.

But still defiant, Paterson refuses to resign from office, despite calls from many state and Party officials to do so. If he does end up resigning or being charged with a crime, Richard Ravitch will assume the office of Governor.

Ravitch was a whole other story that went all the way to state supreme court.

Apparently state lawmakers, particularly Paterson’s Democrat friends in the state senate, argued that Paterson, having not been elected and only assuming office as Lieutenant Governor, had no power to appoint a Lieutenant Governor. Indeed there was no precedence for the situation. In the end, the state supreme court ruled in Paterson’s favor and Ravitch became Lieutenant Governor and is now on the verge of becoming the third Governor of New York in a little over three years.

So as this saga draws to a close, it does indeed deserve a moment of silence. For the end of a disastrous string of transfers of power, legal battles, power struggles, political infighting and unbridled irresponsibility may finally be put out of its misery.

But there are two things worth noting here.

Despite Democrat’s total control of the state and the illegal conduct, reckless behavior, irrational political power plays and total inability to lead New York, Republicans still can’t get there act together in the state. For too long they have been sitting on their arses waiting for Rudy Giuliani to come in and be coroneted. Well guess what? Once again, Rudy isn’t rushing in to save the day. So the lesson is never allow a party to be build itself around any one individual. The New York GOP has been trying to do that for years with Rudy Giuliani and where has it gotten them? About 20 or more points behind Andrew Cuomo with the likely Republican Rick Lazio.

Lazio is a great guy. He was Hillary Clinton’s opponent in her first race for Senate in New York.

Lazio is a terrific candidate and he has my support and my deepest hope for success. However, the state G.O.P.’s lack of laying down of any ground work, will make defeating Andrew Cuomo, the son of former three term Governor Mario Cuomo, almost impossible. But that’s what happens when you rely on one person, namely Rudy Giuliani, to do it all for you.

The other lesson here is that in addition to leaving the Governors office, as he said, either by ballot or feet first in a box, there is a third option for David Paterson. He could leave the office of Governor with his hands in cuffs……an option that is looking more and more possible with each passing hour.

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Mayor of Newark, New Jersey Tackles Crime One Tweet At A Time

Bookmark and Share  I am not a big “twitter” follower.  I do tweet all of my POLITICS 24/7 blog posts and they are automatically linked to several other sites.  This saves me the time of having to repost them on multiple platforms and it also helps to give POLITICS 24/7 more exposure.  The way I see it, if you want to read my “tweets”, great!   But honestly, I don’t usually get on twitter and read everyone elses “tweets”.

But this morning, just after I posted my POLITICS 24/7 tweet, I noticed that about thirty seconds before me, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey posted a “tweet” of his own.  It stated that he had jut pulled someone over for littering.

Cory BookerCoryBooker:   Just pulled some1 over on elizabeth ave 4 littering. One of the most disrespectful acts u  can do in any community.

I don’t know about you, but I sure do wish I could pull over that a-hole driving in front of me who threw out their candy bar wrapper as it flew back and wrapped its way around my car antennae.  But us unelected civilians, we  can’t do that.  And I would also advise that none of you try to do that.  Especially in Newark, New Jersey.  But Mayor Booker, with his police escort and protection,  can and did.

But I wondered to myself, with all that is wrong in Newark, is something like someone throwing litter out of a car window, worth a Mayor’s time to pull them over, fine them and then “tweet” about it?

Cory Booker is a Democrat and he is seen as a rising star in New Jersey…..a possible candidate for U.S. Senate or Governor.  So I really do not want to compliment the guy.   Odds are, I will be helping  to defeat him, if and when he does run for Governor or the U.S. Senate.  However; I must admit that I think what Booker did, as trivial as it may seem, was a good thing and no waste of time.

You see,  back in the 1990’s, New York City, where I am originally from, was a city in financial and social turmoil.  It was also becoming the crime capital of the U.S..  Every other day there were headlines about another innocent little boy or girl, or a toddler, or one of  their parents, being killed by a stray bullet.   In 1990, New York City saw   a record annual number of more than 2, 245 murders.  Not long after that, when Rudy Giuliani became Mayor, New York began to see a steady and dramatic decrease in all categories of crime, from murder, rape and muggings, to burglaries, auto theft and vandalism.

The hiring of more police, the changing of police tactics and the adoption of broken window policing, all helped to turn things around.  With a zero tolerance policy, Mayor Giuliani mandated the focussed enforcement of  all laws regarding quality of life  issues.  This was part of the  “broken window policing” policy.  The broken window  theory is based on the school of thought that says  if the windows of a building are not repaired, the tendency is for there to be more vandalism in that building and for even more windows to be broken until  eventually, those vandals even break into the building and more serious trouble is born.

So Giuliani and his Police Commissioner set out to repair the little broken windows of crime, the smaller infractions that, if ignored, could turn into bigger infractions and even serious crimes.  

They cracked down on public drinking and intoxication,  subway fare evasion, people urinating in the streets, and the “squeegee men” who would surround your car at red lights slop fluid on the windshield and start  wiping your car window and then demand a buck or two for the unasked for service. 

Ridiculed at first, Giuliani’s crackdown on quality of life crimes worked.

But back in Newark, New Jersey, people there are living in a pre-1990’s New York City.  Stray bullets, rapes, muggings, armed robberies, are all so rampant that the wild west of yester year looks tame and polite by comparison.  For some, the task of trying to make a dent in the existing criminal free for all  in Newark,  might seem overwhelming and it probably is, but you have to start somewhere.

So maybe a Mayor getting out of his car to ticket someone littering their community, is a start.  Maybe the 10 minutes it took Mayor Booker to stop the driver, issue them the ticket and tweet about it, was not a waste of time.  Maybe, just maybe, it is a start to the creation of some sense of decency, civic pride and personal responsibility.  It may only be a very small start, but it is at least a start.

Of course, if tommorow it comes out that at the same time Mayor Booker was issuing his littering summons, just a little further up the block, someone was being killed, the Mayor will be attacked and chastised for his focus on the trivial, but that is just how fate sometimes works.  In the mean time, you have to give Cory Booker credit for trying.

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Kirsten Gillibrand; The Rodney Dangerfield Of Democrat Politics

Bookmark and Share   Kirsten Gillibrand is truly the Rodney Dangerfield of Democrat politics. She just can’t get any respect.

As a little known Congresswoman from upstate New York, Governor David Paterson appointed her to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton when thge former First But Not Only Lady was taken out of the picture after President Obama made her Secretary of State.   Gillibrand was not Governor Paterson’s first choice.  For that matter, Paterson wasn’t even the first choice of New Yorker’s for Governor. He only came into the position when as Lieutenant Governor, he assumed the office because of a sex and money scandal that forced Governor Eliot Spitzer out of office. Since that time Paterson has not exactly been seen as a great Governor. His approval numbers have been in the dumps.

So few were encouraged when he was given the chance to appoint Hillary Clinton’s successor in the Senate. But people were actually mildly excited when word came down that David Paterson was using the appointment to rekindle Camelot.

His first choice for the job was Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of iconic President John F. Kennedy and a true, long time resident of New York.

As the decision was leaked, it initially met with an enthusiastic reaction. Many, including Caroline, even lobbied for her appointment to the seat. But under intense scrutiny, before anything was ever official, Caroline stumbled. She could not answer questions as to why she wanted the job. She also failed to demonstrate any true desire for the job. This did not bode with many Democrats who, before Caroline was mentioned, saw Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the son of former Governor Mario Cuomo, as a top choice for to fill the vacancy.

Then suddenly, Caroline withdrew herself from consideration.

The name game was back on. But could it really end up being Andrew Cuomo?

Had it been Attorney General Anna Cuomo, maybe.

Since the appointment was to replace Hillary Clinton, the rules of politics kind of made this a “woman’s” seat and if low-in-the-polls, acting Governor Paterson betrayed that misconception, he would have had a bunch of bitter, testosterone injected, females holding a grudge against him.

So after much consternation , Paterson made his big announcement and appointed Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to the US Senate.

The question then became who is Kirsten Gillibrand?

Gillibrand was practically unknown.

If Paterson’s qualifications were that the seat go to a woman, who is liberal and in Congress, there is a whole host of more accomplished and well recognized candidates, such as Nydia Velasquez, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Carolyn McCarthy, Louise Slaughter, or former Congresswoman and Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, to name just a few. In fact, till this day the question is still who is Kirsten Gillibrand. She has been in office for just about one year now and all that she has really done is be overshadowed by the domineering, senior senator and media whore, Schmuck Schumer.

And there in lies her problem. She was unknown and largely remains unknown. She has failed to hang her hat on any single issue or make a name for herself as anything special. Without any claim to fame to latch on to, a mountain full of hungry opportunists are just dying to push her out of the way and be king of the hill.

There was talk about several Democrat challenges to Gillibrand. For a while some lesser known names than hers toyed with the idea. Then former New York City Comptroller and the recent Democrat candidate for Mayor New York City, Bill Thompson thought about it. Having come closer to defeating Mike Bloomberg than originally expected, Thompson sees a bright future for himself. But he decided that he will forgo a run for the Senate and probably take another shot at Mayor in four years.

Then there was Eliot Spitzer. Even disgraced Governor Spitzer considered making a comeback by challenging Gillibrand for the nomination. Just about the only person who had not considered was Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Andrew is instead gunning for David Paterson’s job. Cuomo is anticipating defeating Paterson for the Democrat nomination and sailing into the Governor’s mansion.

In retrospect, David Paterson would have been much smarter to have appointed Cuomo to the Senate seat instead of Gillibrand. She was no threat to him. And had he been the Senator instead of her, few would be threatening to challenge him. Unlike Gillibrand, his name ID is high and his favorability rating are sky high.

Without that behind her, any Democrat with a green card and a dream has been looking at the chance of taking Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat away from her.

In fact more Democrats are eyeing her seat than Republicans.

Rudy declined to run and so did several others. Currently, the only Republican name of recognition considering it is former Governor George Pataki and that is unlikely.

Now the latest Democrat to contemplate shoving Gillibrand out of the picture is the cocky and arrogant, Harold Ford, Jr.

Harold Ford, Jr. is a feisty and ambitious fellow from Tennessee. He inherited a seat in congressional that was held by his father for 12 terms. In 2002 he was so sure of himself that he ran for House Democrat Leader against then Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi. Nancy beat him.

After one more term in Congress, Harold announced that he was going to seek the open U.S. Senate Seat from Tennessee. He received the Democrat nomination and proceeded to lose to Republican Bob Corker. Not long after that, he fled his beloved Tennessee, moved to New York City and took up employment as a political insider for the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch.

Now like another southern carpetbagger, Ford is threatening a challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand.

His overtures have not been met positively. After several previous possible challenges to her nomination were averted, the White House stepped in and declared that they are behind Gillibrand and no one else. This ticked off Ford. Apparently he is unaware of President Obama’s Czar-like propensity to tell who is or isn’t running for what. During the summer, the White House clearly indicated that they expect David Paterson to not seek reelection to Governor of New York because of his sagging poll numbers. They are insisting upon the nomination of Andrew Cuomo for Governor.

In the end, Ford will probably not run. He most likely won’t be able to.

You see, for all the disrespect that Senator Gillibrand is getting from fellow New York Democrats and even out of town Democrats, she has raised a campaign war chest of $7.5 million. In just nine months. In just that small amount of time, in office as a US Senator, she has raised the third largest amount of campaign money of anyone in the Senate. Only Majority Leader Harry Reid, and New York’s senior Senator Chuck Schumer has raised more. Harold Ford would have a lot of catching up to do to be competitive with Gillibrand in a primary. Even though she may not be a household name in New York yet, she is a good politician. Supporters claim she is a future President. Allies describe her as an incessant campaigner who never misses a hand to shake or baby to kiss. If true, combined with her money, pleasant demeanor, the power of incumbency and Harold Ford’s Tennessee history and voting record, he would have a better chance at catching a fully prepared catfish dinner for two, right out of New York City’s Central Park Lake than he would at winning a  New York US Senate seat.  At least under these current conditions.

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Who Can Win a U.S. Senate Seat For Republicans In New York?

Bookmark and Share    In 2010, along with a race for Governor, New York will be electing two United States Senators.  Chuck Schumer’s term is up and a special election to fill the remainder of Hillary Clinton’s unexpired term will also be held. Currently Ronald Lauder For Senatethe seat is occupied by Kristen Gillibrand, an Upstate Congresswoman who Governor David Paterson appointed to fill the seat until the 2010 special election is held. Unless a very possible primary challenge to Gillibrand materializes, she should be the Democrat nominee for the seat.

As for Chuck Schumer, he will certainly be renominated by state Democrats, even if he is challenged for the nomination. Any opposition to Schumer in a Democrat primary will be token at most.

Less definite right now though, are the strong candidacies of any two viable Republican nominees to run against either Schumer or Gillibrand. Former Governor George Pataki is considering running for one seat and the state’s other most prominent Republican, Rudy Giuliani is mulling over a run for Governor. So at the moment, both Republican U.S. Senate nominations have no viable, declared candidates as of yet. And even if George Pataki does decide to take the plunge and run, that still leaves the other nomination open.

Although there are many good New York Republicans that could make great United States Senators, none other than Rudy and Pataki,really have the name ID and financial resources to make a truly competitive run for it. People like Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos is one person certainly good enough for the job . Long Island Congressman Peter King is another name but after citing his own inability to raise the kind of money needed to be successful, he recently announced that he will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

There are several other names with the ability but a lack of either name ID or campaign financing abilities or both. So what are New York Republicans to do?

I think the state G.O.P. should recruit a man who could just make things interesting. Very interesting. He has campaign experience, conservative credentials and deep pockets. His name is Ronald Lauder.

Ron Lauder is the son of Estee Lauder, the founder and creator of famed Estee Lauder Cosmetics. Initially schooled in the U.S., he attended the Bronx High School of Science and went on to graduate from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Bachelors degree in International Businesss. Soon after, he took up study at the University of Paris and the University of Brussels where he received a Certificate in International Business.

Lauder began working in and on the family business in 1964 but by 1984, studies, interests and eventually experience in other areas propelled him to a position in The Pentagon as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO policy.

In 1986 he became the U.S. Ambassador to Austria and in 1989 Ron Lauder ran for the Republican nomination for Mayor of New York City. In a city which is overwhelmingly democratic, that nomination usually isn’t a hard fought one to get but in 1989 a young prosecutor by the name of Rudy Giuliani was also running.

Rudy was well known but his policies were not and with Ron Lauder in the race, Rudy was forced to make his positions clear and earn every vote from  New York Republicans  for the right to run as their nominee. Ultimately Giuliani won but in that race, Ron Lauder introduced many innovative policy alternatives for New York City.

Since then, Ronald has continued with his civic minded service to New York. He became Chairman of New Yorkers for Term Limits and in 1993 he led the successful term limits referendum campaign in New York City, which at the time was one of the most significant achievements in the national term limits movement. In 1994, Ronald waged successful term limits campaigns in 11 other towns across the New York State. And in 1996, he again won at the ballot box, successfully turning back an effort by incumbent politicians to repeal New York City’s term limits law.

Beyond his civic political activities, Lauder is a patron of the arts and a leading figure in the recovery of lost art from the Nazi period. This mission stems from Lauder’s deep commitment to his heritage. It is a commitment that has earned him leadership in several national and international Jewish organizations, including his election to President of the World Jewish Congress, a position he won by a large margin in a race against several other leading world figures.  As WJC President, he has met with a number of heads of state and governments, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Pope Benedict XVI, the President of Italy, and the leaders of Hungary, Austria and Switzerland.

