Tag Archive: Virginia

#NJSen: Man, Jeff Bell has some sad, bewildered ignoramuses behind his campaign.

Anti-gay ad against Cory Booker

The sheer stupidity of this accounts for the fact you’ve probably already seen it; it’s heavily shared. I’m sure the Virginia-based, fake official-sounding group that put it out – Public Advocate of the United States – thinks that’s because it’s nasty-ass message (um, pun) is resonating with voters. And actually, it’s because people are laughing at these idjits.

Cory Booker’s name’s misspelled (which they now say is “intentional,” like we haven’t all seen the mighty-righty, pious Christianity-claiming, get-off-my-lawners display that kind of ignorance before). Them, and the professional, well-funded groups that encourage their fear of others, convincing them their free-floating anxieties, or even their real concerns are because of whatever despised “other” they can direct people to resent.

As Matt Friedman tells us, the other side of the mailer – so pink – says that Jeff Bell filled out their group’s survey, earning a “100% pro-family rating”. And they refer to Bell, who’s never been elected to anything, “Senator.” Booker, they say, gets a 0% Pro-Family rating because of his praise for homosexual ‘marriage’ and co-sponsoring the Gay Bill of Special Rights. As though that’s a thing.

Bell & Booker are currently engaged in their one-and-only-debate this cycle. But we just tweeted to the dude (who btw has only 752 followers) asking if he intends to denounce the ad, which is so obviously is on his behalf. Feel free to RT.  

Brat, A Self-Made Phony Yet An Honest Representative of the Right

Hypocrisy, exaggeration and deception are part and parcel of democratic politics, but all lies, I have learned, are not equal, nor should they be received that way. Some lies are much more deceptive, cunning and misleading than others, as are the liars that tell them. A good example is currently winding its way through the web and blogosphere, and it concerns the current darling of the Tea Party, David Brat.

Brat’s unexpected primary victory against Republican Party Bigwig/Congressman Eric Cantor is huge news, and rightfully so. As a Tea Party favorite, Brat’s victory serves as a warning to more moderate Republicans that so-called free market, laissez-faire Tea Party values still hold credence with Republican voters.

The Tea Party and its Republican supporters live in a sort of “way we never were” cloud where America is (or should be) rightfully a white, Christian country comprised of English-speaking hard workers who, in their noble, honest self-sufficiency are not in need, nor desire, any welfare-state handouts like Medicare, Social Security or almost anything else state-sponsored or supported. They see themselves as the once marginalized but now awakened  “Silent Majority” whose time to stand up – unapologetically so – for American values and identity has arrived. According to Tea Partiers and many Republicans, people who get a “boost” from government programs are cheating an otherwise fair and square system which rewards hard work and honesty with The Good Life.

So wasn’t I surprised when I read that in his official campaign biography, Brat makes an astounding claim:

“[Brat] tested his rural values against the intellectual elite while at Princeton and against the powerful elite at American University.”

Okay, so from a reasonable reader’s perspective, the assertion here is immediately understood. Brat attended college as a sort of noble underdog undergraduate at Princeton University. The image is quite clear of a young conservative man standing up for good American Christian values in the profane, ivy covered halls of Princeton University…perhaps passionately defending the rights of the unborn against the Abortionist professors of that esteemed institution. Perhaps he made an entire U.S. government class gasp when he publicly proclaimed his stance against affirmative action or immigration or on some other hot button issue. So here’s the kicker:

It never happened.

Brat never gained admission to or graduated from Princeton University. He lied. He misrepresented himself and tried to convince his readers, supporters and others that he earned something that he did not.  

In reality, Brat apparently – though I still think this needs to be confirmed – attended Princeton Theological Seminary. Is the seminary geographically located in the town of Princeton? Why yes, it is. Is it known by anyone, past or present, as being part of Princeton University? No, not by a long shot. In fact, its students and graduates either call it by name or refer to it as “PTS.”

This is no small omission, and he shouldn’t get a break on it. America is indeed the land of fudged resumes, and of people reinventing themselves – sometimes twice over. But what we have here is a candidate who represents a movement that, like I mentioned earlier, is obsessed with merit and straightforwardness, and Brat, in his claims, honors neither. He’s a fraud and wannabe. His claims are an insult not just to Princeton alumni, but rather, to any and all of us who ever worked and earned a four-year college degree anywhere. Its especially stinging for those of us burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in college loans that the Tea Party demands we repay regardless of the cost to our families and the national economy. He’s a fake, a phony. He’s pathetic.

But curiously enough, I will concede that Brat is a fine representative of the entire Tea Party movement, and that of the Republican Party as well. Because if you do really believe that you’ve earned everything in your life, and that you owe nothing to your society or nation or community, then you’re about as much as a hypocrite as he is. The truth is that most if not all Americans have received immense benefits, both directly and indirectly, from the various levels of government over the course of their lifetimes. Whether it was attending public school, driving on an interstate highway, breathing in relatively clean air, gaining a benefit from an unadulterated medication, cashing a Social Security/Medicare check or sending an email – we have all proven to be welfare kings and queens. We have all advanced at some point in our lives from the imperfect largesse of the Federal and State governments.

And you don’t need a Princeton degree to figure that one out.  

A Conversation with Jeff Tittel

The Christiepalooza is over. He didn’t save the world, or for that matter, the party. He’s also not about saving the environment, as this interview attests to.

One of the things you didn’t hear about from the governor (or from any of the speakers) at last night’s GOP love-fest was anything on our precious environment. Governor Christie has been on the side of the Koch Brothers pro-pollution agenda for some time. Earlier this week, after the press conference on wind energy, I spoke with Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, on fracking, Barnegat Bay, and Mitt Romney’s “drill, baby, drill” agenda and its impact here.

Virginia Offshore Oil Lease Sale Suspended

Today, the Obama Administration suspended the plans to drill off Virginia.

…the Interior Department has indefinitely suspended plans for an oil and gas lease sale off the Virginia coastline…

“The Department of the Interior is temporarily postponing public meetings on potential offshore activities so that information from the ongoing review of OCS safety issues that the president has directed can be appropriately considered in those meetings,” Interior spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez said.

There are good discussion at Blue Virginia and Environment Virginia. Longtime Blue Jersey readers may remember discussions of this issue by our Congressmen and us in 2006, 2008, and even 2010 before the latest Gulf spill.  Senator Menendez praised today’s action and says he would like to make the suspension permanent:

“The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, like the disaster last year in Australia, has opened a lot of eyes to the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘Too Safe to Spill’ oil rig. I am certainly glad that the administration acknowledges this and has pressed the Pause button. I hope that we can soon press the Stop button. I have made it clear that I will not support any legislation that does not include significant safeguards for the Jersey Shore, and that stands. We need to transition from 19th Century fuels sources to a 21st Century green economy that creates jobs, and this understanding should be reflected in climate change legislation.”

Poll: If Democrats turn out after all, the race is close

The latest Monmouth/Gannett New Jersey poll is out, and the headline is “Christie Continues to Lead, But It Depends on Who Votes.”

To understand what they mean, let’s take a little day trip over to Virginia, where polls have shown the Democrat Creigh Deeds slowly gaining on the Republican Bob McDonnell.  As TPM’s Eric Kleefeld says about PPP’s polls:

In the top-line, McDonnell still leads with 49% to Deeds’ 42%. However, this is a big shift from the 51%-37% McDonnell lead from a month ago. There has been a significant shift in the make-up of the likely voter pool: A month ago, respondents had voted for McCain by a 52%-41% margin, while the new pool is at McCain 49%-45%. This is still a long way from the actual result last fall, when Obama carried the state 53%-47%.

Are we really going to have this year’s elections decided by the people who went for Bush, and don’t have any regrets? PPP finds evidence Democrats are getting more excited even in South Carolina. So turnout is key. Let’s come back home, and see what Patrick Murray’s Monmouth/Gannett poll found:

Among likely voters, Christie now holds an 8 point advantage over Corzine – 47% to 39% – with 5% for independent Chris Daggett. While this is similar to the Republican’s lead in July, it is down from the 14 point advantage he held in August, when Christie led Corzine by 50% to 36%….

Another indication that this race is far from settled is how the race stands when the preferences of all registered voters are considered, including those both likely and unlikely to vote on November 3rd. Among all registered voters, the “horse race” narrows to basically a tie, 41% for Corzine and 40% for Christie. The Republican had a 4 point lead among registered voters in the August poll and a 6 point lead in July.

I don’t think we should jump for joy: There’s nothing good about an incumbent at 41% in the polls. But we should keep in mind that here in New Jersey, down in Virginia, and nationwide there’s pretty good swing waiting to be had, if we can just  get our voters “fired up.” How to do it? Hard work by the staffers and volunteers, for sure, but that’s not enough. Let me know what you want to see.  

Mixed news on off-shore drilling

I was happy to see that the new Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, has stopped the Bush plan to drill off the Atlantic coast:

The Bush proposal “opened the possibility of oil and gas leases along the entire Eastern seaboard, portions of offshore California and the far eastern Gulf of Mexico with almost no consultation from states, industry or community input,” Salazar said at a news conference in Washington. “In my view it was a headlong rush of the worst kind.”

Obviously that’s an important development for New Jersey.  However, Senator Bob Menendez is pointing out that this actually only blocks Bush’s 2010-2015 five year plan, and not the 2007-2012 plan:

“Secretary Salazar is doing the right thing by fully examining the prospect of unfettered coastline drilling issue before making any determinations. This is a departure from the previous administration, which seemed intent on rubber stamping the oil companies’ agenda. However, I still have serious concerns about the prospect of drilling off the coast of Virginia, less than 100 miles from New Jersey, because those plans remain in effect.

“I am only interested in energy policy that looks out for New Jersey families, not oil companies. Every reasonable study to date has shown that the oil along our coastline is years away from delivery and simply is not plentiful enough to significantly lower our energy costs. By bringing real change to our energy policy and emphasizing renewable energy instead of oil, we can create jobs, provide families with low-cost energy options and free ourselves from the shackles of foreign oil. On top of that, we can protect our shoreline, which is a state treasure and major economic driver for New Jersey families. I am hoping that the administration, after careful study of the issue, agrees with these conclusions and helps put us on a path to a new, more economical energy future.”

NJ-04: Zeitz Campaign Challenges Smith Voter Registration

The Zeitz for Congress campaign today requested that the Mercer County Superintendent of Elections investigate Chris Smith’s voter registration, and revoke it if she discovers fraud.

The Facts:

1) Smith filed for, and received, in-state tuition rates for his children attending Virginia public colleges.

2) In Virginia, dependent students are assigned the residency of their parents for determining tuition rates.

3) Virginia code requires the parents to have “abandoned any previous domicile,” in New Jersey in order to receive the $80,000 tuition breaks.

4) Chris Smith claims he was legally entitled to these benefits reserved for Virginians, but won’t produce the documentation to confirm his claim.

More after the jump.


Casting A Ballot Proves Daunting For Former Felons

Cross-posted at Project Vote’s blog, Voting Matters

Weekly Voting Rights News Update

By Erin Ferns

“…Too many people do not understand or exercise their voting rights, and as a result, entire segments of our population – and especially formerly incarcerated individuals – are being underrepresented at the polls on Election Day.” – New Jersey Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark)