Can anyone actually LEAD?

Promoted by Rosi Efthim

One of the great influences of my life was my maternal grandfather, a WW2 POW who was fond of saying things like, “Lead, follow, or get the Hell out of the way.” There are a lot of things that people can say about me, both good and ill, but no one can ever say that I didn’t take those words to heart. So much so that I simply abhor anyone whose primary purpose in life seems to be the obfuscation of progress.

The national Republican Party is often derided as being “The Party of No” – and rightly so – but what then do we say about the New Jersey Democrats? Even as a report on the insanity of Bergen County’s Sherrif’s Department the Bergen County Freeholder Democrats were busy voting as a bloc against pay-to-play bans. Meanwhile, every level of government that impacts the daily lives of Bergen County residents is being cut to the bone.

This level of political chutzpah rivals that of Richard Nixon telling David Frost that “there are some things that, when the President does them, they are not illegal.”

Then I saw this article out of the corner of my eye. You’d think a budget deal would be front-page news. After all, there is no more high profile issue than the state budget. But then I read this part:

The deal would also entail a legislative maneuver placing responsibility for the budget on Republican lawmakers, a rare move with Democrats controlling both houses of the Legislature.

Yes, that Democratic majority some of us worked so hard to maintain is being forfeit. Our legislative leadership is leading by retreating from responsibility.

“It’s a Republican governor, and some people really dislike the bill so much, some people feel Republicans should sponsor the budget based on how bad it is,” Sweeney said. “We have a responsibility to pass a budget. Unfortunately, we have to provide votes for this budget. That doesn’t mean we like it or agree with it.”

Well, why the Hell did he want to run the freaking Senate? Honestly. Why? The entire reason of having control is to shape the bills that go through the legislature, and there is no more important bill than the budget. So why just abdicate responsibility for doing so?

The thinking is pretty obvious – they want to hang this budget like an albatross around the necks of Republicans. It’s a stupid plan. It depends entirely on a disengaged population drawing a very fine line of responsibility on a process most of them don’t understand and never actually follow. This budget will be a “Democratic budget” because Democrats have the opportunity to write it – whether they live up to their responsibility to lead or not.

It’s just this sort of idiocy that led me to leave the Democratic Party. I remain a devoted Progressive and it pains me to see those who wear our mantel abdicate their powers to use government for the general welfare and public good. I’m simply disgusted that anyone could vote against a pay-to-play ban – and am flabbergasted that someone living in the remnants of Boss Joe’s Club can’t see the evils of such a system. That a legislative majority would turn over the power of the purse-strings to a party that has been rejected soundly by the people of the state is beyond idiocy.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way. I’m afraid our “leadership” has chosen the Third Way.

Update It seems Drew Sheneman has something similar in mind:

Comments (59)

  1. princetonblue

    I have been wondering why there hasn’t been more coverage of this issue, especially at this site.   I’ve been wanting to write a diary on it, but there were other demands on my time recently.

    I completely agree with you, Thurman.  It doesn’t appear as if the Senate Democratic leadership wants to lead.  This budget “compromise” is essentially a cave-in to the Republicans.  If this is what Democratic leadership means, then why bother fighting for it?  These are difficult times, but it seems like the Democratic leadership isn’t up to the task of leading.  Politically, I think this will backfire on them.

  2. the_promised_land

    He is sorely missed.

    But I haven’t given up hope yet on Sweeney and Oliver. It’s early. Or maybe I’m an optimist. We’ll see.

  3. firstamend07

    The easy thing to do is tear something down. But what do you replace it with.

    The budget is a mess. There is no money except the Millionaires tax ,and I do not see any ground swell from anyone,especially the Unions,  to get that tax implemented.

    What DO YOU WANT Sweeney and Oliver to do?

    I know what you want them not to do and that is to NOT agree with the budget.

    Do you want a state shutdown to prove your point?

    The Governorship in New Jersey is the most powerful Governors post in the country. But he is not King. However I have seen no alternative budgets here or anywhere else that make any sense.

    Sweeney and Oliver are working to get some cuts restored,but that only means that someone else will get cut.

    Before you just throw stones try to give an idea on an alternative budget plan.


  4. Nora's Tea Party

    Looks like Sweeney has chosen the best of the three options available at this time, to get out of the way.  

    What Sweeney’s decision says to us is “I know Christie has no choice but to make these radical cuts.  I know it is good for the State that these cuts are made. So I will not get in the way.”

