Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Menendez & Torricelli: The Company You Keep

Herb Jackson had an interesting piece in The Record today about Senator Bob Menendez's newest ally as chair of the DSCC: Disgraced former Senator Robert Torricelli. If President Obama was serious about getting the stink of corruption and special interests out of politics, Menendez picked the wrong guy "to be helpful".

Here Jackson discusses Torricelli's recent campaign donations:
The DSCC was the biggest single recipient, getting $135,000. Other recipients included the Bergen County Democratic Organization, which got $44,000; and $10,000 contributed in 2003 to the campaign of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who left office this year facing accusations he tried to sell the appointment to fill President Obama’s vacated Senate seat.

So, Torricelli donated to indicted Joe Ferriero's BCDO machine and indicted Blagojevich. Jackson posted the invite on his blog. One has to wonder if Senator Roland Burris was among the unspecified "Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus".

Folks need to remember that several of those involved with Torricelli in the past pled guilty to illegal campaign activity. Simply stated, Torricelli's campaign contributions don't pass the smell test at this point and haven't for years.

How Menendez, having to fend off his own corruption accusations in 2006, could choose Torricelli as his go to guy in North Jersey is baffling if improving the culture in Washington is actually a goal. At least at first glance, this is simply more of the same money conquers any principle fundraising. Such a shame.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Read the Bill

I realized it's been a while since I last wrote, however a transparency bill has been introduced recently that I hope our Representative Scott Garrett and the rest of the delegation from New Jersey will get behind: H. Res. 554.

Here's the purpose of the bill:

Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to require that legislation and conference reports be available on the Internet for 72 hours before consideration by the House, and for other purposes.

Often is the case that you will see Garrett and other members of the House lament the short amount of time available to review a bill, yet the Resolution only has 1 primary and 4 co-sponsors.

Congress passes legislation almost every day that no one has read, except the staffers who wrote it and the lobbyists who helped them. We've seen it with everything from spending bills to the Patriot Act to the stimulus package. Often complained about by members, neither party's leadership seem willing to embrace the 72 hour practice.

The good people at the Sunlight Foundation are leading the charge to change this with ReadTheBill.org, which supports H. Res. 554. Everyone should be on board with this, because the idea of Congress enacting law without actually reading what they're voting on should be troubling to us all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thoughts on Corzine vs. Christie

So the field is set for yet another very expensive, very nasty campaign here in New Jersey. Governor Jon Corzine against former US Attorney Chris Christie. The gloves definitely came off during Corzine's rally.

Corzine is down in the polls, and it's going to be a heck of a fight. Bad economy, an inherited mess worsened by the Mess, and some high profile issues and missteps (selling the Turnpike?) are working against the Governor.

Christie's biggest problem, aside from the multi-million dollar no-bid contracts, is the Republican brand itself. Biden and Corzine hit on it in a couple ways, but Corzine became impassioned to the point I thought he was going to levitate off the stage when delivering this part of his speech:
Our opponents disagree. They say that government should be small ... Small enough to slip under your bedroom door. Small enough to root for a new president to fail ... Narrow enough to divide us by gender and ethnicity over a Supreme Court nominee ... Self-righteous enough to dictate their own religious beliefs to the rest of us ...on stem cell research ... family planning ... and even science curricula. We must be bigger than that.

Distilled into a few moments, Corzine's delivery of this characterization that Republicans have earned over the last few years was impressive. As part of his effort to pump up the troops, Corzine's personal passion on this point was palpable.

It will be interesting to see how Christie's campaign deals with this earned image of Republicans, and if voters can accept it or not.

Oh , this is going to be fun.

Pictures of the rally in the next couple of days.

Corzine Kick-off

Well,after two hours in the car, I finally made it to West Orange for Jon Corzine's campaign kick-off.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell started the festivities off. She sounded what is likely to be one of the themes of the campaign: Republicans want to implement in Trenton the exact kind of policies and politics voters rejected last November.

7:55 - Not that it's a reason to vote for the guy, but the music is pretty good. Although, for an ice rink it is really hot in here.

8:01 - Bio video has begun. Very cool.

Both coming out now

Biden speaking now. Very strong.

Biden is going over Gov. Corzine's accomplishments. "This is America's Governor".
Corzine has started. He"s thanking everyone for their help. "With great leaders like Joe Biden in our corner we will prevail."

The Party of No argument is being made.

"The only things Republicans have delivered is the worst economic crisis in 80 years."

Wow, he just exploded about the Republican Party.

"I've been a fighter all my life"

More updates coming...