Tag Archive: Lautenberg

With Booker as the Democratic Nominee for the Special Election, NJ Progressives Face a Quandary

In what is no new news to Jersey Progressives, Cory Booker has unsurprisingly coasted to the Democratic Nomination for the late Sen. Lautenberg’s seat. He won over half of the vote, destroying Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Rush Holt, and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. I worked and did everything in my power to help Rep. Rush Holt try and pull the upset, but to no avail. Many Jersey progressives had been hoping and working for Holt and Frank Pallone in the hope that we New Jerseyans could get a genuine progressive voice in the Senate. Instead, it looks like we will be getting a “New” Democrat, a socially progressive, but pro-wall street and fiscally moderate to conservative democrat. The knee jerk reaction would be to support Mr. Booker over the Republican nominee, tea party wackjob Steve Lonegan, as a “hold your nose” vote.

However, due to the fact that there, in a addition to the bizarre October special election this year, will be another election in November 2014, we (NJ Progressives) have several options. I will outline the pros and cons of them in order to facilitate debate between NJ Progressives. I have broken them down into courses of action that may be taken.

Option #1-Write in Cory Booker

This idea, proposed by vmars, is a simple one-write in Cory Booker. Instead of voting for him on the line, we will write him in.

Pros: This is perhaps the best idea to express the Progressive discontent with New Democrats like Cory Booker. If people see that even if a few percent of his votes come from write-ins, people will realize that Cory Booker truly is no progressive. At the same time, he will be getting votes that will be keeping out tea partier, Steve Lonegan, affirming his status as the lesser of the two evils.

Cons: There are certain technical problems with this strategy. Comments on vmars’s column question whether voters are allowed to write in candidates on the ballot. Furthermore, Cory Booker is a rising star in the Democratic Party. Having him in the Senate will brighten his political star, and maybe allow him to look onto bigger things (cough cough President). Progressives do not want another powerful New Dem like Booker in a party infested with them.

Option #2-Write in a Progressive Candidate

Pros: It would once again show our discontent with Cory Booker. It would also raise recognition of progressive candidates like Rush Holt and Frank Pallone.

Cons: Should the election come close, these protest votes could act as a spoiler and hand the Senate seat over to Lonegan. In addition it would accomplish very little other than express discontent.

Option #3-Vote for “Crazy” Steve Lonegan

Pros: The most unorthodox and bizarre idea of them all, it could just work. I don’t foresee Steve Lonegan upsetting Cory Booker, or even coming close for that matter. But what if further dirt is dug up, revealing the Newark mayor to be more corrupt than we already know, and somehow Lonegan pulls off the upset? This would mean a re-match in 2014, and with Booker losing over scandal, the Democrats will never re-nominate him. Boom. That leaves the door open for Rush Holt and Frank Pallone to seek the nomination. With NJ voting for Lonegan as a “hold your nose vote”, this could very well lead Holt or Pallone to victory over Lonegan in 2014. There is no way that people though, will vote for Lonegan just because they like him and they think Booker is bad. Some sort of miracle would have to happen. In addition, a loss in the Senate race would kill Cory Booker’s political career.

Cons: This is by far, the riskiest option. With Lonegan in as the incumbent, he might have a shot at winning again in 2014. And he really is that horrible. He has expressed support for privatizing Social Security, calling it a “Ponzi” scheme, has said he would have opposed for FEMA aid for Sandy, and is likely a racist, as evidenced by his tweet. Having him though for one year in the Senate even, would be harmful, not to mention embarrassing for the Garden State. How do we know that a Progressive will even run though in 2014, should Lonegan win? Holt and Pallone might decline to run in 2014.

Option #4-Vote for Cory Booker

Pros: Booker, as disappointing as he is, is the lesser of the two evils to Steve Lonegan. Like Obama in 2012, by voting for Booker, Progressives could say they stood behind him, and hold his feet to the fire, and maybe be rewarded. And voting for him 2013 would give Liberals a chance to watch him under the microscope for a few months in order to decide whether it is worth challenging him in 2014.

Cons: With him winning in 2013, he would be a shoo-in for 2014. Even if we united behind Pallone or Holt in 2014, it would be impossible to take him down. Allowing him in would increase his political star.

So I ask you, NJ Progressives, what do we do?

Who can rally the Dems for victory in 2013?

The writer makes the case for a vigorous 2013 primary – promoted by Rosi

I recently attended a public sector union rally where Senator Lautenberg was the headline speaker.

It was a pretty good anti-Christie program, as I expected it to be given the malevolent relationship between Lautenberg & Christie.  The Rally was focused on the recently released NJPP report that details the dreadful effects of Christie’s public sector labor cuts have had on NJ’s economy and unemployment rate.

Many of the speakers were public sector union representatives.  The ones represented I can remember off hand were, AFL-CIO, NJEA, AFT, SEIU, & IAFF.   Members of the legislature that attended and spoke were Greenstein, Watson-Coleman, and Benson.  The message was clear.  Christie’s anti-union ideology has been bad for NJ, bad for our middle class, bad for our economy and thanks to the NJPP report, scientifically proven to be bad policy.

