Tag Archive: tom kean jr.

The timing of my calling bull$h!t on Sen. Kean is just “happenstance”

As Hopeful notes below, a new poll by FDU shows (1) a dead heat between Senator Menendez and Tom Kean, Jr. for a race that is over two years from now, and (2) a very mixed bag on what people in NJ think about health care reform.  

As Hopeful notes, 42% of New Jerseyans think that they personally will be worse off if the current health care reform bill passes, while 37% feel that they personally will be better off if the current health care reform bill passes.  However, that 5% spread is reversed when the question is asked about the country as a whole, with a 45% – 40% margin indicating that the current health care bill will be better for the country.  Adding to this, there is a 5% margin (40% against, 35% for, 25% don’t know) when it comes to whether respondents would urge THEIR member of Congress to vote for or against ANY health care bill.

In response to all of this, Kean finds the one way to interpret these numbers that is made up of fairy dust:

“Our United States Senators should finally listen to the majority of New Jerseyans  and support a fresh approach to reforming our health insurance industry.”

What’s more, Kean said that the suspicious timing of his pontificating was merely “happenstance”.

Now, say what you want about the current health care bill – there certainly is more than enough things to like and dislike about the bill on an individual level, but the one thing that can NOT be said is what Kean is asserting about “a fresh approach”.  It is either (1) is this bill good for me, (2) is this bill good for the rest of the country or (3) do you want your Congressman to vote for ANY bill.  If Kean wants to be taken seriously, then he should actually say things that are accurate – especially when it comes to issues that he claims to represent “the majority of New Jerseyans” on and issues where he hopes to represent all of New Jerseyans.

When reached for comment, Adam L a/k/a clammyc noted that the timing of this post was merely “happenstance”.

FDU Poll: Obama, Congress, Menendez, and Health Care Reform

Yesterday, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll put out a release on New Jersey’s views on pension reform, and today they’ve got New Jersey’s views on federal issues from the same sample of 801 registered voters (3.5% margin of error.)

First up, President Barack Obama is at a 53% job approval rating (an improvement on the sub-50 showing last time). Disapproval is at 38%, so the the net +15 matches the margin he beat McCain by in 2008. His numbers with independents are 53-33.

On the other hand, the right track/wrong track numbers for the country are at 38-52, hardly surprising with 10% unemployment, massive deficits, and victory-less wars.  

Democrats lead the generic ballot for U.S. Congress 47-39 with leaners. That doesn’t exactly suggest many Democratic incumbents will be swept away, though I don’t doubt NJ3 is a battlefield.

If the election were held today, Senator Bob Menendez would get 38%, a (hypothetical candidate) Tom Kean Jr  would get 39%, Someone else gets 6%. Not the numbers we’d like to see, but not unfamiliar either. The pollster notes that Menendez did worse with the subgroup that was asked about him closer to the questions about health care reforms.

Senator Menendez is at 29-25, favorable-unfavorable, and Senator Frank Lautenberg is at 42-29. The negative ads of 2006 have been forgotten as Kean Jr is at 28-11. Kean was at 33-32 at the end of the last campaign, so you can see that campaigns matter.

As for health care reform, the numbers are lousy but not disastrous, as you know if you follow it in national polls. 37% think they will be better off and 42% think they will be worse off if health care reform passes. On the other hand, for the “country as a whole,” “better” leaads “worse” 45-40. No doubt the numbers are dragged down by strong Republican opposition, but the two sets for independents are 31-35 and 41-33. The numbers are very striking by race, because only 28% of “Whites” think they’ll be better off. Overall, 35% say they’d advise their memver of Congress to vote for a health care reform bill, 40% against, and 25% don’t know. That 25% is more Democrats and Independents, so they need to be won over, perhaps by the reality of the bill helping them. (Cough, cough, too bad some genius designed most of the benefits to start years from now.)

An apology to Senator Tom Kean Jr. Yes, you read correctly.

People, I think we all need to take a deep breath. We don’t need to use the tactics of the worst of the other side. We’re the good guys. – promoted from the diaries by Rosi

Hi, Blue Jersey community – this morning I emailed a letter of apology to Senator Tom Kean Jr., which I include below in its entirety.  

But first, additional thoughts.  Personal tactics or those which cross a personal zone of privacy are never acceptable.   Our opponents have done that to me, as you’ll read below, and perhaps others on our side of the marriage equality issue.  We all have to be better than that.  

Yesterday, in a separate instance, I terminated the employment of a staffer who referred publicly to a different public figure in deeply inappropriate terms.  That, by the way, wasn’t a free speech issue; it was stupid conduct.

Back to Senator Kean.  He has been impeccably fair in this debate.  Yes, we may have had a different candidate for U.S. Senate back in 2006.  But it is to Tom Kean Jr.’s eternal credit that he has never held it against us in the marriage equality debate.  He and his office have been nothing but respectful, meeting with us and being as courteous as can be in every contact we’ve had with them.  

Not only did I send him the apology below, but I have also come to respect the guy very much, and I’m not kidding.  Now here’s the letter I emailed him this morning:

Dear Senator Kean,

Yesterday I learned, and read in the paper today, that people from the community, some wearing my organization’s buttons, appeared outside a family event of yours.  I am sickened by this.  Though that occurrence was in no way authorized by Garden State Equality – more than 10,000 people have our Equality buttons and more than 4,000 people have our Equality t-shirts from events over the past months – it certainly gave the appearance otherwise.

I recently had protesters opposed to marriage equality chant “God hates fags” outside a personal event of my own, so this kind of tactic is deeply upsetting to me.   Last week, someone called my home and left an anti-Semitic message.   I know how it feels to have a zone of privacy crossed.   Thus I am upset about what happened yesterday beyond words.  

I deeply apologize to you that anyone, but anyone, crossed a zone of privacy.   I don’t care how important an issue is to any one individual, organization or greater community.   Garden State Equality, and I as its leader, will never tolerate that kind of invasion of personal privacy.  

In fact, as the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday, a number of marriage-equality opponents praised Garden State Equality for how we conduct ourselves in the public arena with respect for their points of view.

On a personal level, I want you to know how much the organization and I respect you.  You have been a gentleman over the years and have been gracious in meeting with us and hearing our views.  No matter how you vote on this civil rights measure, we will continue to respect and appreciate you for your public service to the people of our state.

I extend to you and your family a joyous holiday season.

Sincerely yours,

Steven Goldstein

Chair and CEO

Garden State Equality

Well, look who voted against the tax amnesty program

It’s just amazing how bad Republican policies are in practice.  Joe Cryan just sent out a great rant pointing out that Republicans were against the tax amnesty program that seems to have saved the property tax rebate program:

“Today is a great day for taxpayers across New Jersey,” said Cryan.  “Governor Corzine’s leadership in keeping the state ahead of the curve during this national economic recession continues to pay off for New Jersey residents.  However, if the Christie Right Wing Republicans had their way the tax amnesty legislation would have never passed.  Christie campaign co-chairs Kean and DeCroce and party Chairman Webber all put politics ahead of helping New Jersey’s taxpayers.  They voted along partisan lines against a measure that was thoughtfully conceived during a national recession to provide added relief to responsible taxpayers by going after those who were delinquent.

These people are the primary supporters of Christie’s right wing agenda that would also see us deny federal money from President Obama’s economic recovery plan for education, job creation, unemployment insurance and the state budget deficit.  We now see clearly what the consequences of Christie’s policies would be: deny any and all proposals put forward to get the state through this national economic recession while continuing to provide the wrong answers for New Jersey, like denying property tax relief for our residents.”

Kean, DeCroce, Webber, and 16 other Republicans voted against the program.

Return the Cash, Senator Kean

Just last year, Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr. (R-Union) was running as an “ethical reformer” against Bob Menendez (D-Hudson) for the United States Senate.  Kean ran a negative campaign, hammering Menendez with allegations of unethical conduct, including accusations about campaign fundraising and donations.  Fast-forward less than a year and it is State Senator Kean on the receiving end of tainted campaign contributions. 

Tom Kean Jr. Counting Chickens

Rebounding from his loss in the race for United States Senate, PoliticsNJ reports Tom Kean Jr. is now working the miniscule ranks of State Senate Republicans for an election he thinks he can win – for Minority Leader, or what one of their commenters, commonsensenj, calls:

“the most thankless and pointless job in the State House”


While Junior distracts himself pounding the pavement for the 9 votes he would need for that coveted slot, Gina Genovese can concentrate on the voters of the 21st District whose votes really matter.

Remember – you can’t be Minority Leader unless you’re still in the Senate. Maybe we should help Gina explain that to him.

Update: NJ Politics Unusual had the beginnings of this 2 weeks before PoliticsNJ.

More on The US Attorneys Story

I’m doing this as a new diary simply because the previous one about US Attorney Chris Christie is so long that this update would get lost in the mass.

That diary raised questions about whether Christie had received or acceded to political pressure to investigate Democrats during last fall’s elections.  As many as US Attorneys have been fired or pressured to do so in the past few months, and some of them say it was because they refused to use their office politically to benefit the Republican Party.

Now Talking Points memo reports that the House Judiciary Committee sentsubpoenas the fired US Attorneys, and a lot more information may come out.

Remember Bud Cummins. He was the US Attorney from the Eastern District of Arkansas who got canned so Karl Rove’s opposition research chief could take over the job. Look closely at what he just told the Associated Press …

Cummins, U.S. attorney for Arkansas’ Eastern District from 2001-2006, said Thursday that he and other fired attorneys had “politely declined” previous requests from the committee. He said he “didn’t have any desire to stir up the controversy any further.”

“If given the choice, I’d elect to stay home and mind my own business,” Cummins told The Associated Press. “Now that I’m under subpoena, I’ll go and give cooperative, truthful answers.”

When asked if officials in the Justice Department or White House had asked him to decline the earlier requests, Cummins said he had no comment.

Again, one of those ‘no comments’ that says plenty.

This story may be getting bigger.  Again, we do not know how many US Attorneys got pressure to insert themselves into the political process in close elections, but we do know Chris Christie did insert himself in the Menendez/Kean Jr. campaign at a sensitive time.  We also know he has continued to issue subpoenas whenever NJ Democrats are making good news for themselves.

The House Judiciary Committee should not only subpoena the fired US Attorneys, but also ones who have not been fired.  They should start with ones who publicly investigated Democrats between Labor Day and the November election last fall. 

Unfortunately, there is no one from the NJ House Delegation on the House Judiciary Committee for us to call.

Some enterprising reporter should also ask US Attorney for the State of New Jersey Chris Christie if he received any such political pressure.  Christie has previously denied it, but with mounting evidence that others have been pressured the subject should be raised again.

Star Ledger Cites Keans claims, fails to point out they were false

While explaining Tom Kean Jr. talking points about how people care about corruption at the “wrap up” press conference, Deborah Howlett in the article, “For Kean, no regrets about run for Senate” cites the upticks in the polls after the that the U.S. Attorney’s office had issued subpoenas to a nonprofit agency in Hudson County.

They go on to claim that the benefit of the story to Kean was short lived because of ads run by Menendez. She goes in to state that Kean had “no money” to respond to the ads. 

No mention that Kean, then used the story to claim baselessly claim that it was Menendez and not the nonprofit agency that was under investion. Nor does she bother to mention other claims in regards to the agency were refuted by both the Star Ledger and the New York Time.  No mention that he had “no money” to respond because he continued to run with more baseless claims that continued to tarnish Keans image and improve Menendez’s position in the polls.

Father and Son

Anybody here remember “Father and Son,” that Cat Stevens generation-gap chestnut from 1970? You may recall that the future Yusuf Islam performed the song as a dialogue, singing the father’s words in a low sonorous voice, then going high and whiny for the misunderstood son.

That’s pretty much how the 2006 update sounds in today’s Star-Ledger, only this time the low sonorous half of the tune is coming from ex-governor Tom Kean, who sees Tuesday as a tsunami washing away good and bad Republicans alike, while the high and whiny part is sung by Tom Kean Jr., who warbles that his Senate campaign did absolutely everything right, except it fell a bit flat on the winning-the-election part.

Absent from the Dad Kean lyrics is any mention of how he pimped his credibility from the 9/11 Commission to endorse ABC’s crockudrama The Path to 9/11, a move that had nothing to do with truth-telling but probably had a great deal to do with trying to make Democrats look bad at the start of the fall campaign season. I guess we’ll have to see if that part of the song turns up as a bootleg.

Midterm Election Eve Newsroundup

  • According to the NY Times, the NJ Senate race is getting one last infusion of resourses.  President Clinton was in the Garden State stumping for Menendez and Junior got a visit from President Bush.  Well sort of.  All kidding aside, Junior out-raised Menendez in the final quarter but Senator Menendez still has about $2M more on hand than Kean, Jr which (trust funds aside) should be enough to rock the NJ vote to a democratic victory.  But don’t take my word for it, instead tell me what you are doing to ensure a Menendez victory.  Are you canvassing?  Phonebanking? Driving little old ladies to the polls?  Independent voters remain largely undecided, so there is still time to get out there and make a difference.
  • Remember back in the day — before the campaign reached a fevered pitch — when we talked about propTax relief all the time?  Well, the legislature in Trentonia is up against a Nov 15th deadline to do something to ease the burden.  Anything.  After years (decades?) of the highest propTaxes in the free world, I suspect most New Jerseyans are willing to be progmatic if it means relief is forthcoming.  I should admit that I am skeptical that homeowners will really get the entire 1/2 loaf, but I am encouraged that Assemblyman (and budget chair) Lou Greenwald agreed to pen a propTax Op-ed for us this weekend,  with an update about what’s been going on.  So, I will reserve any judgement until then.
  • Some movement on the UMDNJ mess.  There is talk about a 3-way merger of universities to streamline costs but this chatter comes on the heels of more scandal.  Meanwhile, Wayne Bryant is a turd and since the ethics panel in Trenton is “toothless” it’s up to bloggers and citizen activists to sound the alarm bells about Bryant’s malfeasance.
  • Finally, the NY times takes a look at one NJ stragety to tap into renewable energy sources and wonders if the answer (my friend) “Is blowing in the wind.”  Big wind mills are popping up in Atlantic City.  It’s a modest start, but it’s a start.  Any for the naysayers who call the turbines an “eyesore” I say this: all of AC is a bit of an eyesore, so a few windmills ain’t gonna mess with the feng shui one bit.