Conservative Conundrum

By Art Gallagher

Paul Mulshine wrote a blog post last week wherein he wittingly or not shed light on the puzzle of New Jersey’s conservative ideologues.

Mulshine was tauting a post by the blogger formerly known as Manly Rash that suggested that NJ GOP Chairman Jay Webber should be replaced because he canceled a meeting of the State GOP Committee.  Conservatives have been upset that the NJGOP has not adopted the GOP’s 2008 National Platform, particularly its pro-life planks. 

The various NJ Tea Parties and Steve Lonegan’s Americans for Prosperity had planned to demonstrate at the scheduled meeting in order to gain support for various proposed resolutions before the committee,” Support for the Governor’s reforms at the DRPA, Joining the lawsuit against Obamacare, Stopping the implementation legislation for Obamacare in New Jersey, Support for New Jersey Citizens’ right to privacy when flying (TSA pat-downs), and Repealing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which is New Jersey’s own version of the Obama administration’s “Cap and Trade” energy tax,” according to Rash.

Webber said he canceled the meeting because he and other members were busy in Trenton with the legislature in session.  The ideologue conservatives adopted a conspiracy theory that Webber cancelled the meeting to silence them.

This conservative blogger supports each of the initiatives that Rash wrote of and supports the pro-life plank of the National GOP platform.  This conservative blogger also supports Jay Webber and Governor Chris Christie.  The latter has earned me the RINO label from some.  I’ve even been nicknamed Arlen.

Mulshine says, conservatives are supposed to stand on principle.  He says Webber violated principle when threw his support to Chris Christie in the 2009 GOP Gubernatorial primary over Steve Lonegan.   The principle of “Lonegan was perhaps the cheapest skinflint ever to run for office in this great state. He really meant to cut state government.” 

The principle that Webber, Christie, and even Senator Mike Doherty who has earned the Loneganites scorn, are guilty of violating  is the principle of irrelevancy. The cutting your nose off dispite yourself principle.

Yet Mulshine surprised me in his blog post.  Despite his nearly constant criticism of Christie for not fulfilling all of his campaign promises in 11 months, Mulshine wrote this line that demonstrates that he can occassionally see beyond his blinders:

“Webber, despite his conversion, is a huge improvement on Tom Wilson, the prior chairman, who agitated for driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. And Christie, despite his flaws, is a huge improvement over Jon Corzine.

But this is just another reminder that the New Jersey Republican Party has a long way to go.”

My apologies to Tom Wilson.

The New Jersey Republican Party does have a long way to go.  However, it has come further in the last year under the leadership of Christie and Webbler than any observer could have predicted.   Had Lonegan been the GOP nominee in 2009, a battle that Mulshine and many other ideological conservatives keep fighting 18 months after they lost it, Jon Corzine would still be governor.  Much of the progress the GOP made this year, in New Jersey and nationally, would not have happened.  More importantly, much of the progress New Jersey made this year would not have happened.

The conundrum of conservative ideologues is that they are more likely to be right, “standing on principle” and lose as they watch life get worse than they are to work with those they agree with on most issues and win.

It’s easier to be right and be a wind bag than it is to win and do the hard work of correcting decades of damage while in the minority.  Rash says leadership is standing on principle.  Yet, thanks in large measure Christie’s work this year, Democrats in Trenton are adopting smaller government principles.  Which is more effective leadership?  Going down in defeat while being right  and then wind bagging or having your political adversaries shift their agenda?  I’ll take the latter.

As we head into 2011 with the entire State Legislature up for reelection, ideologues have a critical choice to make.  Based upon history one might expect them to undermine the progress by targeting otherwise “safe” Republican legislators in primaries with more ideologically pure opponents.  All that would accomplish is to put safe seats at risk.

The smarter and more difficult choice would be to work with, rather than against, those they agree with most of the time to pick up Democratic seats in the legislature.  The ideologues would serve New Jersey better by focusing their criticism on potentially vulnerable Democrats and shifting their focus, even if only temporarily, away from RINOs.  

If the “hard right” can move public opinion in New Jersey to the right, as was done nationally this year, RINOs and Democrats will follow.

