Ah … the glory days when the Nets went to the finals. However, last year the Nets had the worst record in the NBA. Now they say they’re ready for their new season which began yesterday with a game against the Detroit Pistons. So much is new – a new home at Newark’s Prudential Center, a new Russian billionaire owner, new GM, new coach and a 15-man roster that features 11 new players. In the midst of last year’s crushing season Nets management took stock of their predicament and lay the groundwork for needed changes.
Fortunately, NJ Dems don’t face quite the dire circumstances that the Nets did, but they are not without significant problems. They lost the governorship last year, are facing tight races now, and next year have to battle for control of the state legislature. And all of this is happening in a terrible economy, with a popular, mean governor, a sometimes submissive, indecisive legislature, a disruptive Tea Party, a motivated, restless Republican party, and an uneasy, worried electorate.
After Tuesday the NJ Dems begin their new season. With a governor who is a master at messaging, the Dems have to articulate better their own message. They must make clear that they are the party concerned with jobs, justify their efforts to help those who are the most disadvantaged, and express their vision that government can be solution not a problem. In wending their way through pension fund, transportation fund, property tax, and other thorny issues, they must display more leadership, unity, and confidence. Changes in their roster imposed both externally and internally are not necessarily bad if they lead toward a renewed, energetic vision that benefits New Jerseyans. Ed Potosnak, in an uphill campaign in the 7th CD, is an example of a rookie Dem who represents that energy and vision. In the meantime, one thing we all must do is help get out the vote and cast our ballot on Tuesday.
The NJ Nets are in a great arena and their presence there should benefit Newark. They have promising new talent, and they won their first game. It is now up to NJ Dems to formulate winning strategies that will benefit all of us in the upcoming season.