Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shulman Hits Smith Again (Yawn)

Another bad financial report from a bank has drawn another press release from the campaign of Dennis Shulman attacking Representative Scott Garrett and his Chief of Staff Amy Smith.

Anybody else getting bored with this?

The campaign was handed a couple of very positive high profile pieces done about Shulman lately. Curious readers may go to his site to get to know him better, see where he stands, etc. However, when they get to his site they have yet another one of these press releases. It just seems counterproductive.

I guess my biggest issue with this series is the moral relativism between the type of lobbying Ms. Smith did and that of Shulman's campaign manager, Jeff Hauser. Back when they first started down this road, Shulman was quoted by PolitickerNJ saying the following:

"Garrett puts a high paid lobbyist for the most disgraced special interest in the country in charge of his office, paid for by your taxes and mine, and then he has the gall to attack my campaign manager for working with groups such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United Methodist Church?”

Voters are going to see Garrett hired a lobbyist and either care or not. It has very little to do with the type of lobbyist or who was footing the bill. If they care, chances are they hate lobbyists in general.

Should voters follow the logic above, there's no question when looking at the profile for Bartlett & Bendall that many really are at the center of the housing crisis. However, during Ms. Smith's time there, they also dealt with the film industry (to which I'm partial), Lincoln Center and the Human Rights Campaign (equal rights for gays & lesbians).

One of the things in 2006 that Paul Aronsohn was most criticized for was the fact he told the world how horrible Garrett was, but rarely gave voters a reason to vote for him. This was captured in the NJ Herald, where one voter said something to the effect of "We know he's bad, but tell us why you're good." He never framed himself.

It's early yet, but Shulman's camp seems to be falling into the same trap. Granted, they're saying Shulman won't take special interest dollars from groups in front of his committee; but that leaves everything else on the table. It's just not enough of a difference to make people stand up and say "Hell yeah, I'm voting for that guy."

If Shulman is going to win, he needs to get focused on what he wants to do with the job if he gets it. Otherwise, it's another year; another Garrett victory.

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