Tag Archive: Tom Kean

Quote of the Day: “This is about electoral politics”

Former Governor Tom Kean said yesterday he would consider suing over the cuts in arts funding proposed in the Governor’s budget.  That prompted this response:

Brigid Harrison, a political scientist at Montclair State University, said it is remarkable that Kean has decided to go to war with a sitting governor over arts funding since he has remained silent on many other issues since leaving office.

Harrison noted that Kean kept his own counsel about the 2006 shutdown of state government, the scandals that besieged former Gov. James E. McGreevey during his administration and even the series of cuts to higher-education funding while Kean was president of Drew University.

“Over the past 20 years, there have been so many larger fish to fry,” she said “This is not about arts funding, this is not about statutory minimums. This is about electoral politics.”

On the electoral politics angle, there was that minor fact of the Governor helping Senator Menendez defeat Kean’s son in 2006. He also serves as Honorary Chairman of the Chris Christie for Governor Campaign. Senator Vitale offered this response on the merits of the cuts:

State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge), who served on the Senate Appropriations Committee, says that while the arts are important, ?the ability to appreciate the arts is going to come as little consolation to a child who doesn?t receive adequate health coverage, doesn?t have a safe place to grow up, or doesn?t get a proper education.?

I don’t think anyone wants to see cuts to arts funding, but again this is a question of what else should go in it’s place?

Subponeas, Senate Seats, and Saving One’s Behind

Republican State Senator Tom Kean, Jr. and Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez debate during their 2006 match up.

Former Bush Administration aides Karl Rove and Harriet Miers have reached an agreement with the House Judiciary Committee to comply with a subpoena seeking their testimony regarding the 2006 dismissal of eleven U.S. Attorneys.  For nearly two years now the committee has sought their appearance to determine whether the firings were politically motivated.  There are several questions that need to be answered about that process. Of import to the voters of New Jersey is how and why Chris Christie’s name was removed from the list of those recommended for dismissal.

In September 2006, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and Republican State Senator Tom Kean, Jr. were engaged in a bitter campaign to determine who would represent New Jersey in the United States Senate.  Many will recall the daily news reports detailing acts of official corruption by members of Congress.  For several months, Kean’s campaign had dovetailed their message to that national narrative, consistently calling Menendez “Boss Bob” and a product of corrupt Hudson County machine politics.

There was one significant challenge to that message: Bob Menendez had never been accused of official misconduct and there was no evidence to support such a claim.  No evidence, that is, until then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie subpoenaed the records of the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, a recipient of federal grant dollars and a tenant in a Union City building owned by Menendez.  The subpoenas served as a lifeline to Kean’s flailing campaign.  Finally, he had something to back his charges up.  For the rest of the campaign he would note that he had “an opponent under federal investigation.”

Menendez defeated Junior in the November election, and in the weeks following, the U.S. Attorney quietly laid the matter of North Hudson Community Action Corporation to rest.  It became clear that there was no federal investigation and that the information gathered by the subpoenas proved Menenedez was innocent of any wrongdoing.

That same month, Michael Elston, chief of staff to the deputy attorney general, included Christie’s name on a list of U.S. Attorneys slated for firing.  Among the names of those ultimately dismissed was New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias, who alleged that he received pressure from Republican U.S. Senator Pete Domenici and Representative Heather Wilson to take action in a corruption probe of a local Democrat shortly before the 2006 election.  Within weeks, he was fired, and he has stated he believes it was because he refused to involve his office in politics.  Additionally, documents released by the Justice Department indicate that Karl Rove, a political adviser, was involved in the conversations relating to all of the dismissals.

Did Chris Christie prove his worth to the White House by subpoenaing the records of North Hudson Community Action Corporation?  Who removed his name from the list?  Rove and Miers will no doubt face a torrent of questions when they sit down before the Judiciary Committee.  However, questions about Christie politicizing his role as federal prosecutor have immediate bearing on the current campaign in New Jersey.  As November approaches, Christie will continue to tell voters he is a corruption busting lawman prepared to clean up government.  Yet the testimony of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers may demonstrate to New Jerseyans what some suspected all along: Chris Christie was a loyal Bush appointee who allowed politics to interfere with prosecutions.

Lonegan attacks Kean for supporting Christie

Ever hear of the Eleventh Commandment? (which i’ve been told is a myth)

The Eleventh Commandment was a phrase used by former President of the United States Ronald Reagan during his 1966 campaign for Governor of California. The Commandment reads:

   “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

So much for that idea playing out in the NJ GOP primary.  Not only are the opponents fair game for Steve Lonegan, but so are their supporters. Lonegan offered this reaction to the Tom Kean endorsement of Chris Christie:

“With all due respect to Tom Kean, I did not seek his endorsement,” said Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota. “I’m not a Tom Kean Republican. As governor, Tom Kean raised the sales from five to six percent, increased the gas tax, the income tax from two and a half to three and a half percent, and a number of corporate taxes. The state budget increased 118 percent under Gov. Kean.”

So he’s not going after the Kean or Reagan vote?  Not like I really care either way, but it’s certainly an entertaining strategy.

Working Families

It’s amazing what has happened to Tom Kean, Jr.  At one point he was a moderate, reasonable politician and a good person who was interested in doing the right thing.  Over the past couple years he has become a parody of a right wing flamethrower who will say anything to win no matter the truth or who it hurts.

Today he has this winner on PoliticsNJ.

“Republican Senators are ready to move forward forging a State budget that cuts spending without taking more from the pockets of working families.”

Taking more from the pockets of working families is an allusion to tax increases or toll increases.  It’s idiotic rhetoric that pretends there is no benefit for working families from government services, and the only thing that counts when looking at a budget is how many dollars are collected.

But Kean Jr. is more than happy to lay off state workers in order to achieve his budget goals, conveniently forgetting that state employees are part of “working families.”

The fact is that working families benefit greatly from state and local government, and would be sorely hurt by reduction in services sought by Republicans such as environmental protections, public transportation, road improvements, and the like.

A perfect example is the fact that the Plainfield area is losing it’s hospital because the state cannot afford to subsidize charity care any more.  The federal and state governments require hospitals to care for anyone who walks in the door, but won’t pay for it.  As a result, no one in Plainfield whether they have insurance or not will have a hospital within easy travel distance.

But Kean Jr. never complained when charity care dollars were cut, and never stood up to demand that these hospitals be made whole for the state laws he is responsible for creating and changing.  But working families are going to have money taken from their pockets in increased travel costs, more negative health outcomes due to missed appointments, and other costs to having no local, quality health care.

But that doesn’t matter, Tom, because it’s not coming out of their pockets in taxes.  

The only people who will be hurt by reduction in services and government programs will be the poor and working families.  The rich will be fine, and may even be better because there will be less oversight of their companies so they can screw workers and the environment without worrying about some government employee finding out.

The Republicans only care about taxes, because they only care about people who pay more in taxes than they receive from the government.  It is an unAmerican and disgusting viewpoint, and now the “moderate” Tom Kean Jr. is parroting it as well as any Rush Limbaugh dittohead.

His father must be proud.

Hazelbaker Alert!!!: Jill Is Speaking the “Truth” Again… :Hazelbaker Alert!!!

Our old friend, Jill Hazelbaker, http://www.bluejersey.com/show… (former spokesperson for Tom Kean Jr) is back in the news.  It seems that Mike Huckabee handily won the Kansas caucases today!

From todays NYT……


Asked if he saw any cost to staying in the race, Mr. Huckabee thought for a moment before answering: no.

?I have nothing else to do,? he said with a smile.

A likely story….the Huckster can’t lose at this point; he’s primed to be the VP or maybe even pull off some kind of “miracle”.  Worst case scenario (for him) he emerges as the “go to guy” for the right wing fundamentalist evangelicals….who are the grass roots core of the Republican party.   He sure couldn’t do much worse than Pat Robertson.

So, what does our old pal Hazelbaker have to say…

Mr. McCain?s campaign said the results on Saturday made little difference. ?Our campaign fully expected to fall short in the Kansas caucus,? said a spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker. ?John McCain is the presumptive nominee in this race and our path forward is unchanged by today?s results. Our focus remains the same: uniting the Republican Party to defeat Democrats in 2008.?


Quote of the Day

Giuliani’s campaign responded by noting that Kean’s son, Tom Jr., has endorsed Giuliani.

— From the Newsday article on former Gov. and 9/11 Commission Chair Tom Kean’s endorsement of John McCain.

News Roundup, Friday, September 22, 2006

News roundup for Friday, September 22, 2006.  Da-da-da-daaaa…da-da-daaaa-da-da-daaaaaaaaa!  My apologies for missing last Friday’s roundup.  I was down with the flu.

  • Governor Corzine says he’ll nominate Associate Justice James Zazzali to Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court when Chief Justice Deborah Poritz retires next month.  He will also place state Appellate Division Judge Helen Hoens on the court.  Chief Justice Poritz must retire because of a mandatory retirement age of 70 years.  Governor Corzine says the nominations will be “among the most important” actions he can take as governor.  I guess he likes taking important actions, because Zazzali will be 70 years old next year, giving the governor a chance to do it again.
  • Five members of a street gang pled guilty yesterday to murder.  With any luck, the entire gang can be rounded up and placed in jail cells to rot together for the rest of what passes for their lives.
  • Six state legislators listened to ciitizen complaints and suggestions about the state’s property taxes yesterday at the Livingston Student Center.  If you are interested in participating in these public hearings and have been wondering where they are being held, you should click this link.  When the next page appears, click on a “committee link”.  When the committee page is displayed, click the “View Committee Schedule” link.  That will tell you when the committee you selected is having public hearings.
  • Governor Corzine’s popularity is way down.  In public opinion polls, he is the 42nd most popular governor and he is rated in the state at 43% approval and 48% disapproval.  John Hoeven of North Dakota is the most popular governor at 78% approval and 15% disapproval, but, it’s easy to get a high approval rating when you can shake the hand of everyone in your state by putting in two weekends of door-to-door meetings.
  • Senate candidate Tom Kean, Jr dismissed his campaign staff’s lying on the Bluejersey web log by referring to the campaign as “the silly season”.  It’s interesting that he thinks his campaign is silly.  At least he has that much self-awareness.  Instead of addressing the facts honestly, Kean, Jr. bizarrely accused the Menendez campaign of something, without regard for the fact that the postings and comments that appeared on the Bluejersey web log originated from within his own campaign headquarters.  Okay, so his awareness, self or otherwise, isn’t so hot.
  • A Parsippany woman called the police late at night to ask for a ride home, which she might have received were there not a warrant out for her arrest.
  • Rosh Hashanah begins tonight at sundown, for all of our Jewish friends.  Have a very happy new year.  L’shanah tovah!  And may all of your names be written in the Book of Life.
  • They Did Not Have To Die

    In 2004, NJ State Senators Tom Kean Jr. and Ron Rice both filed a lawsuit against the McGreevey administration and received an injunction ending three proposed needle exchange pilots.  These pilots were to be in three cities most affected by HIV/AIDS: Camden, Atlantic City and Newark.

    Yesterday, State Senator Tom Kean Jr. voted against a bill that would permit needle exchanges in the state of New Jersey.  New Jersey is the last state not to allow a needle exchange program to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS.

    Without mentioning Tom Kean Jr., columnist Tom Moran calls this exactly as it should be seen:

    Later that day, a compromise bill providing for six pilot programs across the state passed the Senate Health Committee, along with $10 million more for drug treatment.

    What changed? For one, New Jersey has become the last holdout in the nation, the only state in the country where a drug ad dict cannot legally obtain a clean needle.

    That means addicts here are more likely to share needles, more likely to get AIDS, and more likely to pass on the agony of this disease to their infant children. …

      Gov. Jon Corzine got involved, pressing recalcitrant Democrats. So did Senate President Richard Codey, who hammered out the compromise with Sen. Joe Vitale, the committee chairman.

    It was a good day for public health in New Jersey.

    But it has taken way too long. You almost want to light a candle for the many people who were lost over the last decade or so while the politicians in Trenton dithered. They did not have to die.

    They … did … not … have … to … die.

    I hope that line wakes Tom Kean Jr. up in the middle of the night.

    Junior Takes Baby Steps to Rationality

    Taking a radical step — or at least a radical step for a Republican after years of lock-step obedience — State Senator Tom Kean, Jr. is quoted in today’s NY Times calling for Don Rumsfeld’s resignation.

    But what compelled him to advocate publicly for a “fresh face” leading the troops, Mr. Kean said, were Mr. Rumsfeld’s recent remarks chiding critics of the war for “moral and intellectual confusion,” and comparing them to those who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany in the 1930’s.

    “By engaging in that kind of rhetoric, this secretary has stepped over the line,” Mr. Kean said.

    Wow, what courage.  Suggesting that calling more than 60 percent of the American people Nazi appeasers is crossing the line.  Now that takes chutzpa.  I mean, next he’ll even suggest that President Bush, the man who hired and refuses to fire Rumsfeld, is making an error.

    Ummmm. No.

    Mr. Kean stopped short of criticizing President Bush, other than saying he had not been “well served” by Mr. Rumsfeld. He says he does not support a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops, because he thinks that could lead to a humanitarian crisis and destabilize the region.

    Well, at least Kean is willing to take baby steps toward a rational position.  His opponent in the 2000 NJ7 Republican primary, Congressman Mike Ferguson, is unwilling to go even that far.

    In an interview on cable news station RNN on Friday, Ferguson was specifically asked if Runsfeld “stepped over the line.” 

    Ferguson was unwilling to even address the issue, instead weaseling our playing word games with accountability and responsibility.

    Those are his words, not my words.

    Mike Ferguson just decided that it is OK when the man who is sixth in line for the Presidency calls the majority of his constituents fascist appeasers.  It doesn’t warrant even a little recognition that this is a bad thing to say and should be apologized for.

    More after the jump.