Friday, October 31, 2008

Record for Shulman, Slams Garrett

This was a bit of a foregone conclusion, as the NJ Herald was for Representative Scott Garrett, however, the Record's endorsement of Dennis Shulman was the most harshly worded attack on Garrett I've seen recently.

From the endorsement:

SCOTT GARRETT is afraid. And he wants voters to be afraid. But the only thing voters should fear is Garrett's reelection to the House of Representatives.


There is much work to be done in Washington. Garrett is not the man for the job. He alienates Republicans and Democrats. That is not the bipartisan résumé for a federal legislator.


We acknowledge Dennis Shulman is untested. We do not know how effective he would be as a legislator. But we do know that Garrett's fiscal extremism makes him an ineffective lawmaker. We know that Garrett will vote his personal ideology regardless of the impact on constituents. Voters can be sure that Garrett will represent himself, not them.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Obama Video

I didn't get to see Barack Obama's infomercial until tonight, but thanks to YouTube, it doesn't matter I was on the train. This is pretty much the best political video I've ever seen. If you missed it, here you go:

Garrett's Camp Has Some "Fun"

The campaign of Representative Scott Garrett had some "fun" today by releasing bitingly sarcastic press release. Garrett is calling on Dennis Shulman to return money roughly $168K from a particular donor: Dennis Shulman.

From the release:

This donor heads a long list of questionable donors to the Shulman for Congress campaign, many of whom represent interests outside of New Jersey’s 5th District:

* Playboy Enterprises CEO Christie Hefner
* Ethically-challenged Congressman Charlie Rangel
* Fannie/Freddie Patron Saint Barney Frank
* Scandal-ridden Clinton fundraiser Beth Dozoretz
* Pro-amnesty businessman Roger Berkley
* Eliot Spitzer devotee Marsha Laufer
* Illegal-immigration activist and basement couch surfer Jeffrey M. Hauser

In reality, Dennis Shulman should be thankful he’s not in Congress, because if the tax plan he supports went through, he’d have less money to loan to his own campaign.

It is kind of an amusing way for them to raise the fact that Shulman's raised far less in state money than Garrett, and take a poke at Hauser who has been the chief antagonist of Garrett's people.

Shulman Makes Me Famous

Well, not really.

The campaign for Dennis Shulman put out a very nice video today. I happen to be in a background shot talking with Dennis after the debate in Woodcliff Lake. Take a look:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Rabbi and the Mayor

The endorsement of Dennis Shulman by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to take on Representative Scott Garrett is old news. Here's how they've covered it:


Blue Jersey

Star Ledger

The Record

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Garrett Claims Victory

Surprisingly, I didn't get a press release from the Dennis Shulman campaign after last night's heated debate. However, as one would expect, Representative Scott Garrett has claimed victory.
Congressman Scott Garrett was at the top of his game on Wednesday night in his second debate against Dennis Shulman, hosted by the New Jersey Herald at Sussex County Community College.

Garrett was again able to tout his strong record as a taxpayer advocate, highlighting that he has received the Americans for Tax Reform “Hero of the Taxpayer” award every year he has been in Congress. Additionally, Garrett discussed his commitment to the ideals espoused by Citizens Against Government Waste, as well as the National Taxpayers Union.

Garrett also referenced the negative campaign tactics employed by his opponent, urging audience members to participate in an active listening exercise. “Every time my opponent makes an attack against me put a check in one column,” Garrett said. “And every time you hear my opponent offer a solution, put a check in the other column. I thinkyou are going to hear a lot of attacks but not a lot of solutions from my opponent on important issues that affect all of our families; solutions to thehigh cost of energy, or solutions to high taxes or solutions to end wasteful spending. Tonight, I will provide you with solutions because for the past six years I have been your Congressman I have fought for these important issues.”

True to Garrett’spredictions, Garrett stuck to the issues, Shulman hurled wild accusations. After 60 minutes of debate this evening, voters still do not know where Shulman stands on solutions to high taxes, illegal immigration, the energy crisis, healthcare, or any other number of issues.

