Thank you Veterans

By Art Gallagher

On Veterans’ Day, we honor all the men and women who have protected our country and fought for our way of life.

Photographer Mate 2nd class Joe Sharp aboard the USS Forrestal in 1978

Photographer’s Mate 2nd class Joseph Sharp aboard the USS Forrestal in 1978

Today, I would like to especially thank the Vets of the post-Viet Nam era.

One of my most vivid memories from growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s was watching Mr. Hayes, a tough man and a Vet in my neighborhood, bawling his eyes out as his eldest son went off to Viet Nam. His son came home two years later, but he was different.  There was no parade, as the war was still on and increasingly controversial.  The younger Hayes was angry and seemingly damaged.

With pictures of casualties on the evening news every night, news of William Calley’s My Lai Massacre trial, the Kent State shootings and protests throughout the country, and witnessing how veterans of Viet Nam had come home changed, military service and the draft was feared by many.  Young men went to college, got married and had children or fled to Canada to avoid being drafted into the war. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: November 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Opinion, Veterans | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

Jimmy Carter Coming To Union Beach To Volunteer In Re-building

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Roslyn will be part of the crew of volunteers fixing up 13 homes and building two new ones in Union Beach on October 12, according to a Jimmy Carterstory first reported on Holmdel-Hazlet Patch.

“We’re ecstatic the Carters are coming,” said Ray Gabler, the director of operations for Habit for Humanity Monmouth County, based in Long Branch. “This is bringing attention to Sandy victims of low and moderate income all along the Jersey shore. We’re really excited.”

The goal is to repair 13 homes and construct two new ones in the Raritan Bay borough of Union Beach, where 270 homes have been demolished since Sandy. The small town was battered by winds and swamped by surging tidal water in the Oct. 29 storm.

Habitat for Humanity has identified the homes destined for repair, and is finalizing plans with two families for new construction. The new homes are being made possible by funding from the Carter’s organization, and Wells Fargo, said Gabler.

Union Beach Mayor Paul J. Smith has been keeping the news close to his vest for months, he said, and Secret Service officers have already visited. Smith said he is thrilled to welcome Jimmy Carter, 88, and Rosalynn Carter, 86. “I think it’s a big boost,” he said. “We still have some people hurting, but we have had so many beautiful volunteers come forward.”

In addition to Union Beach, Habitat for Humanity is also helping residents of Keansburg, Port Monmouth, Belford, Highlands, Atlantic Highlands and Sea Bright rebuild their Superstorm Sandy ravaged homes.  The organization is accepting applications from both homeowners needing help and volunteers at their website.

Volunteers can contact the Laura Lella-Smith, the Development Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County at  [email protected]  or call the office at (732) 728-0441.

Posted: August 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy, Union Beach | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Jimmy Carter Coming To Union Beach To Volunteer In Re-building

Buyer’s Remorse May Swing the Election

“I voted for Obama in 2008, but I’m not going to vote for him this time.”

By Adam Geller

We’ve all heard someone utter this phrase, or something close to it by now.   Whether we are in the business of politics, analyzing polls and focus groups, or having a more casual conversation about the political scene, this is a statement that seems to come up more often as we draw closer to Election Day 2012.

Now, to be fair, there are plenty of folks who are saying, “I voted for Obama in ’08, and I will vote for him again in ’12.”   As long as we are being fair, let us also acknowledge the fact that we have yet to hear anyone state that they voted for McCain last time, but this time they will vote for Obama.

So, the pressing question is the extent to which previous Obama voters will, in fact change their mind.   How many mind-changers are needed to make a difference, and swing the election away from Obama? 

The answer is: not that many.

Rather than add to the body of analysis that already exists on a state-by-state basis, I want to simply concentrate on the popular vote.   In sticking with an analysis of the popular vote, I make every assumption that much of the movement that I describe herein would take place in the battleground states with which we are all familiar.

Let’s start with a reasonable, conservative (small c) theory: let’s assume that no more than one-out-of-ten 2008 Obama voters actually do, in fact, change their minds and this time vote for the Republican.   Now, some may say that the actual number may be higher than that, but for now, let’s stick with a smaller safer assumption.   Let’s also assume, for now, that turnout matches 2008 turnout.

First, let’s go back and look at the actual popular vote results.   Recall that in 2008, the vote tally was:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Presidential Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

In Search Of The New Jersey Presidential Primary

By Bob English

With the Presidential primary season well under way, we are now being treated to candidates going from state to state almost every week in an effort or convince voters that they are the right person to lead the country. If you are wondering when the candidate train stops in New Jersey, well I have some bad news. Last September, the Lieutenant Governor signed a bill approved by the Legislature, which moved the New Jersey 2012 Presidential Primary from February (when it had been held in 2008 on the 5th of February aka “Super Tuesday” ) to June 5, 2012. In 2005, the Legislature had voted to move the 2008 primary which had normally been held in June, to February in an effort to try to give New Jersey voters more influence in picking their party’s Presidential candidates. In 2008, despite the fact that New Jersey’s primary was held on the same day as those in over 20 other states, several candidates did campaign in New Jersey despite it not getting as much of a national focus as had been hoped for. Over 1.1 million residents voted in the 2008 New Jersey Democratic Primary which was won by Hilary Clinton over Barack Obama. In the Republican contest, over 500,000 people went to the polls in an election that saw the party’s eventual nominee John McCain almost doubling the amount of votes received by the 2nd place finisher Mitt Romney. It was estimated that the cost of moving the primary from June to February was $12 million.

