The press is vetting Govenor Chris Christie’s nominees to the State Supreme Court.
NJ.com, The Star Ledger’s website, posted an article this morning about the family business of nominee Phillip Kwon. Kwon’s mother owns a liquor store in Mt. Vernon, NY that made a $160,000 settlement with the New York U.S. Attorney’s office over $2,000,000 in allegedly “structured” cash bank deposits. “Structuring” is the practice of spreading out cash deposits in order to avoid the $10,000 trigger that requires the bank to report the deposit to the IRS.
There is no evidence or allegation that Kwon had anything to do with the business or the transactions. There was no admission of liablity in the settlement.
Star Ledger columnist/blogger Paul Mulshine reports that Bruce Harris, the African-American gay Mayor of Chatham that Christie nominatied to the Court along with Kwon this week, wrote an email to state senators, including Joe Pennacchio, asking that they support the same sex marriage bill that was before the Senate during the lame duck session of 2009.
Harris’s email said, in part (with emphasis added):
The New Jersey Supreme court has determined that our relationship is entitled to the equal protection guarantees of the State Constitution. The New jersey Civil Union Review Commission determined that civil unions do not provide the equality the State Constitution mandates.(Please take a few moments and visit www.gardenstateequality.org. which has two short videos that provide sad examples of the failures of the civil union law.)
Mulshine points out that there is no equal protection clause in the State Constitution. Mulshine quotes conservative Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll regarding “originalists” interpretations of the State Constitution:
“No originalist can tell me there’s an equal protection clause in the constitution. No originalist can tell me there’s a right to a thorough and efficient education or a right to affordable housing.”
As much as Christie has done, and is attempting to do, to reform New Jersey’s government, there is nothing more important he can do that make sure conservatives, “orignalists,” are seated on the Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court will be his legacy.
I hope that Christie is not using the same standard that former Governor Christine Todd Whitman used to populate the Court, i.e., appointing friends and senior staffers or making “diversity” appointments for political gain.
The activist State Supreme Court, with the consent of the Legislature and six governors/acting governors, have destroyed New Jersey’s economy over the two decades.
Governor Christie needs to make sure his nominees have the “right stuff.” Hopefully Kwon and Harris do.
Harris said we would recuse himself from cases involving gay marriage. Now that he is going to be a Justice, if confirmed, he needs to brush up on the State Constitution.
As for Kwon, the news of his mother’s business with the feds is interesting but does not qualify him.
The question the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the press, should ask, is what does qualify Kwon and Harris.
Is being the Governor’s long term trusted colleague enough? Is being Black and gay enough?
Maybe it is. But similar standards did not serve us well with Whitman’s Court.
That’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats latch onto any way to gain power and force their agenda through, like Obamacare. Republicans waste their time over purity of thought and have circular firing squads.
The only reason Republicans get power is because the Democrats screw things up so badly that the voters force a change. Then the Republicans turn on each other and the Democrats are back again like a herpes outbreak.
While Mulshine’s headline is clever and funny, the rest of his blog post is weird, sexist, and homophobic:
And another aspect of this that should tick off any red-blooded male out there. Note in the video below a photo of Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, from Vogue magazine back when she was an aide to Hillary Clinton.
Seriously, guys, answer this: Would a dweeb like Anthony Weiner have the slightest chance with a babe like that if he weren’t a congressman?
The video Mulshine posted is a three year old gossip piece from the controversial blog lukeford.net that implies that Weiner’s wife is in a lesbian relationship with Hillary Clinton.
Mulshine’s use of that video raises several questions besides the obvious one:
1) Should Mulshine and his “red blooded” male readers be jealous of Weiner or Clinton?
2) Would Hillary Clinton have a chance with a woman like Abedin if she was not Hillary Clinton?
3) Would the mainstream media (Mulshine) and the new media (Ford) be speculating over Huma Adedin and Hillary Clinton if Adedin didn’t look the way she does? Quick…name the assistant of another first lady or Secretary of State.
4) Did Mulshine view the entire video before he posted it on nj.com? Did he check the source?
5) How much longer will Mulshine have unedited access to post on nj.com?
NJ.com blogger Paul Mulshine has a piece today criticising the Tea Party movement for not waging primaries against “safe” Republican state legislators. Add Mulshine to the list of so called conservatives who can’t count.
After the general election last year I was alarmed by the “RINO hunting” rhetoric I was hearing from activists I had come to know as volunteers for the Little campaign. Locally and nationally, the Tea Party efforts were focused on defeating Democrats with conservative Republicans. Why would we now focus our energy on defeating Republicans? Waging Republican primaries to compete for seats held by Democrats made sense last year. Putting “safe” Republican seats at risk doesn’t make sense. Not when we’re the minority party.
