If you were the Mayor of a city whose financial position was so precarious the state was overseeing its budgetary process... who was sued by private citizens over a illegal tax lien sale... who gave twenty year tax abatements to developers in a state where five years was the norm... whose hiring of a private company to manage its library was overturned by the courts due to illegal secret meetings and whose school system was taken over by the state... would you think you could run for governor on a message of telling the people you would do to the state what you had done for the city? Well, if you are Bret Schundler, and the state is New Jersey and we are living in the year of our media 2001, it not only can happen - it IS happening.
Right-wing NJ Gubernatorial Candidate Bret Schundler is 'Bushwinking' the Media
If you were the Mayor of a city whose financial position was so precarious the state was overseeing its budgetary process... who was sued by private citizens over an illegal tax lien sale... who gave twenty year tax abatements to developers in a state where five years is the norm... whose hiring of a private company to manage its library was overturned by the courts due to illegal secret meetings... whose school system was taken over by the state... would you run for governor on a message of telling the people you would do to the state what you had done for the city?
Well, if you are Bret Schundler, and the state is New Jersey and we are living in the year of our media 2001, it not only can happen - it IS happening.
Today's front page of the Record of Bergen County declares: "Think tank types touting Schundler." Under the article there is a blurb about McGreevey campaign donations rolling in. So we're supposed to think Bret's the candidate of ideas (good!) and Jim is the candidate of money (bad!). Earlier in the campaign there was an article in which Bret's "easy going" style was compared to Jim's "robotic" one. Sound familiar?
Of course if you read these articles, your blood will run cold because it signals the future of New Jersey politics for many years to come - as right-wing Republicans, with their money, moxie and thirst for power, continue to steamroll the process. Last year, moderate Republican Congresswoman Marge Roukema nearly lost a primary to right-winger Scott Garrison, who was heavily funded by a cadre of extremists.
Grover Norquist, a godfather of the radical right, has come to town to advise and bankroll Schundler. With him, if not in person but in money and spirit, are Jack Kemp, Pat Robertson, Holly Coors, Grace-Marie Arnett, Edison Schools Inc., Bott Radio Network, the New York Conservative Party and Donald Hodel of the Christian Coalition.
The reason I zero in on this part of the story is that the primary campaign was a farce. The Bush regime removed Christie Whitman and set up Senate President Donald DiFrancesco as Acting Governor. New Jersey has no Lieutenant Governor and one person can be both Senate President and Governor. "Donnie D", as he is known, was supposed to be the Republicans' anointed one, but then Bret throw his hat into the ring and suddenly all sorts of information about Donnie D's record of "scandals" in Scotch Plains hit the front pages. (Interestingly enough, a story in yesterday's NY Times Metro section tells us that a member of Bret's staff, one Christopher Lyon, left on Friday just after the attorney general of New Hampshire issued a 300-page report about a smear campaign he orchestrated against a candidate and his wife in last year's Republican Senatorial primary.)
These scandals drove Donnie D from the race; enter Bob Franks, who is immediately given front-runner status as the moderate candidate in a state of moderate Republicans. Or is it? Where are Christie, Tom Kean and the others? In the background, hardly out there beating the bushes (oh dear!) for the moderates against the right-wingers. Was this the set up to show the power of the right-wingers who could beat a moderate in a moderate state? (By the way, don't worry about Bob. He just got a cushy job and they are promising Tom he can run for the Senate after Torricelli is destroyed.)
I will continue to report on the "Bushwinking" of the press (Bush+Hoodwinking=Bushwinking), while I do my best to get Jim's campaign to center their advertising around bringing out the true facts about Jersey City. In fact, I encourage you to write directly to the reporters who appear in the bylines covering this race - I do that and they notice.
I would ask all of you in New Jersey and elsewhere to do the same when these stories appear locally. You can log onto http://www.stopbretschundler.com for updates, or e-mail me at Ketzel926@aol.com or find out more about Jim McGreevey by contacting his campaign at http://www.mcgreevey2001.com.
If we are to begin to thwart the right-wing juggernaut that hijacked the Clinton White House, the 1994 election, our political debate, and the 2000 election, we must start communicating and working together better. Now that we can see the strategy, we must become proactive. I will continue to report from New Jersey.
PS: As I went through my spell check after writing this, it stopped at all names for suggested spelling and changes. For Schundler the change was Scoundrel - hmmmm - does Microsoft know something?
Fair Lawn, NJ
Active LIBERAL Democrat
Councilwoman, Deputy Mayor, County Committeewoman