Republicans Worried About Garrett

The Politico scoops again (bolding mine):

The National Republican Congressional Committee just put out a calling-all-Republicans E-mail to solicit volunteers to man a phone bank on behalf of ten endangered incumbents.


The following “Top 10 Phone-Banking” campaigns have done a great job of recruiting volunteers, and have collectively made nearly 30,000 connections with voters from the phone-banks in the basement of the RNC:
1) Robin Hayes (R-N.C) – 5,643 calls
2) Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) – 4,922 calls
3) Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) - 4,459 calls
4) Don Young (R-Alaska) – 3,583 calls
5) Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) – 3,437 calls
6) Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) - 3,014 calls
7) Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) – 1,483 calls
8) Jon Porter (R-Nev.) – 935 calls
9) Phil English (R-Penn.) – 868 calls
10) Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.) – 338 calls

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Surprising, Both Claim Victory

One has to love press releases. Not a surprise, both the campaigns of Representative Scott Garrett and Dennis Shulman both claimed victory in last night's debate.

First, from Garrett's campaign:

Congressman Scott Garrett scored a decisive victory in Sunday night’s debate against challenger Dennis Shulman at Temple Emanuel. In the first of three debates, Garrett was afforded the opportunity to share his message of fiscal responsibility and limited government, as well as to refute attack claims made from his opponent.

“I am probably bestknown for my fight against higher taxes and my efforts to control wasteful spending,” said Garrett in his opening statement. “Frankly, I don’t think the government can make better decisions about how to spend your money than you can.”

The debate centered around questions relating to Israel, Iran, healthcare, and the economy.

Fresh from his endorsement by the Express-Times newspaper, Garrett seemed at ease in his role as the favorite to win re-election in the race for the 5th Congressional District.

“As I travel around NewJersey, I meet with families who are concerned about our nation’s economy and future,” Garrett said. “People are worried about their retirement accounts and funding their children’s college funds. I share your concerns and havebeen fighting against the Washington establishment. We need to find new solutions to the problems that face our nation, not the continued failed policies that helped to cause the problem.” Garrett closed with observations about what makes the United States unique.

“This is what makes America different from the rest of the world. We fully embrace the rights of all Americans to pursue happiness and to succeed. It does not matter if you are Joe the Plumber or Joe Kennedy—all Americans have limitless opportunities.”

The second debate in this series will be held at Sussex County Community College on Wednesday,October 22 at 7pm.

And now the Shulman camp:

In the first of three debates, Democratic challenger Dennis Shulman kept incumbent Republican Scott Garrett on defense while scoring the most memorable lines of the evening. Here are some of the highlights from last night and some questions that remain unanswered:

Garrett continued to stonewall on the investigation into whether he is improperly taking a farmland assessment meant for real farmers. Garrett clearly said that his property is used as a "Christmas tree farm." However, Garrett has had to swear to an oath on his official New Jersey farmland assessment papers concerning what he farmed, and he swore that his farm is a "tree and shrub" farm, rather than selecting the "Christmas tree farm" category.

If Garrett is farming Christmas trees over the required 5.20 acres, why will he not invite reporters to visit the estate? Why does he classify the property under the more vague "tree and shrub" label when "Christmas trees" is a clear option on the form? Is it because the casual observer can more easily identify whether 5.20 acres are in fact being used to farm Christmas trees? Most critically -- why hasn't Garrett filed the environmental impact statement legally required for a "tree and shrub farm?"

Garrett refused Dennis' invitation to pledge not to take contributions from the industries he is charged with overseeing in Congress. As a member of the House Financial Services committee, Garrett has taken more than $1,000,000 from banks, insurers, and other special interests he is supposed to be regulating. Why won't he join Dennis in taking this pledge?

In a rare moment of honesty, Garrett defended massive tax breaks for Exxon-Mobile while talking about energy policy. Garrett has taken tens of thousands of dollars from Big Oil, and he has been one of their best friends in Congress. Garrett thinks it is just and appropriate to heap massive tax breaks on Exxon Mobile and the rest of Big Oil despite the record profits these companies are making at the expense of American taxpayers and consumers. Why should Fifth District voters trust a Big Oil crony like Scott Garrett to lower gas prices and invest in a sensible energy plan?

Remarkably, Garrett accused Dennis Shulman of misquoting scripture. During an exchange about healthcare, Dennis accurately recited from Matthew 10( when he said, "Even your scripture, Scott, says heal the sick and cleanse the leper." Why does Scott Garrett think that the government should guarantee healthcare for his family but not yours?

Garrett discussed his radical, out-of-step opposition to embryonic stem cell research. In contrast, Dennis Shulman discussed his dedication to funding all potential cures for disease, invoking his first-hand experiences with patients and congregants. Shulman also chided Garrett for his anti-science views and dismissal of research. How can voters trust Scott Garrett to represent them responsibly when he dismisses unbiased research in favor of extreme ideology? Why won't he support federal funding of stem cell research?

When Shulman discussed Garrett's corrupt ties to special interests like Countrywide Financial, Garrett changed the subject by discussing Senator Chris Dodd's personal mortgage with Countrywide. Garrett has taken thousands of dollars from Countrywide Financial alone, his taxpayer-funded chief of staff is a former lobbyist for Countrywide, and Garrett's economic plan would have expanded the role of disgraced lenders like Countrywide prior to the economic crash that Countrywide caused. Why won't Garrett release a copy of his own personal Countrywide mortgage?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Garrett/Shulman Debate Summary

I'll do a more comprehensive write-up in a little bit of tonight's debate between Representative Scott Garrett and Dennis Shulman, but here's a summary of how I saw things.

Garrett's Best Moment:

Talking about the bailout. This is Garrett's sweet spot and he hit a home run with it. Garrett brought up the fact that we were told the sky would fall if the bailout didn't happen, the bailout happened, and the sky fell anyway. Even when Shulman introduced the idea that AMT relief wouldn't have happened, which is a bit misleading, Garrett handled that as well.

Shulman's Best Moment:

Shulman attacked Garrett's use of "support" toward alternative energy, saying he hadn't voted for it. As I noted in an earlier post, Garrett is the only Congressman from NJ to oppose every effort to increase alternative energy tax credits and funding during the 110th Congress. It couldn't have surprising one vote didn't pop in Garrett's head. Garrett did vote for the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave tacit support to alternatives, while handing $14.5 billion in tax breaks to big oil.

Garrett's Worst Moment:

See above. In a campaign that's been way too personal, the Shulman camp now has the policy video they need to flood the Internet and the airwaves.

Shulman's Worst Moment:

Saying we should expect government waste. Garrett's other sweet spot is railing against waste, that's what people come to expect, and Shulman defending waste won't sit well with those who are furious about waste and what it costs taxpayers. Now the Garrett camp has their video (but I don't know if they had a camera there like Shulman).

Notable appearances, Councilman Paul Aronsohn and former BCRO Chairman Guy Talarico.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Getting Ugly

How bad can the internal polling of Representative Scott Garrett be? In his latest press release, Garrett's camp is bringing ACORN into their attacks against Dennis Shulman. I've thought for a while the McCain campaign has been listening a little too closely to the talk radio blowhards. But for Garrett to descend the desperation path, one really has to wonder what the heck is going on.

The Shulman campaign posted Garrett's release on DailyKos, which then prompted them to get nominated for a fundraising drive. From the release:
Top aide Hauser's work as a lobbyist for ACORN interests has manifested in Shulman's campaign as Hauser actively pulls the strings. It hasn't gone unnoticed that Shulman rarely speaks directly to the press; his campaign message is communicated by Hauser, who cut his teeth as the mouthpiece for ACORN interests.


