Author Archive: Scott Shields

Your Map

Thanks for telling this truth, Scott – better than quite a lot of revisionist fabrication I’ve heard and read over the last couple days – promoted by Rosi

Blue Jersey, this is your map. Period, point blank. This week, when rumors started swirling of a new legislative map that would have pitted Senator Barbara Buono and Senator Joe Vitale in one new legislative district, many of us took it as a gut punch. These two Senators have consistently stood up for the interests of New Jerseyans, in and out of their respective districts.

Some suggested that the rumored map was the product of Republican fantasies meant to disrupt the Democratic coalition. Others ascribed other darker motives to a few actors within the Democratic Party. We may never know the truth, but either way, none of that matters now for one simple reason… You organized. You mobilized. You fought. And you won.

Senators Buono and Vitale released a joint statement today that you may or may not have caught, so I’m reposting it here after the jump, along with a few more thoughts of my own.

Shoveling Matters

promoted by Rosi

In establishment politics, folks tend to get pretty jaded. Every word, every action, hell, every sneeze by a politician is viewed as a calculated move. If a constituent’s son is killed at war, it’s assumed that an elected official’s response is less about human emotion and more about conveying said official’s capacity for human emotion. Of course, that’s an extreme and somewhat silly example – the death of any service member is heart-wrenching, especially one in your own community. But the fact remains, we’ve all heard politicians and office holders attacked by their opponents for their “response” to tragedies, disasters, and other events in the news.

Just a few weeks ago, we were treated to the spectacle of all manner of criticism lobbed at officials at all levels for their handling of the December 26 blizzard. Mike Bloomberg only cared about Manhattan and was flippant towards the city’s residents. Chris Christie couldn’t even be bothered to skip his trip to Disney World to help New Jersey residents deal with the storm. Perhaps the most frustrating criticism was that lobbed at Cory Booker, especially in insider political circles, that his relentless updates on Twitter about his personal efforts to help residents dealing with the snow was a matter of grandstanding.

The most glaring public example of this criticism came from Governor Christie, in fact. As Jack Bohrer pointed out in an excellent article at Capital, the Governor snapped back at those pols who would “decide to be a showboat, hop on the back of a plow” and engage directly during the storm.

To my knowledge, Mayor Booker never directly responded to this criticism.

more below the fold

New Video Profile of Dennis Shulman

A lot of great media has been produced over the last few years in New Jersey Democratic politics, at the professional level, by amateurs, and a number of activists in the middle. This new video released by Dennis Shulman’s campaign might be my favorite positive piece of supporter-produced media yet.

Filmmaker Matt Kohn spent some time with Shulman and produced a really fantastic piece of video highlighting his interactions with voters, his personal story, and his pitch to the voters of the fifth – “sensible leadership” and the importance to all of us of being able to feel proud of our country.  Spend a few minutes and check it out:

I think we’ve all got to give the Shulman campaign a lot of credit. Without the early and automatic establishment backing that other Congressional campaigns enjoyed elsewhere in the state — and in a district that has not been kind to Democrats — they have run a stellar campaign from the beginning, and never once let up. The Shulman campaign in the fifth district would not likely be on anyone’s radar this year had Dennis and his team not worked as hard as they have. And to their credit, they’ve got us all paying attention.

Dennis Shulman for Congress

George W. Bush’s Cavalry Arrives For Leonard Lance

[If you think that NJ7 is a gimme, then you really need to read this and understand that this is a real fight — promoted by huntsu]

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos.)

After the bruising the Republican Party took in the 2006 election cycle, a tight-knit core of right-wing operatives and donors loyal to George W. Bush and Karl Rove came up with a plan: organize a well-funded, “independent” political organization to sell the American people on the virtues of the Iraq War. This organization, known as Freedom’s Watch, has since become the single most reliably pro-Bush organization in the country, demagoguing issues from immigration to Social Security privatization.

And now they’ve come to New Jersey in full force, with Linda Stender in their cross-hairs. While Freedom’s Watch is targeting a number of Democratic Congressional candidates with new ads at the moment, Stender is clearly at the top of their hit list, with their $500,000 ad buy in the 7th district being their largest expenditure at the moment.