We live in a state dominated by a Democratic legislature. Defeating well known and well liked “safe” incumbents in primaries would those “safe seats” in play. Democrats would dedicate resources to winning those seats if they were “vacant.” Rather than “RINO hunting” the Tea Party activists would be wise to continue their efforts to defeating Democrats. Leave the RINO hunting until after we’ve won a majority.
That’s the advise I gave the Tea Party leaders who would listen to me back in November. I’m grateful that many heard the message, whether they heard it from me or somebody else.
Mulshine is making light of the Tea Parties having a convention and training sessions this weekend because without primaries the training won’t weaken the Republicans chances to pick up seats in November.
Some Tea Parties are making noise about waging third party campaigns. If that is the agenda and result of the convention than the organizers are crazier than Mulshine. Third party conservative campaigns in “safe” Republican districts will increase the Democrats chances of expanding their majority.
If the point of the Tea Party Convention is to make inroads into Democratic districts, then their efforts will be well spent.
Paul Mulshine says he will blame Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno if his cat poops on the rug. Really, he said that.
Mulshine’s cat usually poops outdoors, but the usual spot, probably on a neighbor’s property, is snow covered and the pussy won’t go where it usually goes. Mulshine wasn’t prepared for the storm. He couldn’t navigate the snow covered roads to get kitty litter so his pussy would have a warm place to do it.
Guadagno is at fault because she’s on vacation out of state at the same time Governor Christie is out of state, leaving Senate President Steve Sweeney in charge as Acting Governor.
Mulshine speculates that Guadagno vacationing at the same time as Christie could be the end of her political career. He quotes Rick Shaftan as saying that “nothing will screw up your poll numbers more than snow.” Shaftan, who is famous for talking to Mulshine and for running Steve Lonegan’s 2009 gubernatorial primary, noted that former New York Mayor John Lindsay lost the 1969 GOP primary due to mishandling a snow storm. Lindsay was reelected on a third party line.
If 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 New Jersey too.
Mulshine and Shaftan speculate that Guadagno wants the GOP nomination to run against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez in 2012. Yet another example of ideologues who can’t count.
If the NJ GOP mounts a top tier talent challenge to Menendez in 2012 we’re in deep trouble as a nation. Barack Obama will be on the top of the Democratic ticket in 2012. The only way a Republican is going to win a state wide race in 2012 is if Obama is unelectable in New Jersey. If that is the political environment in 2012 the economy will be in worse shape than it is now. Obama’s poll numbers are over 50% in NJ now, as bad as things are.
Mulshine and Shaftan have a strange bedfellow in windbag Senator Ray Lesniak who called in from Florida to criticise Guadagno and Christie for leaving Sweeney in charge of cleaning up the snow.
Sweeney assured Christie he wouldn’t create mischief while keeping the Governor’s seat warm. If Christie didn’t trust Sweeney to keep his word, other arrangements would have been made. If Sweeney breaks his word, other arrangements will be made in the future.
The constitutional purpose of the Lt. Governor’s office is to prevent one person from controlling two-thirds of the state government, as was the case when Dick Codey was Governor and Senate President after Jim McGreevey’s resignation and when Don DiFrancesco held both offices after Christine Whitman’s resignation. The current banter is nonsense.
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 “Loneganwas 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.
In the editorial page of October 12 Paul Mulshine, correctly, continued to question the ARC rail tunnel. Inadvertently, the Star Ledger business section supported Mr. Mulshine’s position.The business section (page 7) stated that there is almost 40M square feet of office space available in NJ. 40M square feet of space will support 200,000 employees, at an average of 200 square feet per employee. The ARC supporters refuse to consider that NJ residents would actually prefer to work near their homes in NJ, rather than commute to NYC. Even if they had to take a pay cut to work near home, it would be worth it. As a former commuter I can make this statement.
Governor Christie was correct to cancel the tunnel. It will be New Jersey’s version of Boston’s “Big Dig”. One major difference between the two projects is that Massachusetts was forced to pay the lion’s share of the cost as the cost spiked from $8B to $24B. But, in this case the benefit accrued to Massachusetts and the Mass. construction unions. In the case of the ARC tunnel all of the benefits accrue to NYC, with NJ getting the cost overrun tab. If you do not think that there will be cost overruns, then you know nothing about construction-related activities in NYC.
New Jersey needs to get out of this 1960s mindset that states that anything that the public sector proposes has merit and must be done. A great first step in this direction would be to stand by the decision to cancel the tunnel and to implement tax and economic policies designed to fill up these 4M square feet of empty space.
Harold V. Kane is the GOP candidate for Middlesex County Clerk