Monday, March 26, 2007

Don't Throw Rodney Under the Bus

Here's a lesson for those who may seek a nomination for a State or County office: don't throw a sitting member of Congress from your own party under the bus.

I had great hope for Steve Oroho, a Sussex County Freeholder talking about being a "true conservative" and doing things differently in his campaign for the State Senate in the 24th District. In looking at what Representative Scott Garrett is doing in Congress and how Guy Talarico has hurt the Republican Party in Bergen County, the 24th District having the last remaining Mountain Man as their primary voice in Trenton could be a bad thing. I've written before about the need to work with the other party, and Guy Gregg's philosophy is not one of cooperation. Oroho seems to have a good team and a blend of moderate to conservative candidates on his ticket, with a realistic view of representation.

However, at the first sign of "trouble", the dual endorsement of Gregg by both Congressmen serving the Legislative District he hopes to represent, Oroho decided to descend quickly into the labeling and trashing of Representative Rodney Freylinghuysen. While attempting to discredit Gregg, who is as conservative as Garrett, Oroho attacked Rep. Freylinghuysen on his abortion and gun voting record. It was the classic ridiculousness of the "Republican in Name Only" (RINO) attack that's been going on for the better part of a decade now. However, because Freylinghuysen is who he is, GOP leaders are demanding an apology.
Morris GOP Chairman John Sette and Morris County Freeholder Director Margaret Nordstrom said Oroho "went too far" in criticizing Frelinghuysen after he and Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.) both endorsed Gregg this week.

"He owes Rodney an apology," said Nordstrom. "He should know there's a grown-up way to act if someone doesn't endorse you."

In my hope for a change in the direction politics has been going the last few years, it's an unfortunate development. With State Senator Lorretta Weinberg and her slate running against Papa Joe's machine in the southeast corner of the District, I was hopeful there would be a solid ticket of folks running in the northwestern part of the District against the overly caustic conservative cannibalism that's been going on the last few years.

With retiring State Senator Robert Littell as his guide, who has a distinguished career and record of serving his constituents while practicing bi-partisanship, Oroho could have worked to change the nature of the Republicans' race to the right and change the focus to results instead of rhetoric. However, it doesn't seem that's the case. Obviously, this isn't over yet, but as of now at least it seems to be more politics as usual.


Anonymous said...

Garrett Pulled Rodney In Front of the Bus...

Garrett launched an unprovoked attack against Oroho in the Freeholder primary that Oroho won despite all the money Garrett spent against him. The only reason Garrett had for doing this is self-preservation- pure personal politics- the kind everyone hates. Garrett is now trying to stop Oroho again (from what I am truly not sure) and dragged Rodney out to support a candidate who is having trouble finding a ticket, endorsements and money- just all of the things you need for a campaign.

You can not blame Oroho for once again having to protect himself from Garrett- Rodney got in the middle of a fight his colleague started and then people whine when the Oroho campaign has the audacity to speak the truth and run a good, hard primary.

rmfretz said...

Believe me, for the benefit of the people of the 24th, I'm still pulling for Oroho. His reaction, in my humble opinion, was way off base.

His statement was ill advised, especially since they endorsed his ticketmate and he already has the endorsement of Littell. He could just have easily spun it in a positive light about the diversity of the ticket he's put together and acknowledged as he did, that they've known Gregg longer, making it less about qualification as good form.

Saying Garrett is a friend is the dog that doesn't hunt, because most primary voters know the history. There are enough Republicans in Sussex who are unhappy with Garrett, if not for his politics, then issues relating to his property, as well as his brother and Mr. Solar. Whether that's fair or not doesn't matter, enough people told me about the issues when I was campaigning to know they're issues.

Oroho is still the one to beat, it's just he has to show more composure.