I found Bonnie Watson-Coleman to be particularly engaging.  She  led with the chant, “fired up, ready to go!”, referring to 2013 .  During her speech she reinforced the fact that on November 7th, 2012 it shall be time to begin the process to get rid of Christie.

There was energy in the room.  It is apparent to me that the energy cannot (and will not) be spent on a half-assed democratic,machine driven, Christiecrat candidates like Sweeney, Greenwald, or Booker.  

A Booker candidacy has been debated on Blue Jersey ad nauseum, leading to the conclusion that a Christiecrat candidacy is just what Christie would like…a divided democratic party that lacks the enthusiasm to propel the base and the machines to a coherent strategy to victory.

Speaker Oliver’s Bold Speech

promoted by Rosi

At the DSC State Convention in Atlantic City today, Speaker Sheila Oliver delivered an outstanding speech, emphasizing the need for Democrats to organize on a grass roots level to provide a credible alternative to Gov. Christie. Perhaps emboldened by the new poll showing Christie’s approval rating at 38 percent, Oliver found her way towards a bold vision of the future of the party that has been largely absent since the start of the Christie Administration.

Was she speaking for a reenergized Democratic Party in New Jersey – one that, as she suggested, would take their case directly to the people through their own town hall meetings to rival Christie’s, and focus energy on building a stronger grassroots base? Or telling a friendly audience of local electeds and the Democratic base what they wanted to hear? Only time will tell. But the speech stood out. More below the fold on why.

Why I love Frank Lautenberg (and hate bogus posturing)

promoted by Rosi

I got a little too worked up in the excitement of Haiku Day, which inspired this tribute to Frank Lautenberg:

Lautenberg Station

looms over the meadowlands.

The man knows transit.

(and how.)

I wrote that before even seeing the news about Lautenberg’s brokering to keep the ARC on track (as highlighted in Blue Jersey’s morning roundup).

I sometimes forget that even elected officials who serve as my personal stand-ins for Mr. Smith still have to meet the baseline requirement of anyone who hopes to succeed in politics: a sense of cunning when the situation calls for it. It’s rare, though, to see flexing of a god-given gift for calculation in pursuit of something meaningful. Usually it’s to win one battle in a long, bitter war.

I’m glad Lautenberg essentially said, “We’re getting this done one way or another, it’s a mistake to throw away billions of dollars for a once-in-a-generation opportunity for something so urgently needed, and if the public funds are obstructed, we’ll see what the private sector can do.”

find out more below the fold!

Jersey politicians don’t want Atlantic drilling

On Rachel Maddow’s show last night, a good overview of what happened, including David Axelrod’s backpedaling off President Obama’s xxxxxxxxxx and

A letter to the President xxxxx urged his

Read the letter here. Pallone’s interview starts around 4:50, and he uses his time to call for ramped up renewable energy initiatives:

You know, we live at the shore but we’d like to see offshore windmills [and] solar power.

Senator Bob Menendez talked about the spill for nearly a quarter-hour on the Senate Floor, and among revelations was a satellite map showing the size of the oil spill against the size of New Jersey’s land mass and shore line.

Cross Burnt in Hardwick: Community Sings

Unity March in Hardwick, New Jersey

In defiance of a cowardly act of ignorance and intimidation a community comes together to march for peace and form a circle of hope.


On the evening of the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections, an eight-year-old girl created a banner which read “President Obama – Victory ’08!” With a little help from her parents the banner was hung in their front yard. The next night the banner was stolen. Later it was returned, wrapped around a cross and on fire. On Saturday November 15th, a march and rally, organized by a group of concerned citizens and supported by the Warren/Sussex County branch of the NAACP, took place.

Speakers included Elaine Koplow, Gary Grewal, Kevin Duffy, Talia Young, and Melvin Warren.

The song “Heal the World With Me” was written by Andy Rajeckas and sung by Gwynne Michaels.

Watch the Video Over the Jump

Why Lautenberg Should Win.

There are several different reasons why I believe Senator Lautenberg will and should win.  

The most important issue to understand is that Andrews was a co-author of the war resolution in 2002 that got us into Iraq.  That’s it.  That is the end game.  But if you want to go further I surely can.

Senator Lautenberg is a high ranking member on the Appropriations Committee, the Budget Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Environment and Public Works Committee.  With his position on these committees, particularly the Appropriations and Budget committees, Senator Lautenberg has brought and will continue to bring more money and resources to New Jersey.  Whether or not one likes it, seniority makes a difference in the Senate and it would be very hard for any freshman Senator to gain a position on any important committee.

I could go on (date of filing, negative commercials, lack of funding, lack of campaign resources, etc.), but there is little reason to.  Senator Lautenberg has been a good member of Congress and has brought a lot to New Jersey and to the United States (preventing oil drilling, bringing more money to NJ security, fighting for health care, etc).

On June 3, it seems Senator Lautenberg will win, and I believe he should win for the reasons described above.  But that will only happen if people vote, so go vote!!!