Loretta Weinberg and the Campaign for Change

I am a Bergen County Resident who wants to volunteer for Barack Obama for President only one problem, my state Senator is attempting to use his campaign for her personal vendetta.

It is my understanding that she has held the Obama Campaign for Change in NJ hostage with idle threats if they were to coordinate with the Bergen County Democratic Organization.

I just don’t understand why she feels that her personal vendetta is more important than electing Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

Today I walked into the suposid headquarters at 36 Bergen St. and they did not have ANY PHONE LINES I guess she wants us to call with our hopes and dreams.

Luckally, I knew the BCDO was only around the corner so I went there instead.

There I was greeted by a smiling organizer that put me to work right away to help Elect Barack Obama.

Please Senator Weinberg put your personal vendetta aside until after the election just like you agreed to.

The Insanity of Vince Micco

There is no better indicator of how far out of touch the NJGOP is – and no better indicator how desperate they are for someone to become a sacrificial lamb – than the unopposed campaign of Vince Micco to take on Steve Rothman in Congressional District 9.  What would you think a young Republican in Bergen County would run on?  If you answered “denial of reality”, then give yourself a cookie:

“The reason I’m running is I believe victory and success in Iraq are not only attainable, but they are just imperative. We must win, we can win, we are winning,” said Micco, 39, a mortgage banker who recently signed up for another six-year stint in the reserves.

First of all, I’ve never heard Mr. Micco answer the primary questions on Iraq: What does victory in Iraq look like?  How will we know when we have won?  It is irresponsible to say that we are “winning” without giving a clear and concise answer to these questions – and not even General Petraeus can do that.  If the General in charge of Iraq doesn’t know what we’re trying to accomplish, how can a low-level grunt like Micco claim that we are winning?

Answer: He’s repeating what he has been told and he chooses to believe.  It just so happens that his political position mirrors that of the Republican Presidential nominee.  So we’ll be hearing a lot of this crap in the next six months or so.

Make the flip.

Third Quarter Cash on Hand for Democrats

Cash on Hand from the FEC quarterly filings:

Rob Andrews (NJ1) $2,429,899
Rush Holt (NJ12) $623,200
Frank Pallone (NJ6) $3,105,223
Bill Pascrell (NJ8) $1,031,440
Don Payne (NJ10) $751,399
Steve Rothman (NJ9) $1,838,631
Albio Sires (NJ13) $132,605

Your politics 101 quiz:  Which of these Congressmen is thinking of running for the U.S. Senate?

Rep. Rothman and Returning from Iraq

On Monday, I participated in a conference call that Rep. Steve Rothman had with bloggers upon his return from a trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Kuwait. It was a good conference call. We need more Congressmen doing more conference calls with bloggers. Yet we also need to think more about how we support our servicemen and women when they return.

The State of the Union: What Didn’t Happen

George W. Bush said tonight that “success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen.”  What he apparently doesn’t understand is that failure is also measured by that same yardstick.

President Bush said we would be welcomed as liberating heroes, and that didn’t happen.  President Bush said that we would find remnants of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, and that didn’t happen.  President Bush said that Iraqis would set aside sectarian differences to create a civil society, and that didn’t happen.  President Bush said that if we just “toughed it out” that the insurgency would be defeated and peace would reign, and that didn’t happen, either.  Now the same person who has been wrong about every other thing that has happened in Iraq is telling us that everything will be fine if we just send a few more thousand American soldiers to serve as targets for sectarian militias.

The President’s “new strategy” is limited to a few new lines of rhetoric to describe his failed “stay the course” policy.  Oh, and sending 21,500 more American soldiers into harm’s way without any clear idea of what they are supposed to achieve or how they would achieve it.  One definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over and hope for different results. 

Democrats will not sit by idly and allow this to happen.  I specifically requested a seat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee so I could be sure that someone would hold the Bush Administration responsible for conducting our military affairs in a way that brings honor to our servicemembers and greater security to the American people.  My fellow Democrats and I will use all of the parliamentary procedures at our displosal to ensure that President Bush does not waste our resources – including our most precious resource: the lives of our fighting men and women.

Democratic Staffers In The Right-Wing Machine

When I think of Congressmen Steve Rothman and Donald Payne, “conservative” is just about the last word that pops into my head. Am I worried about either of their progressive bona fides? Not really. However, I’m a little concerned about the choices made by some of their staffers. Two, to be precise.

Shelly Stoneman serves as Rothman’s Legislative Director, as well as Military and Foreign Policy LA. Kerry McKenney is Payne’s Legislative Director and Press Secretary, a juxtaposition I don’t quite get, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that no one serving at the pleasure of New Jersey’s progressive voters should be attending conferences put together by the right-wing Mercatus Institute. And yet, according to records of travel by Congressional staffers analyzed by Kagro X at Daily Kos, that is exactly what each of them did in February of this year.

The Mercatus Center bills themselves quite vaguely as “a research center focused on improving our understanding of how societies transition to prosperity and remain prosperous over time.” However, a more detailed analysis of their work can be found in a Wall Street Journal article reposted at their own website:

When it comes to business regulation in Washington, Mercatus, Latin for market, has become the most important think tank you’ve never heard of. Staffed by veterans of the White House office that reviews and often scales back proposed rules, Mercatus, with its free-market philosophy, has become a kind of shadow regulatory authority. The White House’s top regulator, John Graham, was briefly a member of Mercatus’s board of advisers before taking the government post.

And an analysis of their financial support network, done in early 2005 by MyDD’s Chris Bowers, explains their interest in so-called “free-market” deregulation. Familiar right-wing names like Koch, Olin, and Scaife have pumped tens of millions of dollars into the organization since its founding in 1985. The Mercatus agenda can be summed up as the wholesale destruction of any and all government oversight of big business, consequences be damned.

The only other member of the New Jersey delegation with staff at the conference was Scott Garrett, whose Chief of Staff Michelle Presson was in attendance. While it makes perfect sense that Garrett’s staff would work in association with a group like Mercatus — he’s a far-right Representative, they’re a far-right think-tank — it doesn’t speak well of either Payne or Rothman to have their names associated with the Mercatus Center.

I’m not suggesting that Stoneman or McKenney should be run out on a rail for attending one Mercatus conference. But we really ought to make it clear to our lawmakers that corporatist, anti-government think-tanks like Mercatus are not to be considered honest or credible sources of information or training for their staffers.

Vince Micco & Todd Riffle Latest Republicans to Challenge Murtha’s Courage

I guess Tom Wilson is tired of looking like a jackass in the NJ GOP press releases and e-mails, so now he’s having communications director Todd Riffle do it for him.

From an e-mail sent out today (emphasis mine):

New Jersey 9th Congressional District candidate Vice [sic] Micco will appear on the Hannity and Colmes T.V. program tonight at 9:00 PM to debate Rep. John Murtha’s Democrat view of the war and the call to cut and run from Iraq.

Vince will offer a special point of view since he served nine years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Iraq as a sergeant fighting terrorism as part of a counter-intelligence unit.

He experienced the war on the front lines, not from behind a desk in Washington D.C. He saw the good things U.S. Soldiers are doing there and how much the Iraqi families appreciate what Americans are doing for them. Vince is running for the U.S. Congress in the Ninth District (Bergen, Hudson, Passaic counties) now because he believes America cannot back down in the war on terrorism.

Meet the Candidates

This is the most recent listing of candidates that have filed petitions for federal office. The first candidate listed in each category is the incumbent. The number after their names indicates the number of petition signatures submitted, and I also included the slogans of some of the candidates running without the party endorsement.

US Senate:
    Bob Menendez (D) 8029
    James D. Kelly Jr (D) 1300
    Thomas H. Kean Jr. (R) 4202
    John P. Ginty (R) 1742

House Districts
1:  Rob Andrews (D)

2:  Frank LoBiondo (R) 804
    Viola Thomas-Hughes (D) 298
    Henry David Marcus (D) 207 "Change the Course!"

3:  Jim Saxton (R) 949
    Richard Sexton (D) 293

4:  Chris Smith (R) 675
    Gary Schiavone (D) 310

5:  Scott Garrett (R) 513
    Michael Cino (R) 300
    Paul Aronsohn (D) 495
    Camille M. Abate (D) 427 "A New Spine For Congress"

6:  Frank Pallone Jr (D) 310
    Leigh-Ann Bellew (R) 278

7:  Mike Ferguson (R) 896
    Linda Stender (D) 532

8:  Bill Pascrell (D) 4301
    Jose Sandivol (R) 407

9:  Steve Rothman (D) 1020
    Vincent Micco (R) 321

10: Donald Payne (D) 1244
    Deshon Porter (D) 211

11: Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) 699
    Tom Wyka (D) 332

12: Rush Holt (D) 1216
    Joseph Sinagra (R) 225

13: Special election for unexpired term
    Albio Sires (D) 530
    James Geron (D) 268

13: For full term
    Albio Sires (D) 3229
    Joseph Vas (D) 594
    John Guarini (R) 255

Ugly Campaign Literature on the Right

It was bound to happen here sooner or later. This afternoon Vince Micco put out a factually incorrect statement criticizing his opponent, Congressman Steve Rothman, on the issue of immigration reform.

Micco hides behind his parents to defend his anti-immigrant views:

As the son of immigrants, Micco said he values the contribution legal immigrants have made to the United States and sees widespread amnesty for illegal immigrants as a slap in the face to my mother and father and to the millions of other people who came to this country through the front door.

Perhaps he should have asked around a little more. I’m a first-generation immigrant, and along with the majority of other immigrants, Micco has lied about our views. The largest national poll of legal immigrants ever undertaken (Feb-March 2006) finds the following:

Although some political leaders argue that legal immigrants harbor animosity toward undocumented immigrants for cutting in front of them in line and for not respecting our laws, the poll results indicate little resentment toward undocumented immigrants.

Not only is Micco’s statement ugly and divisive – it is factually false. He was probably too afraid to state his real feelings so he made up his own “facts” to project his anti-immigrant views onto millions of others.

Steve Rothman Podcast: A Moderate Stands Firm

It isn’t hard today to find Democrats who think the Party needs to stampede left.  The reason we are losing, they claim, is that we have followed the Republicans as they ran to the right.  As a consequence, a whole bevy of disenfranchised, unrepresented lefties stays home on election day after election day.  This has led many to conclude that anyone who calls themself a “moderate” must automatically be a DINO.

New Jersey’s Ninth District Congressman Steve Rothman proves this is simply not true.  In this exclusive Blue Jersey podcast, Congressman Rothman dispels the notion that a moderate cannot stand strong on principles and fight hard for his constituents.