What makes the participation numbers interesting is when you weigh them against the number of voters taking part in the first two caucuses or primaries this year. Roughly 122,000 people voted in the Iowa Republican caucuses with approximately 250,000 people voting in the New Hampshire GOP Primary. Although there was a Democratic caucus in Iowa and a primary in New Hampshire, they were not competitive races with President Obama virtually unopposed for his party’s nomination. With several Republicans dropping out of their party’s contest just before, during or right after these races, the amount of influence these states have in choosing a party’s nominee is hugely out of proportion to the numbers of voters who take part. Contrast these participation numbers with those of the 2008 general election where close to 130 million voters went to the polls.

So the questions that beg for answers are 1) How can New Jersey residents become more influential in the process of picking their party’s candidate (besides moving to Iowa or New Hampshire for a few months every four years)? 2) What can be done to make the choice of each party’s nominee less dependent on voters in one or two states where they clearly have to much power and contain voters whose views are not always representative of the majority of voters in other states. Note that major issues in Iowa where farm subsidies, ethanol, religion/faith and social issues. One thing is for sure, none of those three would be the top issues for the majority of New Jersey voters. There are no easy answers to question #1. The major party’s threatened loss of convention delegates to States which were going to hold their primaries too early in the 2012 process. One idea for 2016 would be for the state to revert to the 2008 model and possibly schedule its primary in mid/late February or early March of 2016 (This also depends on party scheduling rules that can change.) As mentioned above, this change does come with additional cost ($12 million) and there is no guarantee that the nomination for one or both parties would not have been secured by that date.

The other idea which has been debated for several years, is holding a series (4-6) of regional primaries in the early March to early June time-frame. The order of these would rotate every four years. This would give more states greater influence in picking the eventual nominees. Even if Iowa and New Hampshire kept their traditional places at the starting gate, they would not have the same importance or as great a focus on by candidates.

Since 1976, only 3 of the 18 nominating contests were so close that almost every delegate mattered to the eventual nominee. A couple of interesting historical facts about New Jersey Presidential Primaries are:

In 1972, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm won the states Democratic Primary. Rep. Chisholm was the first woman to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination and the first major party African American Presidential candidate.

In 1976, in an unsuccessful effort to stop Jimmy Carter from obtaining the Democratic nomination, a slate of uncommitted delegates backing Senator Hubert Humphrey and then (and current) California Governor Jerry Brown, defeated Carter by a wide margin. Carter’s primary win in Ohio the same day however, cinched the nomination for him. I attended a campaign rally for Governor Brown the day before the election at Airport Plaza in Hazlet on June 7, 1976. The story was the lead in the next days Red Bank Register and can be viewed here:


Posted: January 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Presidential Politics, New Jersey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Whitman A Leader Of Third Party Effort

Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman will not be joining Governor Chris Christie on the campaign trail for Mitt Romney.

Whitman is a director of Americans Elect 2012, a PAC that converted into an educational group so that it would not have to disclose its donors.   The group wants Americans to nominate a “centrist” Independent presidential candidate via Internet voting. They are working to secure ballot positions in all 50 states.  So far they’re on the ballots in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, and Utah.  There are reports that they’ve submitted petitions in California and Hawaii.

Despite their success in collecting signatures to get on ballots, there is a lot of controversy about the group that will likely hamstring their efforts going forward.  There is a clause in their by laws that allows the group’s directors to disqualify “America’s” candidate.  They’ve got a rule restricting how their nominee selects his/her vice presidential candidate.  The group says it doesn’t support or oppose any particular candidate at this point, but Whitman has been promoting Jon Huntsman as a third party candidate and Mark McKinnon, another director of the group, said Mitt Romney doesn’t have the cojones to be president.

Sounds more like a three ring circus than a third party.  Besides, the Republicans look as though they are going to nominate a centrist in either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich.  

As an aside, how long will it be before a highly paid national pundit writes a column about what it means about America that the three front runners for president have weird first names?

Even without the other controversies surrounding Americans Elect 2012, Whitman joining their board should be a sign of that the group is doomed to fail.  Her legacy as New Jersey’s Governor and as Administrator of the EPA under President George W. Bush is beyond embarrassing. 

The messes that Governor Christie is cleaning up now….the broke pension system, broke transportation trust fund, broke unemployment insurance fund, Abbot and COAH, were all started or made worse by Whitman and her appointees.   Shortly after 9-11, EPA Administrator Whitman declared the air at Ground Zero safe to breathe, thereby sending clean up workers to slow deaths and long term disabilities.

It’s little wonder that candidate Chris Christie declared that he’s not a Whitman Republican.

Despite Americans Elect’s foibles, a third party presidential candidate might be a good news for those who want President Obama to be a one termer.

In modern times, i.e., during the lifetimes of anyone likely to vote in 2012,  there have been only two elected incumbent presidents denied a second term by the voters; Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.  Both had significant third party challengers during their reelection bids.  John Anderson, a Republican Congressman from Illinois ran against Carter and Ronald Reagan.  Reagan won.   Ross Perot, the populist Texas billionaire ran against Bush and Bill Clinton.  Clinton won.

The bad news, from a historical perspective, is that Carter and Bush 41 also faced significant primary challenges prior to being renominated.  Carter was challenged for the Democratic nomination in 1980 by Teddy Kennedy.  Bush was challenged for the 1992 GOP nomination by Pat Buchanan.

Reagan’s primary challenge against Gerald Ford in 1976, preceding Carter’s election, may indicate that an incumbent’s problems within their own party may be more of a detriment to reelection than a third party challenge.  Unfortunately, there is no Democrat seriously challenging Obama.

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz says New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is “clearly eyeing” a third party run for president.   A Bloomberg run might be America’s best hope of defeating Obama next year.   The Mayor has the resources to make a credible run and a nanny state record to appeal to enough dissatisfied Democrats and left leaning Independents.

Posted: December 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Presidential Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »