Did you catch the many creative ways Raymond Bateman referred to Frank Lautenberg’s age in his op-ed yesterday, State’s North-South divide heating up? Why, it almost seems that the former Senate President (and holder of the LD-16 Senate spot before Kip) has caught on to the fact that Frank Lautenberg is old. Whoa, nothing escapes him.
“Even as the deadline nears for legislative action on this massive set of changes, New Jersey’s aging (88 years old) U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg …”
“It was predicted to be a close primary battle between North and South, between youth (Andrews, 50) and age (Lautenberg, 84).”
“The bad vibes from Lautenberg’s negative assessment of the New Jersey higher ed changes may well hurt him if he runs (at 90 years old) in 2014.”
“Frank Lautenberg is the oldest member of the U.S. Senate. In 2014, if he so chooses, he will be campaigning in his 90th year.”
You know what happens to old people sometimes. They get forgetful and say the same thing over and over? Maybe Bateman keeps forgetting he already told us how old Lautenberg is. Bateman’s op-ed is a GOP hatchet job meant to further wedge Democrats apart by reminding them what they don’t like about each other. And, oh yeah, that Frank Lautenberg is old. Bateman’s 85; I guess he has 3 years before he’s walking into walls, and neglecting personal hygiene. Offensive, right? Right. No less offensive when Bateman indulges in ageist stereotype.
Here’s the thing: I don’t care how old Frank Lautenberg (or anybody else) is, as long as he’s doing his job. Same reason I thought Ronald Reagan’s deft turnaround on age in the Reagan-Mondale debate was bang-on. Same reason why fat isn’t the reason Chris Christie’s a bad governor. These are extraneous issues. Distractions. Shiny objects. Besides, Lautenberg can kick plenty of the asses that make a move on him. When he can’t, he’ll let us know or the voters will. Sweeney isn’t going to tell me. Rob Andrews failed at it. And Bateman is in no position to.
Sen. Bateman, why the hell should I care what you have to say at 85 if you’re telling me that at 88, Frank Lautenberg is too dotty to listen to? Ditto the fat man’s suggestion Lautenberg should retire. Ditto the Leaders Fund PolitickerNJ ad calling Lautenberg “bizzare” (oh, you mean as in dementia?) and signed by a whole list of mostly South Jersey Democrats itchy to convince us only people in the north question the wisdom of allowing Rowan to subsume Rutgers-Camden, and Lautenberg represents only those people. Get serious.
A few days ago, Sweeney told Lautenberg “this Rob Andrews stuff has to end”. As though anybody but the Norcross gang ever brings that up. As though Lautenberg questioning what everybody else in NJ (including South Jersey) is questioning on the Rut-Ro merger was some kind of leftover vendetta (it was Andrews who chose to base his campaign on little more beyond “Frank is old”, a big loser strategy).
Ray Bateman sounds ridiculous. That’s GOP-flavored silliness, to bang a wedge in further, the idea that the Rutgers-Rowan merger is in trouble because Democrats hate each other (instead of hating really crappy, poorly thought-out plans affecting thousands of people for decades to come). But there’s plenty for Democrats to own up to here, too. Sounding just as ridiculous is the squalling and shrieking eminating from the South Jersey machine whose mastermind used to be wedged further under a nice protective rock. That may be unkind, probably is, but unelected people manipulating policy while remaining unaccountable and with motive shielded and untransparent while they do it make me cranky.
Let the Rutgers-Rowan merger be decided on facts, after study, careful cost analysis, and input from the old ones and the young ones, the fat and the thin, and with the proper consideration such a tremendous move requires. That’s it.