Tag Archive: Senate 2006

Tom Kean, Jr. Runs Away (Literally) From The Fight

(Cross-posted at MyDD and Daily Kos)

All of us here at the Menendez campaign have been pretty fed up with the petty attacks against the Senator, from NJ GOP chairman Tom Wilson’s Ann Coulter-isms to Kean, Jr.’s own vague and unfounded personal attacks. Now, there are a few options for responding to this kind of Rove-style campaign. You can ignore it. You can send out surrogates to protest. Or you can confront the tactics, head on. Senator Menendez insisted on the latter.

As Juan wrote about earlier, on Friday morning in Atlantic City, at a meeting of the New Jersey Association of Counties, Senator Menendez had some choice words for Tom Kean, Jr..

My record is clear, and I will not stand by another minute and let my opponent malign me or my service to the people I have represented throughout my career.  Tom, you may be playing with George Bush’s campaign playbook, but you’re on the field with a different kind of Democrat….

One week ago, his state party chairman stooped to the lowest form of politics, and said that if I had my way, the terrorist Zarqawi would still be alive to murder innocents in Iraq and plot attacks against our country.  And Tom Kean, Jr.?  No, rebuke, no apology, not a word.

That’s not a campaign of courage, that’s a campaign of cowardice.

You have to earn the right to talk about honesty and integrity and frankly Tom, when it comes to ethics and character, you have no standing to lecture anyone.

What was Kean’s response to the speech? Well, even though he was supposed to be sitting on the stage with Senator Menendez, he chickened out and waited outside until the Senator was done speaking. He then went up to the podium and delivered the same canned speech he’d been planning all along, with absolutely no response to the Senator’s comments. After Kean, Jr. spoke, reporters tried to get him on the record. No such luck. As Josh Gohlke of the Bergen Record put it, Kean and his crew “stampeded down a carpeted hallway and into an elevator.”

Several reporters managed to keep up, blurting out questions the candidate was determined not to answer.

Did he care to respond to Democratic candidate Robert Menendez’s scathing speech just a few minutes earlier in the same ballroom? Was he, as Menendez charged, a lightweight armed only with empty attacks?

The Kean contingent stampeded down a carpeted hallway and into an elevator. The reporters and questions squeezed into it with them. Kean kept repeating a few slogans.

“I’m proud of both my record and my vision for the future of the country,” Kean reiterated, this time with finality, as everyone spilled back out of the elevator and he hurried off. “Thank you very much!”

After talking for a few minutes, the reporters realized they had entered and exited the elevator on the same floor. So ended a strange episode in a campaign that is reaching impressive levels of absurdity, given that it’s only June.

When the only impressive aspect of his campaign is the new level of absurdity he’s been able to reach, Tom Kean, Jr.’s got to be wondering what he’s doing in this race at all. The Beltway Republicans think they’re going to win this race the same way they’ve won races all across the country — shoveling fear and smear. Welcome to Jersey, Rove. It’s not going to work this time.

Menendez For Senate – Kicking Off The Campaign

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos and MyDD.)

This is an incredibly exciting week for all of us here at the Menendez campaign. While we’ve been hard at work for some time now, we’re just starting to work at the new headquarters in New Brunswick and are “officially” launching the campaign today with two events in North and South Jersey. Even though New Jersey’s considered a “blue” state and Senator Menendez has something of an incumbency advantage, this race is far from over. The rightists have been crowing, for example, over poll numbers that indicate a tight race, or even a lead for Kean Jr.

However, the polls they’ve been citing have largely been from partisan Republican firms like Strategic Vision and Rasmussen. In fact, the GOP’s clamoring for bona fide good news in this race has even caught the attention of Media Matters, which has repeatedly criticized the partisan Republican Beltway media for pushing absurdly pro-Kean Jr talking points. Meanwhile, truly independent polling forms like Quinnipiac have shown Senator Menendez in the lead.

As I wrote in my farewell post at MyDD, I couldn’t be more proud to be working on this campaign. Bob Menendez’s performance in the Senate has impressed me to no end. Unlike some newcomers who too-cautiously refuse to stick their necks out to stand up for the people who voted them into office, Senator Menendez has yet to shy away from a fight. While the Republican leadership hemmed and hawed when it was announced that the Bush administration had approved the sale of American port operations to a corporate holding of the United Arab Emirates, Menendez stood up and said no. Just recently, when a majority of the Senate (including a majority of Democrats) voted to confirm Michael Hayden, the man who orchestrated the illegal wiretapping of American citizens, to head the CIA, Menendez stood up once again and said no.

Standing Up To Big Oil

(Cross-posted at MyDD and Daily Kos.)

In my first official post as a Menendez for Senate staffer, I’m really excited to announce the launch of StandUpToBigOil.com. As many of you have probably heard by now, Senator Menendez is fighting back against Big Oil and their allies in the Republican Congress. The Menendez plan will force Big Oil to foot the bill for a 60-day suspension of the federal gas tax to ease the burden of outrageous prices at the pump. Senator Reid and the DSCC have been touting the Menendez plan for a few weeks now, and it really seems to be gaining traction.

Here’s the proposal, in a nutshell. As both retail gas prices trend upward with no relief in site, the federal gas tax — currently $0.184 per gallon — would be suspended for 60 days, ideally during the traditionally high-priced summer driving months. This tax holiday would be revenue neutral, however, as it’s paid for by a repeal of the tax breaks and corporate welfare Republicans have made sure to protect for their cronies in Big Oil. Even though word of the Menendez proposal has made its way around the netroots, this is an important point that’s been too often overlooked. Senator Menendez is going to stand up to Big Oil and make them pay for real relief at the pump.