Dirty politics? In New Jersey?
Dear New Jersey politicians (and your political puppeteers), thank you for never letting me down. In an era when the political process is trusted by no one you have somehow figured out a way to scratch a little more trust off.
The Courier-Post, a newspaper I have in the past (and with some regularity) ridiculed for having the laziest reporters I’ve ever met, pulled out an impressive expose of the dirty politics in one South Jersey race. According to the article, the local Democrat political machine created a fake Tea Party candidate to siphon votes (money?) from a Republican candidate, apparently with the okay of the Democrat candidate.
New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District seat is contested by incumbent Democrat John Adler and Republican Jon Runyan. The well-respected former Philadelphia Eagles lineman is a newcomer to the political game, however, he’s become a serious threat to Adler’s hold on the seat.
The Democrat machine in South Jersey does not like to lose. I can only recall one election in recent memory where the Camden County Democratic Committee (the folks managing Adler’s campaign) didn’t get their candidate into high-profile office – the 2009 election for Mayor of Camden, NJ. Dana Redd beat out the hand-picked Nilsa Cruz-Perez in the Democrat mayoral primary. While Camden is a train wreck of a town, it gets a ton of state and federal aid, which often gets spent in very familiar pockets year after year. The CDCC wanted that position to stay in-house.
What bothers me about the fake Tea Party candiate issue is how poorly crafted the whole deal was. I expect things like this in my beloved “Soprano State,” but I also expect the political bosses to get away with it.
In these times, where everyone has a voice thanks to the Internet, and just enough anonymity to say what they want, don’t you think someone may say something to pique the interest of a local news organization. Who clumsily fakes a Joe Nobody Tea Party candidate in the hopes of damaging your Republican opponent? My goodness, what would Tammany Hall’s Boss Tweed, the patron saint of political graft and deceit, have to say about that?
If you’re going to do it, do it right. Find a bona fide candidate who makes some noise and then back him through a shell PAC. Don’t have a couple of your known CCDC operatives run the campaign for him.
I adore politics. I really do. It’s the 21st century equivalent of a gladiator fight. But what do we remember about the gladiators? They were merely the slaves of others. The Tea Party, the real Tea Party, has one thing right, it’s time for politics to be removed from the grasp of corporations. I don’t know what the percentage is, but I’m convinced that most of our federal politicians are bought by corporate interests. The days of Republican and Democrat values determining the political process are long gone, perhaps they were never there. If you want to know how a key political vote is going to turn out, figure out whose interests will be best served. I assure you, it’s not necessarily the interests of the voter.
I don’t know how this story will end. It’s unclear if any laws were broken. Right now, there’s only one politician I can implicitly trust, the Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie (sorry, Dad). I don’t care that he’s a Republican conservative. I do care that he’s a former federal prosecutor who made his bones busting corrupt New Jersey politicians on both sides of the aisle. If anyone can figure out this mess I’m hoping it’s him.
- South Jersey Tea Party candidate was a Democratic plant, report says (nj.com)
- Adler denies allegation he recruited third-party candidate (philly.com)