By Matt Rooney
I don’t give a damn about Donald Trump, Save Jerseyans. I don’t. Not for the purposes of this discussion.
That’s because anyone who’s been following this state’s trajectory and political scene for any significant length of time KNOWS, painfully and acutely, how the New Jersey Republican Party’s electoral problems began LONG before the Tweeter-in-Chief exploded onto the national political scene and upended American politics as we knew it.
Blaming 2017 (or what’s probably coming in 2018) on Trump is a cop out.
And those problems are rooted in the simple but fatal refusal of the ‘opposition’ (such as it is) to fight. In fact, they’re running – hard and fast – away from fiscally conservative principles and solutions in the legislature, refusing to pick fights and reserving their harshest criticism for fellow Republicans (like Jay Webber and Michael Patrick Carroll) who dare to buck the consensus. Losing is a foregone conclusion when you forfeit the battle! Duh! But the fact that so many of them were reelected in 2017 on razor-thin margins has cowed’em.
The forfeit, they’d tell you, is partly tactical. This week’s shameful “equal pay” capitulation presents a prime example. They don’t want to be labeled as “anti-woman” and make those razor thin margins shrink so, rather than fight back against the bullshit “wage gap” premise, and explain how this bill may actually DESTROY more women’s jobs than it will help, they’ve gone ahead and punted, endorsing legislation which will CRUSH some small businesses with legal feels. They’re ruled by fear and are unwilling to try and change what they think voters believe; consequently 24 of 26 GOP Assembly members voted to EXPAND lawsuit exposure for every business in New Jersey.
This strategy is misguided, folks. For validation of my opinion, look no further than DEMOCRAT Senate President Steve Sweeney, our state’s second most powerful elected liberal, who visited right-leaning NJ 101.5 on Tuesday evening and offered an objectively right-of-center fiscal argument for New Jersey’s future!
Here’s a clip:
Now, can New Jersey taxpayers put all of their eggs in the Sweeney basket?
Of course not. This is the same guy who is currently trying to impose a business surcharge tax on New Jersey businesses when we already have the country’s WORST business tax climate.
But that’s not the point. What’s relevant for our discussion is the fact that Sweeney, an ambitious Democrat who only recently dreamed of running for governor on his own, is suddenly working overtime to track to Phil Murphy’s RIGHT on tax-and-spending issues, backing off of the Millionaire’s Tax and hedging on some of Phil Murphy’s major budgeting priorities. It’s a Bill Clinton “the era of big government is over” moment, twenty years later.
If Steve Sweeney, career Democrat legislator and former union official with designs on power, isn’t afraid to pose as a conservative when the cameras are on? Then why the hell are Republicans in this state AFRAID to be conservative?
Sweeney’s party’s greatest triumph, it seems, has been to not just BEAT the GOP at the polls but actually get what’s left of it to surrender its best talking points to Sweeney’s caucus! Jeff Van Drew (a potential future congressman down in NJ-02) has been pulling it off for years, swinging around to his Republican opponents’ right flank with expert efficiency. It boggles the mind and hurts the heart. Pathetic, too. So very pathetic.
Wake up and reverse course before it’s too late!
Your margins aren’t thinning because of Trump so much as your inability to give persuadable voters a reason to think you’re different from the status quo!