    Frankly, that better than resisting it, and though the approach is a tad bit cowardly in your eyes, it is best for the people of NJ.

    Thurman, you said “That a legislative majority would turn over the power of the purse-strings to a party that has been rejected soundly by the people of the state is beyond idiocy.”

    That statement may have been true in the past, but Christie’s existence as Governor proves it is not true now, or in the near term future.   We independents have two choices, Blue or Red.  Neither reflect all our views.  

    Since there is no denying the Blue team has screwed-da-pooch, as it were, we have little choice but reject the Blue team and now support the Red.    Sweeney seems to be smart enough to understand that.

    As the one poster points out.. what COULD the Blue team do with the budget anyway?  You would have no more choice then Christie has.

    It’s time for the Blue-Dogs to cease to simply resist everything Christie does simply because he is a Republican, and start thinking of what’s good for  us (you know we-the-people).  

    Maybe you actually have the best leader in Sweeney, as at least he seems to have the smarts to bow to the inevitable.   Always wise to acknowledge reality, and that reality is there is no revenue to cover your pie-in-the-sky utopian type failed policies. A millionaire tax is not a solution, it simply exacerbates the problems this state has.  

    So how about your Blue-dogs cease to name-call and cease in your attempts to cast aspersions on the new administration and try something unique.. like HELP get this state back on it’s feet by HELPING find ways to cut costs, end corruption, end waste, end the school construction debacle, support tuition vouchers WITH YOUR WHOLE  HEARTS for the GOOD OF THE CHILDREN.

    When you believe in US (we-the-people) more than your CURRENT sources of campaign funds, then we-the-people will once again believe in YOU.   We know what’s best for US, and that’s liberty not government control.

    So Sweeney gets the thumbs-up for this move.  The BEST thing you Dem’s can do now, is to get out of the way, or follow Christie’s lead, and be useful instead of being a boulder in the river of progress.

    The whole Tea Party movement is about “encouraging” you party people (blue & red) to clean up your own houses.   You don’t, we will.


  5. ken bank

    That is what this is all about.  The Dems want to hang the budget which cuts aid to schools and eliminates  property tax rebates on Christie and the GOP.  Their goal is to get seniors, teachers and parents angry enough that they’ll give dems a veto-proof majority in 2011 like they gave the GOP twenty years earlier.

    The millionaires tax was a smart strategic move.  Now GOP legislators who voted against it will have to explain to angry seniors next year why giving tax cuts to millionaires was more important than funding property tax rebates.

    The millionaires tax was predicated on using the proceeds to fund tax rebates.  Unions didn’t support it because they would not have benefited except as homeowners, assuming they qualified for rebates.

    Sweeney is keeping his eye on 2011.  He only needs to take away five GOP seats to gain a veto-proof majority.  That’s what this is for.

  6. ken bank

    I think Sweeney is using a rope-a-dope strategy.  Let Christie keep throwing enough punches and soon everybody will hate his guts and take it out on GOP candidates in 2011.

  7. firstamend07

    Thankfully there appear to be some common sense posters responding here.

    To those who are out of touch let me clue you in on something. ANYONE WHO PROMOTES HIGHER TAXES IS GOING TO BE DESTROYED POLITICALLY.

    The fact is that the State has no money and no way to raise money except through the millionaires tax WHICH SWEENEY HAS TRIED TO DO BUT THE UNIONS ARE NOT HELPING!  

    Sweeney and Oliver are trying to get some thngs restored but to the HATERS this is not good enough.

    Shutdown the State . Is that a Progressive idea now???  

    Sweeney and Oliver are doing the right thing. They are puting the blame for this back on Christie.

    Maybe the haters should start being more realistic.  

  8. 12mileseastofTrenton

    to DINOs like Lesniak and Sweeney.  We need to do with what the teabaggers have done in Republican primaries.

  9. 12mileseastofTrenton

    I’ve never heard a majority totally abandoning their role in the budget process, and letting the minority, in effect, lead the way.  It’s both cowardly and politically stupid.  How can they criticize Christie in the future on budgetary matters if the cave like this?

  10. Got Kids

    “The Republicans will OWN this budget” (emphasis added). That is what the Democratic “leadership” is intent to achieve.  Less concerned about leading a rational debate about alternatives, which could alienate constituency groups and special interests, they are about creating a wedge issue for the November elections.  But that is stating the obvious isn’t it?


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