As a result of Hauser's puppeteering, Shulman has been silent about the concerns raised by ACORN voter fraud during this election. Even as concerns are raised about ACORN's influence in New Jersey, Shulman has not condemned ACORN for their efforts to manufacture voter registrations.

One had to expect this kind of attack, and the Shulman campaign seemed to want this fight over who is employing the worst lobbyist, but come on. ACORN? Really? Personally, Mickey Mouse can sign up to vote all he wants (he wins votes every election), it's up to the County Clerk to validate a registration. The people signing him up should be prosecuted, but if they make it onto the rolls and into the polls that's on the County Clerk.

Where was Garrett's outrage over the voter roll purges of legit voters? Or the fact you can hack the machines we're required to vote on by law? There wasn't any. We've seriously watched this campaign go into the gutter on both sides; but Garrett's camp claiming he's a champion of transparency and accountability in the voting process is ridiculous.

The man voted against re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act; actively supported unconstitutional disenfranchisement efforts while standing silent while the Administration actively sought to disenfranchise voters; and joined a group to argue that hackable voting machines weren't a problem.

Please, Garrett, get off your short horse.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shulman's Sarlo Stumble

PolitickerNJ and the Star Ledger are reporting that State Senator Paul Sarlo is calling for the status of Representative Scott Garrett to be investigated. From the Star Ledger:
"The New Jersey Division of Taxation needs to open an investigation to determine whether Scott Garrett is engaged in a tax evasion scheme to duck his fair share of New Jersey state taxes," Sarlo said in the Shulman campaign statement.
Of all the people the Shulman campaign could have gotten to say this, Sarlo is near the bottom of the list for least corrupt NJ politicians.

First, Sarlo was the patron saint of EnCap, the largest waste of Bergen County and NJ taxpayer dollars in decades. We're talking millions if not billions of dollars wasted; in addition to the use of eminent domain within his own District threatening to take away generations of family businesses.

Second, with the exception of the Lautenberg/Andrews tiff, Sarlo is one of indicted former BCDO Chairman Joe Ferriero's favorite State Senators. He was so close to Ferriero, that his quest for Majority Leader in the State Senate back in November was blocked by reform minded State Senator Loretta Weinberg.

Third, he represents absolutely no one from our District. There are plenty of elected Democrats within the District who could have called for the corruption investigation, maybe even a respected leader like Weinberg. But Sarlo!?!

In what has been a campaign strong enough to make the DCCC's list of top campaigns, this may have been the Shulman camp's biggest stumble. Shulman's had more momentum and money than anyone taking on Garrett, and an unparalleled friendly climate. But introducing Sarlo as a surrogate right before the debates opens up a whole can of worms.

I Once Had A Blog...

Similar to January, things have gone crazy at work (It's 2AM, I just got home) and blogging has fallen by the wayside. It doesn't mean I don't care, it's just that I don't have time.

In spite of this, my readership has grown in recent weeks as people are Googling our candidates here in the Fifth. In a sense, that makes the last two years of blogging seem worth it, as people coming searching for Representative Scott Garrett or Dennis Shulman have a lot of material to base their opinions on.

My next big post will probably be after the debate on Sunday (where are my press credentials?). After that, I can't really be sure.

For my regular readers, I apologize. For the newbies, welcome; you've got a little over 500 posts to look at. You should be caught up by the time I get back in the swing of things.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We Get Debates!

PolitickerNJ is reporting that Representative Scott Garrett and Dennis Shulman will meet for three debates.
The first debate will take place at Temple Emanuel in Woodcliff Lake on Sunday, October 19th at 7p.m. The candidates will debate the following Wednesday at Sussex Community College at 8p.m., followed by a Friday debate on WRNJ radio at 11:00 a.m.

At the very least, I should be at the first one.

Monday, October 6, 2008

How 'Bout That Bailout?

With today's historic sell off, and subsequent continued slump in the Asian markets going on now, one has to wonder what those who sold the bailout are thinking now? I suppose you saw a bit of it in the President's comments, but the bottom line is there isn't going to be some miraculous turnaround.

I'm still glad that Representative Scott Garrett voted against the bailout. Fear and the message that we as a nation can't rise to the challenge of a downturn won the day on Friday. Unfortunately, as today's worldwide market sell off points too, further indebting the American taxpayer without any controls is unlikely to have an impact in the short term. The ugly truth is, there's also no guarantee it will make anything better in the future either. Yet those on Capitol Hill somehow felt it was good to give the people who created this mess even more money to play with.

I realize that Dennis Shulman's campaign is slamming Garrett as being to blame for the crisis, and how people will see it in the long run as it relates to Garrett remains to be seen. The campaign seems to have gotten particularly nasty in the mail on both sides as of late. Shulman attacking Garrett for supporting the flat tax or value added tax; and Garrett's campaign overly darkening a picture of Shulman, apparently blacking out his eyes, falsely claiming that Garrett's plan will lower gas prices immediately. The fact Garrett's even sending out hit pieces at this point makes me wonder what Garrett's polling is showing that he's not ignoring his opponents until late October like previous elections.

Garrett, with his vote against the bailout, stood with his constituents for once. While I kind of doubt voters will blame Garrett alone for the financial crisis, it should be interesting to see how people's moods are in a month when their 401(k)'s still haven't recovered and more of the impact of deregulation is discovered. Just Sunday, 60 Minutes ran a story talking about the $20-30 trillion unregulated credit/default swap shadow market.

It's scary stuff, and this thing is going to get a helluva lot worse before it gets better. At the end of the day we're nearly a trillion more in debt with nothing to show except that our politicians are easily bribed and have little consideration for future generations.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

500th Post: Trillion Dollar Lipstick

Well, the Senate decided to pass the $700 billion dollar rescue package, which according to the CBO is actually a $926.5 billion borrowing spree. It's almost like the Senate didn't bother to look at the report. To use that phrase the Presidential candidates love so much, this is trillion dollar lipstick.

Seriously, are these guys kidding. I realize the AP talks about the "sweeteners" added to the bill for passage, but it seems the Senate (at Wall Steet's bidding) is treating the American taxpayer like children at the mercy of the proverbial pervert offering candy in their pocket.

Wall Street doesn't get that they did this to themselves, and this bailout bill doesn't do anything to fix that. On Monday, after the House vote, the Wall Street entitlement complex was on full display in the press.

"How could this have happened? Is there such a disconnect on Capitol Hill? This becomes a problem because Wall Street is very uncomfortable with uncertainty," said Gordon Charlop, managing director with Rosenblatt Securities. "The bailout not going through sends a signal that Congress isn't willing to do their part."

With all do respect to Mr. Charlop, Congress has loosened regulations for the last 20 years because Wall Street has preached they could handle their own affairs. Exactly who wasn't holding up their end of the bargain? Now, after they couldn't put their house in order they expect the People's House to be their personal piggy bank.

No one can guarantee this action will avert the technical recession most Americans have been in for years. If the problem is that there is not enough capital in the market so that the good actors can go about their business, then the funds should be directed to the good actors. Simply giving money to those who couldn't handle it in the first place puts our nation at a greater risk in the future.

I seriously hope Representative Scott Garrett and those who voted against this bill in the first place have the moral fortitude to stick to their guns and vote no again. I actually hope others who claim to care about deficits join them.

We already spend 30% of our taxes paying down debt. Increasing the amount each man, woman and child in this nation owes by 9% in a single vote, with no guarantee of success, is idiotic. If this thing goes through, with no guarantees except for the wink and nod that things will get better, the share of the national debt of every man, woman and child in this nation will rise to about $36,000.

I don't dispute something needs to be done, but Congress can do better than this. It now rests on the House to return some commonsense to this process. Simply because, more often than not, those in Washington seem to care more for sweets than substance, we the American taxpayer are likely going to be hosed.