I’m liking this list. Thanks, tabbycat. Hey, Blue Jersey, what’s on your list of stuff that needs to go bye-bye? – – promoted from the diaries by Rosi
As 2009 comes to a close, it’s the time to make lists reflecting the year that was and what the New Year should bring. In the “out with the old, in with the new” spirit, here’s 10 people/things that were prominent in New Jersey in 2009 that I think should be swept out when the ball drops tonight.
1) Chris Christie— Will this happen? Unfortunately, no. But a girl can dream can’t she? I worked very hard this election season on Jon Corzine’s campaign partially because the thought of Christie administration scared me. I saw Chris Christie and had visions of George W. Bush and Karl Rove and it made me work even harder for Corzine. Now as he’s Governor-elect, my best hope is that he’s not as bad as I envisioned during the campaign. That and hoping that Cory Booker’s political career remains scandal-free and he’s ready for Trenton in 2013.
2) Jennifer Beck – As a volunteer for Garden State Equality for much of 2009, we were targeting State Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth). I truly thought that she could be one of the Republicans to forget the party line and stand up and do her job, which is to vote on behalf of her constituents, who overwhelmingly favor marriage equality. During the Senate judiciary committee hearing on marriage equality, Beck remained silent the whole time, while staring at her cell phone. She personally supports marriage equality as do her constituents, but she voted no on the bill. Rumor has it that she has much higher political ambitions than state senator (such as challenging Frank Pallone for his congressional seat or becoming a member of the Christie administration), and most likely voting with her heart and against her party’s interest will harm those political ambitions, particularly after the Republicans came out with a purity test for candidates.
3) Reality TV shows that trash New Jersey’s Reputation-— Even though I am not a fan of reality TV, two shows of 2009 did more harm than good to the state of New Jersey. (I will also admit that I have never watched either show.) MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” did nothing positive for New Jersey, portraying New Jerseyans as loud, obnoxious, and spoiled. This is not true for most New Jerseyans I know, and we deserve better.
4) Political Corruption— During the summer of 2009, the New Jersey news was plagued by a corruption scandal that sent a total of 44 politicians and rabbis to jail for corruption and money laundering. New Jersey already had a reputation as “The Soprano State” and this just made our image to the country worse.
5) Gerald Cardinale— I never knew much about this guy until I watched the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on marriage equality. Some of the things that Senator Caridnale (R-Bergen) said were just vile and disgusting, and frankly I thought New Jersey was above those juvenile comments such as comparing marriage equality to polygamy. I guess bigotry comes in all shapes and forms, and in New Jersey its form is a dentist from Bergen County.
6) Lou Dobbs-While nobody knows the real reason why the CNN host resigned from his job, rumor has it that he has political ambitions-to challenge New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez in 2012. Lou Dobbs has a history of racism (particularly against Latinos), and I find it very ironic that he wants to challenge the lone Latino in the Senate. Hopefully this is just speculation, and New Jersey will not have to deal with politician Lou Dobbs.
7) The National Organization for Marriage-Unfortunately this group is headquartered in New Jersey, and until recently they spent most of their focus out of state. However now that the battle for marriage equality is in full swing here in NJ, they’re running the same vile ads that they’ve run in other states. The bottom line is that eventually they’re going to eventually be fighting a losing battle as there’s a huge generation gap when it comes to supporting marriage equality. The younger generation overwhelmingly supports it, and sees that if the gay couple down the street gets married, it has no effect on them whatsoever.
8) The New Jersey Democratic Party machine— I am writing this as a loyal New Jersey Democrat. I’ve been a foot soldier for the party in the last two elections, and we were handed a huge defeat in November. This does not have to be a trend. Blue Jersey has a wonderful thread about what the next New Jersey Democratic Party should do filled with strategies on how to engage voters, increase turnout, and get more people excited about politics.
9) Corporate Money’s Influence in politics-With the whole debate on health care reform that summed up 2009, the influence of the health industry’s money showed up in previously unknown politicians who were key in authoring legislation on healthcare reform (such as Max Baucus of Montana). When it came to change a few things regarding the pharmaceutical industry (allowing the government to negotiate with Big Pharma for lower drug prices and allowing importation of lower priced drugs from countries like Canada), both Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg voted on behalf of Big Pharma instead of the people of New Jersey. I get that New Jersey’s home to several of the pharmaceutical companies, but I also think that the American people should have access to lower drug prices the same way the rest of the world does.
10) Voter Apathy– One of the things that drives me crazy (especially after working on Corzine’s campaign) is that many voters feel that not liking a politician on the top of the ticket is reason to stay home on Election Day. This was especially true for younger and minority voters who were so excited about voting for President Obama last year (many were first-time voters in 2008). There’s not always going to be a candidate like President Obama on the ticket in every election, but that is no reason to stay home. I was raised to believe that voting is my civic duty, and that if I stayed home on Election Day, I lost my right to complain about anything politically related for the duration of the politician’s term. I wish more people shared my sense of civic responsibility. 2010 will be a tough election in New Jersey for turnout as there is no statewide race, and the House is at the top of the ticket. I hope that New Jersey Democrats prove everyone wrong like they could not do in 2009.