Perhaps the most surreal event of the weekend is that the newspaper that publishes within throwing distance of my house, had its editors write this tepid endorsement
. It is a rather silly little piece of publishing, and makes me wonder why I can't be someone who gets paid to write. Let us take the media bullshit detector out and see what we can come up with about this sorry collection of words.
The candidates for New Jersey governor have made property taxes the chief issue in this election. But obscenely high property taxes -- highest per capita in the nation -- are only a symptom of the chronic illnesses that infect New Jersey: an antiquated tax structure, runaway spending and a culture of corruption that rewards the politically connected.
With reservations, we have come to believe that Republican Doug Forrester is the shock therapy the state needs.
Forrester is the candidate who has the best chance of stanching the self-inflicted wounds that undermine the state's abilities to meet its obligations and to operate with the trust of its citizens.
I will tackle the lede later on, however, remember that property taxes are admitedly the number one issue according to the imps running the Star Ledger's editorial page.
First of all, what sort of endorsement comes with reservations? It seems to me chosing sides would require a bit more resolution than this. However I guess if you are endorsing Flip-Flopping Forrester
, a side order of reservations is a requirement. Flip-Flopping Forrester is hardly the human embodiment of shock therapy. Besides, shock therapy is not something to be administered with reservations. It is a cruel and inhumane treatment that should never be administered period, let alone upon an entire state's population. Poor choice of metaphor, even poorer choice of exemplar for said metaphor.
Also what is this about operating with trust? Doug Forrester's tax plan claims it is constitutionally guaranteed. This is false. No candidate can guarantee ammending the constitution. Much less one that will probably have an opposing majority in the State Assembly. This is but one of a long list of lies
constantly regurgitated by Flip-Flopping Forrester, and does not effectuate feelings of trust in this citizen, nor should it in any citizen.
Let us move on...
While we support most of the policies Democrat Jon Corzine has championed as a U.S. senator, he hasn't convinced us he can stand up to the entrenched bosses of his party or to the powerful public employee unions.
Interesting, they support Corzine but not enough to write an endorsement. Somebody's bipolar! By the way, Forrester hasn't stood up to Democrat party bosses either. In fact, he has done business with the darkest of them all, George Norcross (as reported in August by the NYTimes
Put simply, Corzine appears to suffer from the same disease of wanting to please everyone that contributed to the downward spiral of James E. McGreevey's administration.
Interesting, I tought that Forrester's positions have also suffered from the disease of wanting to please everyone. Also symptomatic of this disease (called flip-flopitis) are things like supportive language followed by scathing rebukes of behavior that has exhisted solely within the realm of dishonest campaign ads. If you support most of Jon Corzine's senate record, why endorse the opponent?
I know not where the imps are going with this editorial so let's move on..
We have said repeatedly that we don't like the property tax planks of either candidate's platform. Neither addresses root causes. Corzine would increase property tax rebates, not decrease property taxes themselves. He says he would support a constitutional convention to do that but wouldn't want it to deal with spending. Good luck accomplishing anything with that rule.
So finally, they admit that they don't like how either candidate is addressing the "chief issue in this election." Yet they determined that is irrelevant to joining the endorsement party. Somehow, the notion of abstaining from the race entirely did not cross the minds of the SL's editorial board.
Forrester is promising to reduce taxes but is unrealistic about how he'll pay for the shortfall. Promising to find waste in state government when its biggest costs are mandated personnel expenses is silly. He recognizes, however, that relying most heavily on the property tax is wrong. If he has the grit to do something about altering that sooner rather than later, we'll be the first to forgive him for reneging on his campaign promise.
Well isn't this rather nice. Calling the candidate you are endorsing silly, and then granting him a "get off the hook free" card. The editors are admitting that Forrester's plan is unrealistic and unlikely to pass as proposed. As such, they believe this deserves some sort of pre-emptive nod from any future possibility of criticism residing on their editorial page. This is like Judy Miller promising "former hill staffer" status to Lewis Libby. Let us review, a newspaper, decides to endorse a candidate based on a tax plan they admit is unrealistic then grant him indemnity from any future attacks should he not come through on his campaign promises?
And they wish good luck on Corzine? Can this editorial get any worse?
Since neither man -- both accomplished businessmen with considerable financial acumen -- has been forthcoming about what is required to reduce New Jersey's horrendous property taxes, that issue wasn't the deciding factor for us.
Huh? Well it seems to be the forebearing issue with the citizens
whose trust you would like to be palced in Forrester. OK out of touch newspaper, what then is the deciding issue for you?
Their approaches to spending, however, are very different. Corzine has talked of even more bond debt to pay for school construction, the transportation trust fund, stem cell research and environmental programs. And he has called for programs to expand Abbott-type assistance for education and to offer more equitable health care. We're not arguing against these ideas, but we've yet to hear how they'll be financed.
While Forrester has talked of the need to work on social ills such as drug addiction and the demographic disparity among prison inmates, he has offered a more focused and programmatic approach to state government. It is one that begins with a consistent budget policy rooted in a realistic assessment of revenue available. In plain language, it's time to end the let's-make-a-deal-for-political-allies thinking that happens too often in New Jersey before the means to pay for the schemes are nailed down.
OK, now they are lying. Forrester's approach to state government is anything but focused and programatic. Do the editor's read their own paper
? Furthermore, how is a budget policy rooted in the short falls associated with the available cuts in "waste fraud and abuse" a realistic assessment of revenue available? Didn't they just deem this unrealistic three paragraphs ago? I think the operative word they used to describe it then was "silly."
If anyone resembles Monty Hall it would be the candidate they chose to put upon a pedastle. Flip Flopping Forrester the crook has made his living by making deals to get contracts with government agencies. The method of doing business this way is generally called pay-to-play, and it typically involves Monty Hallesque techniques.
We supported Jon Corzine for U.S. Senate and have few regrets. But neither his time at Goldman Sachs in Manhattan nor his tenure in Washington strikes us as solid preparation to be governor of New Jersey. In the Senate, he supported worthwhile causes such as ending the genocide in Darfur and pushing for securer ports. But he voted against the well-qualified John Roberts for chief justice, apparently out of party loyalty alone.
Forrester, a former director of the state pension fund and a former mayor, has a better grasp of how New Jersey government, and particularly its budget process, work.
Somehow, the skills required of a United States Senator are irrelevant to New Jersey politics. Perhaps if New Jersey was such an exemplar of Democracy and politics, there would not be the corruption and budgetary shortfalls the editors are whining about. Yes, Forrester's experience as mayor of a rich town in New Jersey, must by all means supercede the lawmaking skills acquired in our nations capitol.
It also amazes me that Forrester a man who has made his money by no bid government contracts is still deemed some sort of outsider. Corzine made his money the old fashioned way, on Wall Street, in the free market that Republican's hold so dear to their hearts.
Almost done, by now you must be feeling the reverse parastolsis affecting your digestive system.
Further, we're more impressed with Forrester's internal GOP party experience -- winning a tough primary by testing his views against competing and less moderate Republican philosophies. Corzine faced no primary opposition because he made considerable contributions early and often to his Democratic cohorts, including the powerbrokers, to such an extent that no other voices could be heard over the din of the cash register.
Yes, Forrester had to use his "moderate sword" on radical Republicans like Steve Lonegan
who got single digits in the primary. He had to recently whip out the sword again to fight off an endorsement from the pro-lifers
. Forrester is equally culpable when it comes to contributions
to the local party. This unfortunately is part of the problem with Jersey politics (as demonstrated here
), and the Star Ledger should perhaps educate people instead of misleading them.
Almost over kids
Like many of you, we've come away from this gubernatorial campaign with little affection for either candidate. Candidly, we'd rather vote for acting Gov. Richard Codey and call it a day.
Codey, a Democrat, has most closely represented the blend of pragmatism, heart and political savvy that the state needs to steer it out of difficult times. Ironically, his party's standard-bearer, Corzine, doesn't.
So our choice for governor is Doug Forrester. We believe that the time has come for a distinct difference in how government operates in Trenton and that he is the person to jump-start that process.
I like Codey too, yet this isn't about him. This editorial is supposed to be an endorsement of a candidate that's running. As Rumsfeld would put it, you vote for the candidate you have, not the candidate you wish to have.
As for pragmatism, heart and political savvy, I don't know if these words can be used within the same context to describe Doug Forrester. First the editors claim the state needs shock therapy, now they want delicate pragmatism? As for heart, I think one of the the only Senators to take action on Darfur, and vote against the war in Iraq would qualify.
Political savvy I am sure is a requirement of someone operating for 5 years in the United States Senate.
Not that the SL's editors would know the first thing about political savvy. For if they had any inkling of savvy, they would not dare take sides without taking sides (as they have so eloquoently done with this column), and they wouldn't mislead their readers by publishing lies. The Star Ledger, in printing this aweful example of an endorsement, can no longer call itself "The Newspaper for New Jersey."