Shocking news, I know!
Just imagine your Blogger-in-Chief ‘s surprise, Save Jerseyans, when former State Senate President Raymond Bateman (R-16) announced the South Jersey Democrat Machine’s latest acquisition(s) in a Daily Record op-ed published earlier this week:
Today, while more sophisticated, the differences still run deep. South Jerseyans read the Philadelphia papers; watch Philly TV; root for the Eagles and the Flyers; and generally support and attend the big five colleges in Philadelphia. Up North, a very different New York media prevails. Up here it’s the Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Nets and Devils. Politically, South Jersey was always traditionally conservative Republican. Not today. Under Democrat boss George Norcross, GOP counties like Cape May, Gloucester, and Atlantic are now run by the Democrats. Some of this change is due to population growth from Pennsylvania, but much of it comes from the politically savvy Norcross.”
With all due love and respect, former Senator Bateman desperately needs to share this revelation with South Jersey GOP Chairmen Keith Davis (Altantic) and Mike Donohue (Cape May), both of whom have labored long and hard to secure Republican control of their respective county’s freeholder boards, county offices and a large majority of municipal offices.
Republicans have also made significant advances in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties over the past few years. Machine Democrats have had to fight for every inch in recent cycles. It makes you wonder: is South Jersey news accessible up there? Or is the front simply too far?
Now, we can try to read the senior Bateman’s comments in a more charitable light. I’m sure he wasn’t trying to be insensitive! He also could’ve been referring to Republican difficulties at the legislative level and just worded it poorly; 2011 redistricting was very kind to the machine. Democrats still control the state senate seat in LD-2 (Atlantic) and all three seats in LD-1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (Cape May, Cumberland).
Yet somehow I don’t think that’s what he meant, Save Jerseyans.
There’s no use beating around the bush on this one. Far too many (though certainly not all) well-meaning New Jersey Republicans, particularly those of the former Senator’s generation, continue to treat South Jersey residents like citizens of a foreign, distant and beleaguered dictatorship, one which average North Jerseyans only know by way of nightly newsreels broadcast on CNN and FOX News.
To them, South Jersey Party Boss George Norcross is analogous to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. A “necessary evil” with whom they can work to preserve the best interests of the American people (or, in this case, those living north of the I-295 corridor) and those of the people he rules (i.e. the RU Camden/Rowan merger). Moreover, some old-school Northern GOP’ers see the S.J. machine and its cogs as preferable alternatives to ideological radicals of the Lautenberg/Codey/Weinberg/Buono mold who hail from their own northern backyards. The closer threat is clearer and is therefore presumed to be more threatening.
But mark my words, folks: they’ll feel very, very differently when the war comes to their own backyards. It’s already begun, though it may not sink in until Sweeney vs. Lautenberg 2014. In the interim, I would ask former Senator Bateman and anyone else who shares his clinical approach to South Jersey’s political plight to consult the work of journalist Bob Ingle or, if Bob is busy with his new book, anyone who has ever run afoul of the South Jersey Machine.
And then, if they still feel inclined to conceive of us as Third World cousins, I’d advise them to follow through with their initial impulse and send 99 cents per day to Chairmen Davis and Donohue. There’s no such thing as “safe” political territory below Trenton. Every penny counts!