In addition to his commitment to Jewish causes Lauder has an innovative network of business enterprises in a mosaic of philanthropic and professional endeavors that reaches around the world and through it, he is dedicated to long-term, free market investment in Eastern Europe and former Soviet countries as they continue to emerge from communism.

In truth, there is a great deal more that is worthy of mention when it comes to Ron Lauder’s achievements and humanitarian efforts. Too much to actually detail here in full. But suffice it to say, from the establishment of a foundation that makes student exchange programs possible, to the construction of educational institutions, and everything else already mentioned, Ron Lauder has a record that surpasses the accomplishments of either Chuck Schumer or Kirsten Gillibrand. It is also a record that is likely to be unsurpassed by many other potential Republican candidates for senate.

If the New York G.O.P. really wants to make a run for at least one of the two senate seats up for grabs in 2010, if they can get Ronald Lauder, they could have a shot.  With Lauder they’ll have a candidate that has established relationships with world leaders, experience in foreign affairs and defense policy,  campaign experience, strong conservative credentials, and a  knowledge of and appreciation for free markets. He also has a heart of gold and pockets lined with gold too.  It should also be noted that as a leading Jewish figure, Ron Lauder could make significant inroads with the Jewish community which is a substantial core constituency of the New York Democratic Party.  But beyond his appeal to constituencies that normally vote Democrat, Lauder is one of the few Republicans who would not have a  problem raising the money for a competitive race and his wealth of experience and resume would make him one of the most knowledgeable and formidable candidates that Republicans could run for senate in any state.

Given all that, I can also tell you this. Ronald Lauder is tenacious but compassionate. He is sensible and studious and he is not a man who can be bought. He has no reason to sell out on any issue and he doesn’t need to make a name for himself.

I know.

Ron Lauder’s run for Mayor back in 1989 was the very first campaign I was hired to work on and having worked with Mr. Lauder I got to appreciate him both as a candidate and a New Yorker.

Running against Rudy was a tough first time race to be in but Ron Lauder proved to me then, that a man who stands up for his principles never loses. In that race, Rudy may have won the nomination, but Ron Lauder won a special place in my heart and earned my respect . New York Republicans would be wise to get Ron Lauder to carry their banner and New York State would be lucky to have him represent them in the United States Senate.

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President Stirs The Pot In New York and Takes Sides In Race For Governor

Bookmark and Share    President Obama spent the day in New York. With a scheduled appearance at opening ceremonies of the United Nations general assembly, the President made the most of his time in the state. He had a scheduled speech on the economy in upstate New York, a private reception, his appearance at the U.N. and finally, President turns on Governoran appearance on the David Letterman Show in the old Ed Sullivan theater.

On Letterman he will continue to make his pitch for government control of health management and care but so far, of most interest is not his appearance on Letterman or his appearance at the U.N.. The most interesting part of the President’s New York field trip hasn’t even been what he said as he delivered a speech on the economy which discussed making investments in education and research. What is most noteworthy on this trip are the telling signs of a President trying to make sure that the wheels don’t fall off his bandwagon as the 2010 midterm elections approach.

After reports that the President wants New York Governor David Paterson to drop efforts to keep his job surfaced on Sunday, signs of that desire revealed itself even more on Monday.

Before delivering his speech in Troy, New York, President Obama began by acknowledging the presence of dignitaries in the audience. He stated, Governor David Paterson is in the house and went on to simply say “he’s a wonderful man”. That statement was quickly followed by the mention of State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s presence. But unlike with Paterson who President Obama called a wonderful man, in referencing Cuomo, the President went into a glowing description of Cuomo which included statements such as “ he is doing great work for the people of New York”.

With Paterson mired in plummeting poll numbers, Andrew Cuomo is seen by the White House as a much better name to head up the Democrat ticket in New York next year. Reports claimed that the President so much as sent that message to Governor Paterson, who when asked if that was true, responded that he has spoken to the White House but will not reveal the details of any private conversations. Paterson did add that he was running for Governor regardless of any speculation.

The fact that the White House would step into a developing intra-party battle for a nomination is not a normal occurrence. Even more unusual here is the fact that David Paterson is one of only two African-American governors in the country. The sensitivities of that fact would normally prompt praise and encouragement, especially for a man who took the reigns of control after a scandal that rocked New York.

The uniqueness of the White House’s attempt to push Paterson out can only be due to fears that the upcoming 2010 midterm elections are going to be devastating to the administration and the Democrat Party nationwide. Not only is there the risk of losing seats in the House of Representatives but there exists a great risk of losing several seats in the U.S. Senate. Most prominent of all being the election to fill out Secretary of State Clinton’s New York Senate seat.

That seat is currently being kept warm by the Kristen Gillibrand, the hand picked choice of Governor Paterson. Her maintaining the seat could be in jeopardy if a Cuomo vs. Paterson primary for governor took place. Such a race could prompt a primary for the Democrat nomination against Gillibrand and her being seen as Paterson’s candidate will not help her win.

Another factor that would come into play if Paterson were to primary Cuomo is race. Many African-Americans could split their support and if Paterson were to lose, there is the risk that many African-American voters would hold Cuomo responsible for that loss and stay at home during the general election. That would severely suppress the vote totals for Democrats in all races for Senate and Congress, thereby allowing viable Republican candidates the chance to pull together higher vote totals than their Democrat opponents.

All of this obviously deeply concerns President Obama. So much so that he is throwing Governor David Paterson under the bus and taking unprecedented steps to stop the hemorrhaging that they expect in 2010.

With no comment from the President on what he did or didn’t tell Governor Paterson, the President’s effusive praise of Cuomo and tepid acknowledgment of David Paterson said much more than his words.

If that was not enough of a sign that the President wants to push Paterson out of office, after his speech on the economy the President held a private reception. Invited to it was Andrew Cuomo. Conveniently not invited was Governor Paterson.

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NOT ALL OF THE ESTABLISMENT IS BEHIND CHRISTIE

Bookmark and Share    Former Assembly Republican leader Paul DiGaetano will be endorsing Steve Lonegan for the Republican nomination for Governor.
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PAUL DiGAETANO

The announcement is to take place on Wednesday, February 4th and although it may not change the race to any drastic degree, it is significant.

As a former assemblyman and leader of the assembly, Paul DiGaetano has been there and done that. He has been a part of the establishment and he has fought the establishment. He knows where the bodies are buried and who buried them and he knows what it takes to be a Governor.

DiGaetano ran against Lonegan for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2005 yet the past rivalry has apparently not left DiGaetano with any ill will. Instead , the formal rivals will be joining forces.

Although he does not currently hold elected office, DiGaetano‘s endorsement is significant.

While much of the New Jersey Republican establishment is lining up behind Christie, much like they did with Rudy Giuliani for president, the more established names that Lonegan has on his side, the better.

Right now, it is easy to come out and declare your support for Chris Christie. He has some name I.D. and an established reputation for crime busting. He looks like a winner but he is still untested and a clean slate as far as where he stands on the issues. The groundswell of establishment support for Christie before he even made his candidacy official has been embarrassing and could be detrimental to our chances of winning in November.

POLITICS 24/7 has consistently suggested that we allow the candidates for the Republican nomination for Governor to earn the nomination and to state their cases and prove who will be best to carry our banner in November.

Yet despite the unknown issue positions of former federal prosecutor Chris Christie, incumbent Republican elected officials are rushing to endorse him.

Chris Christie just might be the right man for the job. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have heard a lot more about Steve Lonegan’s positions on the issues and I know a lot more about his thinking than I do about Christie’s.

So all things considered, even though it may be early to endorse any candidate for the nomination, I can easily understand why someone would come out to endorse Steve Lonegan at this point in the game.

Lonegan has made it clear that he is a candidate of change. A candidate who will get government back on track and back to basics. He has also made it clear that he is not afraid of the conservative label and conservative solutions to our problems.

Chris Christie has yet to let us know if he stands for change and he has yet to demonstrate whether or not he intends to water down a conservative approach to government.

So we can understand Paul DiGaetano’s early endorsement of Steve Lonegan for Governor.

Lonegan is not a blank slate and he has already put forth a plan that people can get behind. Christie has a long way to go before the same can be said of him.

The DiGaetano endorsement of Lonegan is a surprise and it could be the beginning of an upset in the making.

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STEVE LONEGAN

In 2008, New Jersey Republican county chairs and elected officials began lining up behind the candidacy of Rudy Giuliani for President. That helped to essentially make our earlier than normal presidential primary inconsequential. Their solid support for Rudy, combined with the high cost of running statewide in New Jersey and the winner take all delegate rules that they created, made New Jersey a state that would not have been worth the time and investment of any of the other candidates.

It just so happened that the establishments early support for Rudy didn’t matter anyway. By the time the New Jersey presidential primary rolled around, Rudy was out of the race.

Perhaps the Republican establishment should learn a lesson from that little experience and let the candidates work for our support rather than have us kiss their rings and give away the ranch.

Perhaps they should take a lesson from Paul DiGaetano and give their support to someone who has been giving us a reason to support him.

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ARE REPUBLICANS ROLLING OUT A RED CARPET OR WAVING A WHITE FLAG?

Recently, State Senator Sean Kean (R-Monmouth) and Assembly members Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean) and Dave Rible (R-Wall) endorsed Chris Christie for the Republican nomination for Governor.

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State Senator Sean Kean

I normally find myself in agreement with those lawmakers, usually.

 

However in this case I do not approve of their premature endorsement of a candidate who not only hasn’t articulated his positions on the issues facing the state but is not even a declared candidate for the nomination.

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Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini

New Jersey Republican leaders seem to be yearning for a savior. So much so that I believe they are willing to throw out the baby with the bath water.

In their intense desire to win an election they seem to be placing little importance on the principles that we need a Governor to bring to Trenton along with their victory.  On top of that thinking being wrong based upon its shallowness, it also ignores a basic truth.  It ignores the fact that our party should not be built around any one individual.  It should be built around our principles and the ideas that Republixcans bring to the table.  Rather than focus on one person to lead us to victory, Republican legislators should be providing Trenton with the ideas that could win the day for us.  Without those ideas, there is no need to win.  So I suggest that Republican elected officials focus on that job.  Focus on bringing change through the legislative solutions they propose.  I want them to do their job and let the candidates running for governor do their job.

Assemblyman David Rible

Assemblyman David Rible

Once the candidates  have done so, or at the very, least begun to do so, then come out and endorse one of them.  Don’t just endorse someone for political expediency.  Have some sincerity in purpose.  Endorse someone for their ideas, their thinking, the direction they propose to take us.   Not for their name. 

 

I want to know these things before I approve or reject his candidacy. I want to know where he stands on issues before we say….”here take our nomination, take all that we believe and do as you wish with it to become Governor”.

With Republican elected officials simply endorsing Christie before he has stated a position on any issues or even become a candidate, they are not helping matters. They are simply saying, “we don’t know what you stand for but we need you”. That type of courtship does not help us build a strong ticket for Governor in November. In fact it could lead to trouble.

 Years ago when New York was my political arena, before becoming the Republican nominee in his second attempt to become Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani told me that losing against Dave Dinkins the first time around, taught him a lot.

You see, the first time he ran, Rudy expected Republicans allover the nation, to roll over and roll out the red carpet for his candidacy. At the time he felt that Republicans needed him more than he needed Republicans. That wasn’t exactly the case.

 

While waiting for Republicans throughout the city to come and kiss Rudy’s ring, another Republican courted them for their support. With money and conservative opinions, Ronald Lauder garnered enough support to wage a strong primary battle against Rudy. It was a battle that probably caused Rudy to lose the election by one percentage point

Potential republican Nominee for Governor, Chris Christie

Potential Republican Nominee for Governor, Chris Christie

Instead of making his rounds and earning support from the party whose nomination he wanted, Rudy felt that it was incumbent upon them to come to him.

Not all of them did.

Many felt at home with the more conservative candidate who respected them enough to ask for their support, not expect their support.

Had Rudy maintained a little humility and earned the support of all Republicans, he may have avoided the bloody and expensive primary battle that he found himself in and by avoiding that battle he might have won the war and been elected mayor four years earlier than he was. In fact he probably would have been able to serve three terms instead of the two he was limited to by the term limits which voters adopted in the same election that finally saw Rudy win City Hall.

Four years after losing the 1989 mayoral race, Rudy admitted that the way he conducted himself, the first time, was inappropriate. He told me and a couple of county chairmen that he learned his lesson and that he knew he needed every Republican as much, if not more than they needed him.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

With that lesson learned, Rudy went on to win the Republican nomination for Mayor with ease and ultimately became one of the greatest mayors New York has ever known.

Now, here we are in New Jersey and another famed prosecutor is on the verge of saving Republicans from defeat.

If Chris Christie believes like Rudy did in 1989, Christie could find himself in the same position as Rudy.

With some Republican elected officials simply endorsing Christie before he has stated a position on any issues or even become a candidate yet, they are not helping matters. They are actually saying, “we don’t know what you stand for but we need you”. That type of courtship does not help us build a strong ticket for Governor in November. It simply helps to create an arrogant  mentality in Christie that allows him to believe that we owe him the nomination and that the job of Governor is his merely because he may want it..

Truth is, we owe nothing to Chris Christie other than our thanks for his undeniably successful tenure as New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney for the past seven years.

So stop wooing Chris Christie. Let Chris Christie start wooing us, the voters. Let Chris Christie join the other official candidates and earn our support.

The most recent example of Republican leaders hastily rushing to endorse someone, long before the primary election for a Republican nomination took place, was at the end of last year, when hundreds of Republicans from county chairmen, mayors, freeholders, councilmembers and state legislators rushed to endorse Rudy Giuliani for President.

We all know how successful that was.

So stop trying to part the sea for Chris Christie. We need to let him articulate his positions on the issues and demonstrate why he would be a better Governor than Richard Merkt, Steve Lonegan, Brian Levine or any other potential nominee.

A good start for Christie would be to stop stalling. The longer he waits to make a decision, the more suspect people become. They begin to wonder, does he want the job bad enough? Is there some closeted skeleton that is making him apprehensive about running?

Whatever the answer, Christie needs to make it official, one way or the other.

Until then, I suggest that everyone stop hoping that Chris Christie can walk on water. Stop making him believe that he is the best thing since sliced bread merely because he is Chris Christie. Help us win back New Jersey so that we can turn things around. Help strengthen our ticket in November by making Chris Christie put his very best foot forward and earn the nomination that he may want.

We are not helping ourselves by rolling out a red carpet for Chris Christie while waving a white flag of surrender for what ,we as Republicans, stand for.

We need to let Christie articulate his positions on the issues and demonstrate why he would be a better Governor than Richard Merkt, Steve Lonegan, Brian Levine or any other potential nominee. We need to make sure that Chris Christie represents the Republican ideology and approach to government that we stand for.

So before Republicans officials hand over our mantle to someone, let them prove themselves to be worthy of holding it. Let the candidates campaign for the nomination so that the right ideas may help win day rather than just some empty suit with a well known name.

 

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Q. How many Libertarians does it take to change a light bulb?

A. None, the market will take care of it.

Q. Why did the Libertarian cross the road?

A. To start his own country.

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AS ONE DOOR IN NEW JERSEY CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS?

US Attorney Chris Christie has made it official. On December 1, he will step down from his post as New Jersey’s prosecutor. His departure from the post will be missed. During his past seven years of crime busting, Christie did more to positively effect the state than did the tenures of Govenor Jon Corzine and his predecessor Jim McGreevey.

Chris Christie Resigns from US Attorney's Office and Becomes GOP's Hope For Electing A Governor
Christie Resigns from U.S. Attorney’s Office

 

 

Elected officials from local townships to county governments and from state agencies to state legislators were indicted, found guilty and arrested. Democrats and Republicans alike, suffered the consequences for wrongdoing rooted out by Chris Christie. And there were many.

Knowing that there is so much corruption in our state is a sad state of affairs. But such corruption is a natural result of a state where the largest source of employment is government. Despite it’s small size in landmass, and being one of the smallest states in the union, it has 21 counties, and 566 municipalities. Some of these local towns consist of as many 274,000 people and as few as 20. On top of that exists the all encompassing, cumbersome state government.

All these governments make corruption quite a lucrative endeavor. The growing amount of governments allows patronage to pile up as so many people have the opportunity to create inconsequential posts that they can hire relatives for. The numerous governments creates the opportunity for numerous contractors to offer so many government officials and employees special favors for the inside track on a “government contract”. The system simply breeds corruption and the people pay for it on top of the price for running the prolific preponderance of governments that make corruption so popular.

Short of mandating a consolidation of governments and reducing the number of “governments” in the state, not much can reduce this rampant scope and popularity of the governmental culture of corruption.

But as the US Attorney for the district of New Jersey, since December 20, 2001, Chris Christie provided New Jerseyans with reasonable justice and a relieving sense of corrective adjustment to a system that is weighed against the working class and in favor of the governing class. On the very day that Chris Christie announced the date of his resignation , a jury found a Democrat State Senator guilty on all the charges that Christie brought against him. The timing only helped to accentuate the positive effects that Christie’s leadership has brought to New Jersey.

But is Chris Christie’s resignation as US Attorney for New Jew Jersey really a loss for New Jersey?

Christie’s leaving one office could mean entrance into another…..the Governor’s office.

With the state in the midst of an affordability crisis that seems only to be worsening, New Jersey is looking for leadership. More than 65% of the population feels the state is on the wrong track and the poll numbers show that only 43% of the state inhabitants approve of Governor Jon Corzine while 46% disapprove of him. In the same poll 51% of respondents feel that Corzine should not be reelected.

This all indicates, that at this point, New Jersey wants “change”.

That makes it seem that the GOP has a great window of opportunity to climb through during the year leading up to next November’s state elections. But such is not the case as of yet.

Having no major media market of it’s own, New Jersey is stuck in between the most expensive and the third most expensive media markets in the nation, New York and Philadelphia. So reaching out to the whole state requires one to go through Philly in the South and New York in the North. This makes running a statewide campaign in Jersey quite expensive and money is something state Republicans don‘t have. This goes especially for the Governor’s race where incumbent Jon Corzine has spent tens of millions of his money in previous races. As a Wall Street millionaire he has the money and doesn’t have a problem trying to raise the funds to compete.

On top of that, state Republicans have not helped themselves. They have failed to provide any believable, appealing alternatives to those offered by Democrats.

They have also failed to provide any leader who inspires a sense of optimism and positive change.

State Senator Jennifer Beck

State Senator Jennifer Beck

State Senator Joe Kyrillos
St. Sen. Joe Kyrillos

There are a number of Republicans inside and outside of the state legislature who are promising and could provide the party with the infusion of innovative ideas and inspirational voices that we need. People like State Senator’s Joe Kyrillos and Jennifer Beck. Former Assemblyman Paul DeGaetano is another and so is Morris County Freeholder John Murphy. Of those four, I am confident that Jennifer Beck will some day be our Governor or one of New Jersey’s two United States Senators but that is not so for this coming race.  Time is needed for Senator Beck  to establish herself. But for now, the greatest reason why none of these four  will emerge as a likely candidate for governor in ’09 is money and name identification. The disjointed access to media in the state makes their names less than household names in the south and to become well known would take millions of unavailable dollars to their campaigns.

Assemblyman Richard Merkt
Assemblyman Richard Merkt

Regardless of the odds stacked against them one little known Assemblyman has declared his candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Assembly Richard Merkt made his intentions known for a few months now and although his voting record is conservative oriented, he still lacks the innovation of ideas that inspires anyone. The same goes for former and potential GOP candidate for the nomination Steve Lonegan.

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Former Bogata, NJ Mayor Steve Lonegan

Lonegan’s ideas are quite conservative and he has a truly consistent conservative approach to government. But that in and of itself is a problem. Openly conservative candidates do not go over well in New Jersey. Especially under funded, conservative candidates. Like many other potential candidates, Lonegan is severely hampered by the lack of financial resources that will be available to him.

That brings us back to the beginning. What alternatives does New Jersey have to the current menage~a~tois between the Democrat governor and Democrat controlled state senate and assembly?

By losing Chris Christie in the corruption busting crusade to change government from the outside, he may now be the best person for Republicans to use to change government from the inside.

He has the name id that others would need to raise tens of millions of dollars to achieve.

He has a reputation of success, taking on government and government officials and for nonpartisanship.

All of this appeals to Jersey’s very large and crucial independent voting bloc and gives him a leg up.

If Chris Christie were to declare his candidacy for governor, for the reasons mentioned above, he would be a figure that people would automatically have reason to rally around.

If he ran on a platform of reform he could be one of the most effective candidates to do so, that the state has ever seen. Christie could discuss reform of the culture of government and corruption. He could call for the outlawing of the dual office holding which consolidates power and increases the opportunity for corruption. He could preach the virtues of reforming many of the practices that have led to illegal conduct in government that he prosecuted. He could promote the consolidation of municipal governments so that we reduce costs and reduce the opportunity for hundreds of governments to be corrupt.

Add to this other reforms such as those to our state’s economy, it‘s contract negotiation process, future pension plans, property taxes, education funding, infrastructure development and you have an agenda of reform that offers real hope to a state populations that wants change.

I do not know where Chris Christie stands on these issues. As a Republican I would hope that he believes in many of the ideological principles that make me a Republican. I would hope that he would want to reform New Jersey’s anti business atmosphere of over taxation which reduces job opportunities and growth. I would hope that he is willing to cut spending by reducing ineffectual programs, the size of government and it’s overabundance of government employees. I would hope that he understands that New Jersey is unaffordable to live in and that taxes must be cut in order to alleviate that problem.

Until I know where Christie stands on these issues, I can not say that he has my support. Besides he has not yet made his intentions known or announced his candidacy. If he does make such an announcement and runs for the Republican nomination, I hope he makes his ideological philosophy clear. Part of the reason for the failures of other recent statewide Republican candidacies is due to their unwillingness to distinguish themselves from Democrats. They have felt a need to go along to get along and it has not worked. There are plenty of Democrats to choose from in New Jersey and given the chance, residents of the state will choose a Democrat acting like a Democrat over a Republican acting like a Democrat on any given day.

With the reputation that he has already established, Chris Christie can offer conservative oriented initiatives and they can be well received. Unlike Steve Lonegan whose conservative philosophy is shadowed by a right wing image problem, Chris Christie has a more independent, nonpartisan image that can make any right leaning initiatives, that he offers up as reform, more palatable and acceptable to a liberal oriented electorate. Chris Christie is the only possible candidate who can do that at this point in time.

There is another potential candidate out there though.

John Crowley has a remarkable story. One so compelling that books have been written about it and actor Harrison Ford will be playing John Crowley in a movie about him.

Bio Tech Millionaire John Crowley
Bio Tech Millionaire John Crowley

Crowley started his own bio tech business here in New Jersey. He started it not for profit but for survival. Survial of his new born children who were diagnosed with a rare and fatal disorder called Pompe disease. There were no treatments for the disease and since it was so rare, the pharameucitical and science industries did not bother with trying to find a cure. So began Crowley’s creation of a bio tech company that raced time to discover a cure.  To date the company he statred to keep his children alive has done just that and his childrens lives have been extended as the treatments so far established have allowed John Crowley’s kids to ward off the worst of the disorders effects.  There were many ups and down that the Crowley family took to get to this point but determination and clear thinking got them this far.

Now a multimillionaire, Crowley has pockets almost as deep as Governor Corzine. This gives him the chance to develop name id and possibly mount a competitive race against Corzine. He almost ran for US Senate against Frank Lautenberg but passed that up. Now he has expressed some possible interest in the race for Governor.

 Although his financial situation might make Crowley viable, and his story is remarkably inspirational and proof oh his determination, where he stands on the issues is yet to be known.

The unknown positions of both Christie and Crowley prohibit me from leaning to one or the other and it should also prohibit others from doing so too. The way it currently stands, conservative Steve Lonegan has my initial philosophical support. But philosophical support is meaningless. It means as much as a Governor who has the right philosophy but can’t implement that philosophy into the application of government. My philosophical support must translate into tangible support. So should Crowley or Christie articulate ideological lines of thinking similar to Lonegan and an ability to implement them, they could easily win my physical support.

This makes declaring their candidacies as soon as possible, quite important.

New Jersey Republicans need to choose our gubernatorial nominee carefully and we need to close ranks around that nominee as quickly as we can. So the debate must begin and in order for that to happen we need to know who the debate is between and what the players stand for.

The most important declaration of candidacy happens to be Chris Christie’s. Many other potential candidates are awaiting his decision. If he runs, many others will bow out. If Chris Christie does not run, the field will fill up fast. Promising candidates like former candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Freeholder John Murphy may just go for it again. His spirited, fresh faced, energetic, Trenton outsider image could shake things up quite a lot.

Freeholder John Murphy

Freeholder John Murphy

In any event, Chris Christie is holding the greatest promise of hope for New Jersey. His crime busting reputation could be the making of New Jersey’s version of what Tom Dewey was to the state of New York and what Rudy Giuliani was to New York City………squeaky clean politicians who are reform minded, and inclined to creating prosperous governments that improve the quality of life for all it’s citizens.

That’s how it could be and if it is to be so, Chris Christie must first make intentions known quickly. The first week of the new year should be the latest for that decision.

Should Chris Christie decide to go for it then he must not be afraid to preach the Republican principles that have, more often than not, reformed government for the better.

Republican defeats have forced Republican candidates to sound like Trenton Democrats. Doing so has only helped to increase Republican losses at the ballot box. Chris Christie is poised to turn that all around but only if he leaves no doubt about his Republican inclinations and no doubts about his desire for the job.

punchline-politics21

A little girl asked her father, “Daddy? Do all Fairy Tales begin with ‘Once Upon A Time’?”

He replied, “No, there is a whole series of Fairy Tales that begin with ‘If elected I promise’.”

 

 

 

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