What happened to the old John Adler?

While every one of the state’s five Republicans marched in lockstep with John Boehner and Eric Cantor by opposing health care reform, seven of eight New Jersey Democrats voted for the historic health care reform bill. Among Democrats, only 3rd District Congressman John Adler voted no.

Of the 39 Democrats who voted against H.R.3962, only four come from more Democratic districts than NJ-03. Some 30 Democrats who represent redder districts than Adler’s voted yes. Adler’s vote was nothing but cowardly.

Adler’s vote may not have been a surprise, given the series of negative statements he has about the bill since the summer, but it certainly is a disappointment. Adler has moved hard to the right ever since being elected to represent NJ-03 last November. Where is the John Adler New Jersey progressives fought to elect?

What happened to the John Adler who pushed the death penalty repeal through the State Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007? What happened to the John Adler who expressed support for marriage equality in the Senate civil union hearings in 2006? The courageous progressive who served in the state Senate for more than a decade has exited the political stage to make way for a cowardly freshman Representative who caves in to the teabaggers on the big votes.

What happened to the John Adler who knows from personal experience what a lack of health insurance can do to a family? What happened to the “outspoken advocate for providing health insurance to all families”? The Congressman seems to have forgotten about the uninsured, for all he talks about these days is cutting costs.

It seems Adler has forgotten what got him elected to Congress in the first place. He won the support of rank-and-file Democrats and thus an easy path to the nomination by maintaining a progressive voting record in the State Senate. He rode Barack Obama’s coattails into office in the general election (remember that Obama outperformed him in the district in 2008). But for his first Congressional re-election campaign, Congressman Adler is casting his lot with the big-money donors looking to influence his votes on the Financial Services Committee, and with teabaggers like William Green.

Comments (7)

  1. firstamend07

    If I am not mistaken theSenate must now vote and then ,if passed, the two Bills will go into a Joint Committee. At that time a final bill will come out and that is the Bill that will determine whether we have Health Care reform.

    So instead of attacking Adler,I suggest he be “worked on” and encouraged to vote YES on the final bill.

    His vote will be needed.  

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  2. southernbluedog

    to vote on the bill once it comes out of the Conference Committee.  I assume there will be big changes made by the Senate.

    I don’t live in his district, but as a New Jersey Democrat, I’m upset with him so far.

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  3. ken bank

    Is just like the “New Nixon” from the 1968 election; the same old wine in a different bottle.  What is new about about John Adler are the challenges he faces in a much bigger constituency that is alot more conservative and republican than his old senatorial district.  Even the Democrats and independents are likely to have a more conservative bent than his old district, and Adler will certainly need a near if not absolute majority from independents to be re-elected.

    It’s true he needs lots of money to survive a serious GOP challenger next year.  All one has to do is look at the results from Ocean County in this year’s election.  Christie won by 70,000 votes, and there is no way Adler will be able to overcome a similar deficit in Ocean County next year.

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  4. Bertin Lefkovic

    Can anybody tell me the last time that a State Senator from NJ, representing a safe district, gave up his seat to become a Congressman, representing a seat that would be extremely difficult to defend two years later?

    I know that from our POVs, U.S. Congressperson seems like a much better office than State Senator, but look at it from the perspective someone inside our state’s political system.

    State Senator is technically a part-time job and with the exception of saints like Loretta Weinberg and a few others, most have other professional sources of income that are often augmented by the business that they are able to attract as a result of being a State Senator.  

    This is a no-no for U.S. Congresspersons, so despite the higher salary, State Senators generally have total incomes that are dramatically higher than that of Congresspersons.  There are also additional benefits, like senatorial courtesy, that make State Senators more powerful than Congresspersons.

    Congressman Adler gave all of that up, originally, to beat Jim Saxton, but after Saxton announced that he would not be running for re-election, Adler wound up beating somebody else.

    Regardless of who the Republican opponent would have been, Adler was the only Democrat in the district who had a shot in hell of winning in 2008.  Did he benefit from a massive increase in turnout as a result of the Presidential election, particularly one involving a rock star like Obama?  Of course, but even with Obama’s coattails, Adler was still the only Democrat who had the ability to raise the kind of money that he raised and run the kind of campaign that he ran.

    Unfortunately, no matter how much money Adler raises for his re-election campaign, it will most likely not be enough to win, because the turnout from 2008 is just not going to be there.

    If I were in Adler’s position, I would recognize this as a fait accompli and make the most of my two years in office, be as loud on as many issues as possible, and do as much good as possible, because after I was no longer a Congressman come January of 2011, I would not want to have any regrets about what I would have done differently with my two years in office.

    Adler was a saint for doing what he did last year, and as a result, he should be given the benefit of the doubt for most of the bad votes that he has cast and will cast during his term in office.

    Unfortunately, Adler believes that he can win re-election if he modulates himself sufficiently to mirror the ideological makeup of his district, but in doing so, he is fooling himself and disappointing a lot of people in the process.

    In the end, he is going to suffer more than anybody as a result of his bad votes, because I think that it is unlikely that he will cast bad votes when a good vote is needed, but despite the fact that he was an excellent and progressive State Senator, if he ever has the opportunity to run for statewide office, people are going to focus more on him being a mediocre and moderate Congressman, which isn’t fair, but then again, who ever said that politics, especially NJ politics is fair.

    I know that I won’t shed a tear for John Adler when his political career comes to an early end, but I will thank him for doing what he did last year and not beat him up too badly for not doing the right thing when he had the chance to do it.

    Reply
  5. The Wizard

    After Christie has Karl Rove redistrict the state Adler and at least one more Democrat will be replaced by a Republican.

    A big thank you to Boss Norcross for making this nightmare a reality. For all his efforts to take down Corzine for not naming a senator from south Jersey, that still isn’t going to happen.  

    Reply

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