Author Archive: JRB

The political case for Pinkett

Despite speculation that he was dropping out, Randal Pinkett announced this morning that he will run for lieutenant governor if Jon Corzine asks him to. Also this morning, a pro-Pinkett group published an op-ed in the Star-Ledger explaining why the reality TV star is the right candidate based on his policy experience.

According to Wally Edge and the Asbury Park Press, Pinkett was the Governor’s top choice, but other Democratic leaders balked at what seemed like an ill-advised gimmick…. And they might be right…. But I have to say, I understand where Corzine is coming from. Because take a step back, and you might be able to see the allure Pinkett would have over the next three and a half months of the campaign.

1) Smarts.

Pinkett has them. If he weren’t a reality television star, he would just be a young(-ish), charismatic Rhodes Scholar/MIT Ph.D.

2) Ooh, Shiny Object.

As a reality TV star, he would generate loads of stories. No LG candidate is going to overshadow the top of the ticket for the length of time that Pinkett would. That’s a good thing in this instance — getting the focus off of Corzine for a while might do more to help the Democrats’ poll numbers than hurt them.

3) Smarts, Again.

This is why the attention he could draw would help: Pinkett ain’t Palin. Take Cory Booker’s word for it and believe the guy would ‘wow’ people.

4) Outsider.

Pinkett is not an elected official and not a traditional pol. That counts for a lot, and there’s no one else on Corzine’s short-list who can claim the same.

Now, Pinkett may very well have some skeletons in his closet, or be so pigeonholed by his television past that his abilities and competence never come to light. Then again, Pinkett could very well benefit from people underestimating him. We’re not at the point where we’re sprinting to the finish line, and a high profile LG candidate who goes from being a gimmick to a serious asset is one of those stories the press eats up.

That said, I don’t know Pinkett and I don’t know if he’d make a good candidate. If I were in Governor Corzine’s shoes, I honestly have no idea who I’d pick. But I can definitely see why Pinkett is on the short-list.

An earlier version of this post, which is a version of this comment, is cross-posted at The Huffington Post.

Cory Booker Helps Bust Drug Deal Outside Holiday BBQ

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is famous for his dedication, his drive and his general lack of sleep (the guy frequently whispers sweet nothings to his coffee via Twitter). He’s always on. He’s a pragmatist’s reformer, not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. And he’s making a significant dent in Newark’s crime rates… a significant and personal dent.

There’s that time in 2006 when he and his security detail chased down a mugger outside city hall. And today, as Mayor Booker was traveling from block party to block party, he helped bust a drug deal. Booker wrote on his Twitter page:

On bbq circuit & observed a drug transaction. Officers I’m with stopped vehicle. Arrested some1 from White House Station for heroin purchase

White House Station is a wealthy suburb about half an hour to the west on Route 78. The Mayor continued:

Folks buy drugs in Nwk & have no idea how much violence & distruction they contribute 2.This purchase was right in front of bout 12 children

From the New York State Senate to Mark Sanford and beyond, so many of our public officials have been disappointing us with their selfishness in the last few weeks. And while there are a lot of good, hardworking politicians who don’t go chasing down criminals, Mayor Booker’s selfless devotion to Newark still ought to be recognized. The man is three years into his first term, and only recently did he take an extended trip away from the city (and much of it was spent attending meetings for the benefit of Newark).

So, thank you, Cory Booker. On behalf of everybody.

Cross-posted from the Huffington Post. Follow JRB on Twitter.

Joe Biden, a Picket Line and 2016

Promoted from the diaries and cross-posted at Huffington Post – Rosi

Just how strongly is Joe Biden considering a third presidential bid in 2016? He’s made more headlines for gaffes and botched jokes than he has for helping the President in moving legislation through the Senate or navigating G-20 leaders…. But if anyone understands that a successful political career is a marathon, not a sprint, it’s Biden… and eight years is a long time.

Last night in New Jersey, the Vice President gave a speech to the Democratic faithful rallying behind Governor Jon Corzine, who faces a tough reelection campaign this fall. Biden’s appearance had been hyped for weeks by nervous Jersey pols – a sign that the Obama administration would not hang the unpopular Governor out to dry… and yet it almost didn’t happen. But not because Corzine has negative approval ratings… because Biden would not cross a picket line.

Chris Christie wins GOP nomination

Your thoughts, Blue Jersey?

Updated by Jason Springer:  DNC Chair Tim Kaine wasted no time welcoming Christie to the race

On the other hand, in winning tonight’s Republican Gubernatorial Primary, Chris Christie has appealed to the ultra-conservative base of the Republican Party and its narrow interests. Chris Christie offers them same brand of politics and policies that have defined national Republicans and that voters have rejected. While Governor Corzine has a plan to balance tough choices with needed public investments, Chris Christie has adopted the national GOP’s approach of just saying ‘no.’ Given the challenges and opportunities facing New Jersey, voters deserve more than ‘no’ – and Jon Corzine has a vision, approach and the experience that New Jersey needs at the helm of state government for the next four years.

A Very Jersey Story

My mother told me she caught a few minutes of this morning’s Republican gubernatorial debate and said she was shocked — shocked — at how unhealthy Chris Christie is.

“He’s got to be well over 300 pounds,” she deemed by the shot of his upper-torso and face.

I said, “Depends on how tall he is, but I wouldn’t put him over 300.”

“Oh, I guarantee it,” Mom said. Then she started accurately guessing people’s weight — to the exact pound….

Little did I know that my mother spent one of her teenage summers employed at a ‘Guess Your Weight’ booth on the Asbury Park boardwalk.

For Marriage Equality Opponents, ‘No Offense’ Doesn’t Cut It

This annoys me: the National Organization for Marriage is launching a new ad featuring the Miss USA contestant from California who opposes marriage equality. The ad is titled, “No Offense.”

“No offense,” as in, “Partaking in the flat-out gay-bashing our organizations used to great effect in the last few years is no longer acceptable, but we still oppose equality… No offense.”

Look at their website and you’ll find evidence of this (their emphasis):