Hot on the heels of Bush’s multi-million dollar rescue operation for Leonard Lance and Chris Myers, the White House has clearly put the word out that getting Lance elected is one of their top priorities. Who knows what’s they’re going to come up with next. Lance can try to weasel his way out of it, but the proof is undeniable at this point — George W. Bush and Karl Rove want nothing more than for folks like Leonard Lance to be elected to Congress to protect their legacy. They know that electing people like Linda Stender means that their dreams of permanent majorities rubber-stamping policies from Social Security privatization to endless war in the Middle East will come to an end.

To help us respond to the coming right-wing onslaught, please consider making a contribution to the campaign at LindaStenderForCongress.com/Contribute.  And if you aren’t in a position to contribute, sign up to get involved with the campaign at LindaStenderForCongress.com/GetInvolved/Volunteer.  You can help us immediately by knocking on doors, making phone calls, and letting your friends, neighbors, and family in the 7th district know that real change isn’t going to come from the same tired Bush team in Washington and their handpicked candidates across the country. It’s going to come when we elect more people like Linda Stender to Congress.

Enough With The Predetermined Narratives

If you’d been watching this year’s Democratic National Convention on C-Span or PBS, you’d likely be pretty pleased with the way things are going. A positive story is being told about Barack Obama, his family, his personal history, and his accomplishments. An image of John McCain has emerged as an out-of-touch W. clone who is intent on bringing us more of the same. The Democratic Party is the party of the people; the party of peace, prosperity, and progress.

But if you’ve been following the convention as most people have, via cable news and the Beltway punditocracy, a different image emerges. The Democratic Party is still dominated by the Clintons. The Clintons don’t get enough respect from the Democratic Party. The speakers aren’t providing any cohesive branding of John McCain, instead focusing too much on Barack Obama’s positives. No one is effectively making an effective positive case for Barack Obama. Barack Obama is foolish for focusing so much on regular people by setting his speech at Mile High Stadium. Barack Obama giving his speech at Mile High Stadium is a sign that he’s an elite celebrity, out of touch with regular people.

Confused yet? You’re not alone. The media is hell bent on selling crisis, division, and a floundering campaign. Who cares if the reality doesn’t match up?

Denver Update: SIX New Co-Sponsors for Marriage Equality in NJ

Let’s hear it for Elease Evans, Nellie Pou, Joan Quigley, Pamela Lampitt, Gordon Johnson, and Sandra Cunningham. As reported earlier by both Scott Weingart, who’s doing a fantastic job liveblogging the convention for us here at Blue Jersey, and Matt Friedman at PolitickerNJ.com, five members of our legislature stood up to be counted as strong supporters of marriage equality this morning during a presentation by Garden State Equality to our delegation in Denver. We’ve just added Elease Evans to the list, based on reports from the delegation.

Though there are still doubters, all indications are now that New Jersey will be the third state after Massachusetts and California to guarantee the right to marry for same-sex couples. This kind of momentum, indicated by this morning’s surprising development, is incredibly hard to overcome. While civil unions have been a progressive step forward for the cause, New Jersey residents seem to agree that basic civil rights should no longer be denied to a significant portion of our population.

This has been a great week for New Jersey’s Democrats. Despite some weird media fixation on whether or not Senator Menendez would be given a speaking role at the Pepsi Center (and everyone knows he’d have delivered the keynote if it were up to me — and perhaps should have, all things considered), we’ve seen our share of groundbreaking scenes at this year’s convention. Our state’s delegation played a big role yesterday, from the morning move to pledge all of our 127 delegates to Barack Obama, to being the last state to have our delegates counted in the roll call before Hillary Clinton’s historic motion to nominate Obama by acclamation. It’s fitting that six new backers for the marriage equality bill would announce their support at a convention where so much history is being written.

No Roll Call Necessary – NJ Delegates Go To Obama By Acclamation

Blue Jersey’s inside sources at the convention in Denver are reporting that a motion was just made and unanimously carried by voice vote to pledge New Jersey’s delegates to Senator Barack Obama by acclamation, without the need for a roll call vote.  Among those speaking in favor of the motion were Rep. Frank Pallone and labor leader Donald Norcross.

Upon passage, the enthusiastic Jersey crowd gave the motion a standing ovation. The mood of the room was summed up by Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, who remarked that Garden Staters are going to make it clear that “no matter where we were in the primary, we are coming together for victory.”

I think that makes the score Unity – 127, PUMAs – 0.

