Wednesday, September 13, 2006

NJ Senate Race Update

Sphere: Related Content

Robert Menendez was a horrible choice to replace Jon Corzine when he won the Gubernatorial race for NJ. I said it at the time that it would've shown guts and leadership for Corzine to select someone from south Jersey because we are under-represented at every level.

Instead Corzine selected Menendez, a party hack who built his power the way all north Jersey politicos do, through pay-offs and bullying. It's the north Jersey way. Corzine felt he owed Menendez--then a US Representative and relatively obscure--because Menendez wrangled money and votes.

Corzine wasn't prescient enough to know that every politician who comes out of the municipal and county wars in the northern half of the state has baggage. Ethics up there means you smile while stabbing a friend in the back.

It's coming back to haunt Corzine in particular and the Democratic party as a whole:

As with Mr. Torricelli, it is ethics that have dragged down Mr. Menendez, who won his appointment in part through the hefty political muscle he built as the reputed boss of Hudson County, a colorful collection of gritty towns that could easily have spawned just about every character Damon Runyon ever wrote about. The ghosts of his machine past have haunted Mr. Menendez in periodic news stories this year, and Republicans have made the notion that he has disqualifying “baggage” their central line of attack.

That is why the federal investigation is so damning for Mr. Menendez: The jury is already poisoned against him. Sure, he can cry foul and vow to fight. But the race was essentially a tie before this, so any fallout at all puts Mr. Kean in the lead.

Now, Mr. Menendez’s options are limited—and all bad. He began by attacking the prosecutor as overly partisan—a weak response given the dozens of corrupt Republicans who have been brought down by Christopher Christie, the U.S. Attorney leading the Menendez inquiry.

The Observer notes that if Menendez drops out--a highly unlikely prospect--the donks will ask Richard Codey to run. Codey is a likeable guy but he too will have baggage. He was never vetted
by the media when he assumed office after the McGreevey disaster as they are completely cowed by the donk machine.

I wonder when Howie Dean is going to comment on this.

No comments: