Tag Archive: Joe Pennacchio

Does Andy Unanue approve this message?

New Jersey Republicans have been freaking out for the past few weeks about the prospect of running either Joe Pennacchio or Murray Sabrin against Senator Lautenberg.

Sabrin is the Ron Paul libertarian type (though not really: he’s for a constitutional ban on abortion, a national language, etc): 1/3 good ideas, 1/3 “interesting” ideas and 1/3 absolutely crazy ideas.

Pennacchio wrote a manifesto in 1991 (that just got unearthed) that actually had a lot of good ideas in it (which Republicans hate), but he’s since renounced most of those anyway. But it also had controversial stuff about how women are equal (but not really) to men and about putting homeless people onto military bases. And the whole thing overcompensates a bit on the issue of race. My favorite line reminds me of Joe Biden: “Shelby Steele, a black English professor at San Jose’ State has written eloquently on American race relations.”

Since Anne Estabrook dropped out of the race, Republicans have been throwing out all kinds of names as potential third options. Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Al Leiter and lately, Andy Unanue – former COO of Goya Foods.

The last one stuck and he threw his hat in the ring yesterday. And it’s funny how giddy Republicans are about him. NJ GOP chair Tom Wilson:

“The opportunity to put a different face on the Republican Party and have a candidate who is young, Hispanic and so dynamic excites a lot of the party leaders right now.”

That is quite a different face. They’re going from running a disgusting, racist campaign against Senator Menendez in 2006 to running a Hispanic of their own less than two years later.

The GOP still doesn’t get it. You don’t automatically win over Hispanics or blacks or any other group just by running them for office. You start by not being so racist and scapegoating them for all of the country’s problems.

I don’t know very much yet about Unanue, but I do wonder how it must feel to be drafted by and agree to run with the party that used your ethnicity to scare voters in the prior election.



Does Andy Unanue approve this message?

NJ GOP prays this Easter for a savior

This Easter weekend New Jersey’s Republican leaders are praying desperately in their country club hangouts as they anxiously await a decision next week by a potential messiah who will deliver them from the yoke of having to choose between the lesser of two clowns to run against Frank Lautenberg.  Andy Unanue is young, articulate, moderate and most important, as heir to the largest Hispanic-owned business in the US (Goya Foods), fabulously wealthy and willing to finance his own campaign.  

The real challenge for the chablis-and-brie country club set will be getting their chosen savior passed the gauntlet of reactionary Pharisees who seem to be coalescing around “Ron Paul wannabee” Murray Sabrin.

The small but potent group of Pharisee wingnuts in the NJGOP is alreadygearing up to politically crucify Andy Unanue should he have the temerity to defy their aspiration to win the primary for Sabrin.  Expect the mud-slinging (mostly in one direction) to be fast and furious.      

Sabrin calls “Jersey Joe” fascist

Things are really getting ugly in the NJ Senate race with Murray Sabrin’s latest salvo at “Jersey Joe”.  This time he calls Joe “fascist” for some political ramblings he wrote seventeen years ago, and demands he drop out of the race.  Interesting, and hypocritical, that the 1997 Libertarian Party candidate for Governor would imply “Jersey Joe” is extremist.  I was involved with Sabrin’s 1997 campaign, and some of the people I met were from the far reaches of the outer limits as far as the political mainstream is concerned.  Among them was campaign operative Hal Turner whose expressed views would make David Duke blush with embarrassment.

With Murray and “Jersey Joe” going at it like two wrestlers in a no-holds-barred, no disqualification barbed wire cage match, Frank Lautenberg might just as well take a six month vacation cruise and still coast to reelection.  

“Endorsement?” for Murray Sabrin

It seems Murray Sabrin hasn’t picked up any major endorsements since Anne Estabrook saved herself from further embarrassment by withdrawing from the race.  However, not to be outdone by “Jersey Joe” Pinnocchio in showing off his support, Murray has a link to a newspaper endorsement of his campaign.  The problem is the name of the newspaper isn’t mentioned, and the article refers to his opponent as former State Senator William Gormley.  Apparently this “endorsement” is from Murray’s failed 2002 primary campaign for Senator.  I guess Murray can’t get any support for his 2008 campaign, so he has to dig up an endorsement from six years ago.  Next he’ll probably try endorsements from his Libertarian campaign for Governor, and if that doesn’t work he can always dig up old report cards.

Lautenberg Rising

Sen. Lautenberg is not someone who comes immediately to mind when thinking of prominent Democratic senators in Washington, at least to me. From Kennedy’s prominence in major debates to Biden’s questioning of supreme court nominees — Lautenberg is not such a posturing figure for the limelight.

But to say that Lautenberg does important work for the state and the country would be an understatement: His work on transportation funding, the environment, FISA and constitutional rights, among other measures. Lautenberg has received an “A” from the Drum Major Policy Institute for his attention to middle class legislative concerns, and he is unapologetically pro-choice. Recently, Lautenberg has been given more committee assignments, and he is ranked as the 44th most influential U.S. senator.

Poll: Lautenberg leads all Republican challengers

Rasumussen polling released today shows Senator Frank Lautenberg defeating any of the three leading Republican contenders: Anne Estabrook, Joe Pennacchio and Murray Sabrin.

Rasmussen, Feb 27, MoE +/-5%

Lautenberg: 44%

Estabrook:  34%

Lautenberg: 46%

Pennacchio: 38%

Lautenberg: 46%

Sabrin:     31%

Lautenberg’s favorability rating is 51%-39%. The three Republicans are still relatively unknown.

Joe Pennacchio, Terrorist Loving Cheney Sycophant

Harsh, you say? Well, it’s hard to argue with the facts.

In a recent campaign press release covered by PoliticsNJ’s Matt Friedman and referenced earlier by our own SJBrian, likely future US Senate candidate, actual current State Senate candidate, and professional Dentist Joe Pennacchio of Montville attacked Senator Frank Lautenberg for… standing up to terrorists.

Right now, Senators Lautenberg and Menendez are standing united with New York Senators Clinton and Schumer to block the nomination of Gene Cretz as ambassador to Libya. Their objection is that Libya, a state sponsor of terrorism, has never truly paid for its crimes.

The Senate Democrats, led by Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, said no U.S. ambassador should set foot in Tripoli until Libya fulfilled the financial commitments made to the victims’ families.

“Libya must no longer be allowed to drag its feet and the U.S. must not pursue fully normalized diplomatic relations with Libya until they fulfill their legal obligations to American families,” Lautenberg said in a statement.

Joe Pennacchio, however, is apparently of the mindset that we ought to open normalize relations with Libya to “reward responsible behavior.” Dictator Qaddafi’s ‘responsible behavior,’ in Pennacchio’s mind, includes having “admitted a role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103,” according to his statement. To Pennacchio, it seems mass murder is okay as long as you at least ‘fess up to it. Meanwhile, other reputable international organizations characterize Libya as a nation that engages in the vicious torture, murder, and unlawful detention of both journalists and dissidents.

But what’s really insane to me is that Pennacchio, as I mentioned earlier, is a resident of Montville. For years, one of the most outspoken advocates of justice for Libya has been Montville resident Kathleen Flynn, who lost her son John Patrick Flynn in Libya’s bombing of Pan Am 103. When the Bush adminstration announced that they would be opening diplomatic relations with the Qaddafi regime in Libya, she told USA Today that “the moral compass of this administration is so off-kilter.”

So if Pennacchio isn’t speaking for his constituents in championing the cause of ‘rewarding’ Libya, then who is he speaking for?

As indicated in the headline, this is where Dick Cheney comes into the picture. As the CEO of Halliburton in the nineties, Cheney was one of the leading voices in the push to restore diplomatic ties with Libya. The motive, of course, was profit. The Washington Post has an excellent history of the company’s relationship to Libya at their website.

Halliburton came under fire in the early ’90s for supplying Libya and Iraq with oil drilling equipment which could be used to detonate nuclear weapons. Halliburton Logging Services, a former subsidiary, was charged with shipping six pulse neutron generators through Italy to Libya. In 1995, the company pled guilty to criminal charges that it violated the U.S. ban on exports to Libya. Halliburton was fined $1.2 million and will pay $2.61 million in civil penalties.
. . .
During his chairmanship of Halliburton, Cheney criticized U.S. sanctions against “rogue” nations such as Iran and Libya in a 1998 speech. According to a July 26, 2000, Washington Post story, Cheney complained the sanctions “are nearly always motivated by domestic political pressure, the need for Congress to appeal to some domestic constituency.”

Unsurprisingly, in April of 2001, just three months after taking office, The Washington Post reported that Cheney’s energy task force recommended that sanctions against Libya and other rogue states be restructured as they impacted “some of the most important existing and prospective petroleum producing countries in the world.”

Joe Pennacchio’s position is clear. When it comes to chosing sides, it’s Dick Cheney and Big Oil over his own constituents fighting to bring a terrorist state to justice.