Updated.  Acclimation / Acclamation… Whatever.  I was in a rush to beat Friedman.  LOL!

New Jersey Delegation – Rock Caucus

Via Taegan Goddard, The Rocky Mountain News is confirming what TS blogged this morning.  Both Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen will be representing the Garden State this week in Denver.  Jon will be warming up the crowd at Invesco Field for Obama, while Bruce will close out the night with what’s expected to a solo acoustic performance.

Multiple sources confirmed to the Rocky that Jon Bon Jovi will fly in to perform two acoustic songs before Sen. Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech at Invesco Field on Thursday. After the speech, Bruce Springsteen (photo at right) will close out the night, presumably solo acoustic (E Street Band member Nils Lofgren told the Rocky last week that the band wouldn’t be with Springsteen in Denver).

What, no Misfits reunion at the faith caucus?

Josh Aronovitch: Netroots’er For Mayor

New Jersey needs more good government progressives like Josh. Promoted from the diaries — Juan

Josh Aronovitch, running for Mayor of Washington Township (the one in Gloucester County), has a pretty cool diary up right now at Daily Kos about progressive local government. It definitely will give you some good background on Josh, why he’s running for Mayor, and what has driven him into politics.

They say there is not a Democratic or Republican way to pick up trash.

However, there IS a progressive way to govern.  It means open honest transparent government.  It means building consensus in the community, not imposing a vision on the town.  It means not kowtowing to a county democratic party that seems to be more about rewarding contributors and amassing power than about doing right by the people.  

Local government isn’t as sexy as the latest Obama vs Hillary diary, but it is crucial to the future success (or lack thereof) of our experiment in democratic self government.

Josh is someone I work with, and he’s also someone I support wholeheartedly. So head over to dKos and show some love to someone who’s been a good friend to Blue Jersey and who will make a great Mayor of Washington Township.

New Jersey Dems Commemorate The 5th Anniversary

Promoted from the diaries — Juan

Today, a number of New Jersey Democrats, both in office and seeking office this November, released statements on the fifth anniversary of the start of Bush’s disastrous Iraq misadventure.

Bob Menendez ~

…”We cannot continue to throw American lives and American money at a situation that neither will resolve. There are no good solutions to the conflict in Iraq, only better and worse options for the United States. The best option is to bring our troops home as quickly and safely as possible. Sadly, if the President and his Republican allies in Congress continue to block Democratic efforts to transition out of Iraq, it seems that only the upcoming election gives our nation any hope of believing that this sixth year of war is the last one we will be forced to endure.”

Read more here…

Frank Lautenberg ~

“For five years, our troops have done their duty with bravery, answered every call and served above and beyond their commitments.  And for five years, President Bush’s leadership has failed to live up to their service and their sacrifice.  It is time for the President to get the Iraqi government to live up to its commitments and start to bring our troops home.”

Linda Stender ~

On the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, it is time our nation comes together to bring our troops home and set a timetable for withdrawal within a year. Nearly 4,000 American soldiers have lost their lives and 29,000 have been wounded in a war should never should have been waged.

“We have the best military in the world, but our soldiers should not have to referee a civil war while the Iraqi political leaders sit idly on the sidelines. President Bush continues to spend more than $12 billion dollars per month to fund a war that the majority of Americans disagree with. While the biggest sacrifice is the nearly 4,000 brave American soldiers who lost their lives and 29,000 additional wounded soldiers, we continue to dangerously neglect American priorities. With more than $3 trillion spent in total on the war, our schools, hospitals, bridges, and military readiness have all suffered. We are on the brink of a recession, American families are struggling, it’s time to bring our troops home so we can again focus on making America stronger.”

John Adler ~

“Nearly five years ago, President Bush rushed us into an ill-advised war in Iraq without a plan to win the peace or an exit strategy to bring our brave American troops home. In doing so, our President took the focus off the war against al Qaeda terrorist network that attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001. Instead of being bogged down in a civil war in Iraq, we must focus our military efforts on finding Osama bin Laden and destroying the al Qaeda terror network in Afghanistan.

“It is time for President Bush to put an end to our involvement in Iraq in a swift, honorable and responsible way. The war has claimed nearly 4,000 American lives and sent tens of thousands of our young men and women home with serious injuries. It will cost American taxpayers in the excess of $2 trillion.”

Read more here…