Last Minute Thoughts on Next Tuesday’s Election (2006)
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
1. Who gets to be County Clerk is NOT important.?? Atlantic County Republicans spent a lot of money on ads and mailings to bash Democrat candidate Ed McGettigan, and promote their candidate Sonya Harris.?? But who cares which one gets this $92,000 plum position??? When Republican State Senator Hap Farley ran Atlantic County in the old days, his lieutenant Jimmy Boyd kept the Organization in power by giving out jobs, contracts, and favors, and controlling the “ice money”.?? Boyd had plenty of spare time to do all this because he was County Clerk, and did not have to spend much time on the job that gave him his salary and pension.?? Today, neither candidate for either party seeks use of the office of county clerk for anything other than as an easy, highly paid, taxpayer funded job with a big boost in pension.
2. The County Freeholder race IS important.?? Atlantic County government is far from perfect, and Democrat Clerk Candidate Ed McGettigan proves that point.?? When he was a loyal Gormley Republican, he quickly got a $54,000 job running the County Golf Course when his family bar and restaurant business failed.?? But most Atlantic County government salaries are embarrassingly low compared to Camden and most counties.?? While patronage does exist, it is minimal.?? And we are free of the massive and oppressive system of shakedowns and payoffs that has crippled Camden, Newark, and most urban counties of New Jersey.?? Camden boss, Democrat George Norcross looks at the wealth of our casinos, and sees Atlantic County as an enormous opportunity to shake down the casinos and the rest of us for millions.?? If you don’t believe it, just look at how much he is “investing” in local Democrat candidate, especially ex-Republicans with no loyalty or principles.
3. The three state ballot questions are important, because they seek to permanently change our state constitution.?? If most people vote “yes”, future generations will be saddled with taxes and debt that will be with us long after our present politicians are gone.?? It is a disgrace that neither Republicans, Democrats, nor our daily newspaper have done anything to educate voters on the long term consequences of these three state ballot questions.
4. The elections for federal office are important, but all the choices are bad.
a. For U.S. Senate, the Democrats picked Menendez, a typical, pay-to-play, crooked North Jersey ward leader.?? The Republicans nominated Tom Kean, Jr.?? Kean’s only qualifications are that he inherited lots of money, and that his father was a “popular” governor.?? Kean, Sr. was popular because he pretended to be a Republican, while spending money, increasing debt, and expanding government like a Democrat.?? Democrat governor Jim Florio was unpopular because he had to pay the bills that were run up by “popular” Republican governor Tom Kean, Sr.?? Tom Kean, Jr. never criticized his father, and is relying on his father’s popularity to help him win.
b.? For House of Representatives, “Republican” Frank LoBiondo also spends, borrows, and expands money like a liberal Democrat.?? But LoBiondo has been careful to promote symbolic “Republican” values from time-to-time.?? That is why he voted to keep Terry Schiavo’s brain dead body alive for an extra week, why he tampered with our Constitution to “protect” the American flag from non-existent threats of burning, etc.?? Because LoBiondo blackmailed President Bush into spending tons of extra money on union construction workers for Katrina relief, local Democrats were pressured to take a dive, and allow LoBiondo to basically run unopposed.
??? Which federal candidate is the “lesser of two evils?”?? That is hard to say.?? Suppose the Democrats are driving our country towards a cliff at 80 miles an hour, while Republicans are driving towards the same cliff at 25 miles per hour.?? Which is less evil??? True, the Democrats might take us over the cliff sooner.?? But it is also true that by going slower, Republicans are less likely to make us aware of the danger, and less likely to get rid of the driver and turn the car around.
??? There is also the option of not voting for any of these candidates.?? If both candidates are working against your values, do not vote for either of them.?? Only communists and other dictators claim that voting for people you do not like is a patriotic duty.?? You can also use this election to learn how to use the write-in feature of your voting machine.?? That skill may come in handy in future elections.