Posted: December 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: NJ GOP | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments »

16 Comments on “Conservative Conundrum”

  1. Joe said at 1:06 pm on December 27th, 2010:

    Bravo, Art. I think the same can be said of Little supporters, who are happy to lose by a wide margin than to have seen Diane Gooch beat Frank Pallone.

  2. Gene Hoyas said at 1:12 pm on December 27th, 2010:

    1. You refer to me as “the blogger formerly known as Manly Rash” even though you know my name is Gene Hoyas. Then you gratuitously refer to me as “Rash” in the rest of your post, despite the fact that the post in question was published at Conservative New Jersey.

    2. I am not the author of piece you refer to – it was written by Rob Eichmann.

    If you want to be taken seriously, Art, then I suggest you get your facts straight.

  3. BillW said at 2:03 pm on December 27th, 2010:

    That’s definitely the laugh of the day — a blogger who called himself Manly Rash lecturing someone else on how “to be taken seriously”.

  4. Richard Zuendt said at 4:09 pm on December 27th, 2010:


    For someone who is suppose to be highly educated, it is funny how you cannot read the correct name of the author of a post on the number one political site in New Jersey. As Gene points out, it is Rob Eichmann who wrote the post that you refer to.

    Rob, like myself, are Republican County Committee members who feel that it is about time for the State Committee leadership to either follow the rules as outlined in the by-laws or relinquish to those who will actually run the party the correct way. For Webber to use such a lame excuse as they were busy in Trenton with the legislature in session is just plain crap.
    If he does not have either the time or commitment to run the State Committee as it is suppose to be run, which is within the by-laws, he should step aside and allow others to run it. I know many who are more than willing to make that commitment.

    So instead of defending incompetence, why not demand performance?

  5. ArtGallagher said at 6:42 pm on December 27th, 2010:


    I didn’t know your real name. Now I do. You may recall that the one or two times I ran into along the campaign trail this fall I addressed you as Colonel, as in Colonel Manly Rash, the pseudonym you gave yourself.

    Now that I know your real name I will address you by it when I see you and refer to you by it when and if I write about you or your blog again.

    I looked throughout your site, Gene, looking for your real name before I wrote this piece. Couldn’t find it. Didn’t see a by-line for Rob either.

    I already know I’m taken seriously, thank you. And thanks for clearing up those missing facts. You might want to post them at your place too.


    I think you meant “supposed” not “suppose,” but don’t sweat it. Despite by first class education I make more typos than I like as well. I also think you were referring to ConservativeNewJersey. The author’s names were not posted there. Nor were they mentioned on politickernj, the number 1 political website in New Jersey.

    As a former county committee member and former municipal chairman, the thought of you or Rob having any influence over who the State Chair would be is terrifying. The thought that either of you would know “the right way” is laughable.

    Here’s an idea that might be foreign to both of you. Instead of fighting with someone like me, or Webber, who agree with you the majority of the time on the issues, how about trying to pursuade, educate or convert some moderates or liberals. Should you take on this challenge, and the challenge of my post, I suggest you choose other than an angry style.

    Its easy to be an angry flame throwing RINO hunter. It is a great deal more challenging to actually influence another’s thinking.

  6. TR said at 7:59 pm on December 27th, 2010:

    I am a conservative. Sometimes it is better to stand on principle and loose but not all the time. It is also not smart to arrack “liberal” Republicans even when they agree with you like many “conservative” bloggers do.
    Lonegan would not have won. Christie did win. I don’t agree with Christy about a lot of things but he is advancing a large part of our agenda. We can get more of it advanced with honey rather then vinegar.
    I read the posts on sites like CIA and these people really need to read some books on strategy.

    Joe, Your a dreamer Gooch would not have done any better. She should run in her own district.

  7. Richard Zuendt said at 9:19 pm on December 27th, 2010:


    First off, the authors names for all posts on Conservative New Jersey are listed, you only have to look right past the time post. It is not rocket science.

    I for one am glad to know that you are no longer either a committee chairperson or county committee member, it makes our task easier.

    On the subject of laughable, unfortunately it is an adjective that best describes the current State Republican Leadership, not those who are trying to change it.

    As far as your idea, that is exactly what we are doing, but unfortunately it has proven to be impossible to show either you or Jay Webber the error of your progressive ways.

  8. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » Tomorrow’s Another Day said at 10:36 pm on December 27th, 2010:

    […] This morning started out as expected.  Looking out the window I could see the winds were still very strong.  The white caps on the bay were more ferocious than I’d ever seen before. None of the streets in downtown Highlands appeared to be cleared.  A few brave souls were trying to dig out their cars to get to work.  Today was going to be a long day, but there was no rush at 6:30am.  Today was going to be a clean up day, not a business day.  There was time to tweak Paul Mulshine and the ideologues. […]

  9. Right said at 11:50 pm on December 27th, 2010:

    Nailed it, Art.

    These idiots have never led anybody toward anything. I am an Internet conservative junkie, and never heard of their “most read” blog until you wrote about it. These guys are the electronic equivalent of a circle jerk.

    Christie is kicking ass and getting things done like no one has. Let’s support him instead of tearing him down.

  10. Gene Hoyas said at 12:37 am on December 28th, 2010:

    Art writes: “I didn’t know your real name. Now I do. You may recall that the one or two times I ran into along the campaign trail this fall I addressed you as Colonel, as in Colonel Manly Rash, the pseudonym you gave yourself.”

    You were standing next to me at the Little vs Pallone debate. I was wearing my CNJ press badge and I believe I handed you my CNJ business card. No biggie. Now you know who I am.

  11. Gene Hoyas said at 12:44 am on December 28th, 2010:

    Right writes: “I am an Internet conservative junkie, and never heard of their “most read” blog until you wrote about it.”

    It appears this is your lucky day, Right. And yes, according to Alexa, CNJ is the most widely read conservative political blog in New Jersey.

    When you get the chance, mosey on over to http://www.conservativenewjersey.com and peruse our archives. You might learn a thing or three.


    Gene Hoyas

  12. BillW said at 8:06 am on December 28th, 2010:

    Congratulations, Art. It looks like your simple post produced a convention of the Tinfoil Hatters — Dick Zuendt, Rob Eichmann, and Gene Hoyas (aka Manly Rash, who hopefully will get that undoubtedly uncomfortable condition cured in the New Year).

  13. ArtGallagher said at 10:14 am on December 28th, 2010:

    Gene and Ed,

    Still no by-lines. Not under the time stamp or anywhere else I can see. I forwarded your site the the rocket scientist congressman to see if he could find it.

    I don’t know how you are boosting your alexa stats, but I know you are doing it.

  14. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » Mulshine: It’s Guadagno’s fault if his cat poops on the rug said at 11:43 am on December 28th, 2010:

    […] Shaftan, Lonegan, Mulshine and the ideologues were in charge of the NJ GOP, like they want to be, a third party candidate could get elected in […]

  15. Richard Zuendt said at 5:17 pm on December 28th, 2010:

    Homepage, Conservative New Jersey, latest post:

    Paul Mulshine To Speak At NJ2AS Meeting
    Posted on December 28, 2010, 1:00 PM, by Frank Fiamingo, under Chris Christie, Constitution, Gun Control, Law, New Jersey, Politics, Second Amendment, United States.

    Enough said.

  16. Russ said at 5:47 pm on December 28th, 2010:

    Good post Art, but I have to take small issue with this blanket assertion:

    “The various NJ Tea Parties and Steve Lonegan’s Americans for Prosperity had planned to demonstrate at the scheduled meeting in order to gain support for various proposed resolutions before the committee…”

    I’m not sure to which “various NJ Tea Parties” you’re referring but it certainly wasn’t Bayshore. The sentiment there was almost unanimous that people like Lonegan need to grow up and start getting things done rather than defaulting to rabble rousing (and I’m certainly no stranger to that kind of politics, as you well know).

    I was definitely planning on attending the meeting and will do so on its reschedule but “demonstrating”, as far as I’m concerned, is counterproductive, time consuming and has long since past its effective date. You won’t catch many Bayshore members there with stupid signs.

    Oh and Schilp, I was going to try giving you the benefit of the doubt on the suggestion of a more knowledgeable man than myself, but you really are nothing more than an agitator and an idiot. It’s almost comical how you accuse many of being militant Little supporters while simultaneously exhibiting the most disturbing attachment fantasy to a political candidate I’ve seen since Chris Matthews’ leg tingle lit up the MSNBC circus lamp.

    You’re a clown. Grow up.

    Diane would have gotten trounced. Period.