Monthly Archives: October 2010

Post Election Time Warp: It’s Just A Step to the Right

Although the fates of individual election contests around the country and in New Jersey remain uncertain, there is little doubt about which political party will fare better at the polls on Tuesday. Barring a series of stunning upsets and reversals, Republicans will pick up significant numbers of seats in Congress and could win control of the House and possibly the Senate.

A more difficult item to predict, however, is the direction the Republican Party will take after Tuesday’s election results are complete. The seeds already have been sown for an ideological battle between those on the far right and the more moderate members of the party. The increasing popularity of the Tea Party and the success of its candidates in GOP primaries have bolstered the position of the more conservative wing of the party. On the other hand, some leading Republicans fear that the Tea Party candidates will be unable to garner broader support in the general elections and could ultimately become a detriment to the party’s chances in future elections. Continue reading

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Cary Edwards

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Cary Edwards, whom I got to know while he was Attorney General and later a candidate for Governor. There are plenty of reasons to be cynical about government and politics; Cary was never one of them.

Conference Presentation

I will take part in a panel discussion on rhetoric at the New York State Communication Association’s 68th Annual Conference.

The conference will place from Friday through Sunday, October 22 to 24, at Honor’s Haven Resort and Spa, Ellenville, N.Y.

I’m one of the speakers at the Communication Matters – “For” and “In” the Moment panel. The panelists will explore rhetoric as an inventional art through the professional field lenses of journalism/public information, corporate life/IT and government administration.

In addition to me, the panelists will be Larry Krieb, Vice President, Global Information Services – Estee Lauder Companies, Inc.; Mark J. Rupsis, Chief Administrative Officer, Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Bill Karis, an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Media at Clarkson University.

Karis will moderate the session, which runs from 2:50 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 23.

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The Power of the Press Still Stands

Fiscal conditions have drastically reduced personnel and resources at news organizations all over the country, including New Jersey. But over the past week, we have seen two instances in which the media still is impacting public policy in New Jersey.

First The Courier Post reported that Democratic operatives were responsible for getting a Tea Party candidate on the ballot in the 3rd Congressional District, where incumbent Democratic John Adler is locked in a tight race with Republican Jon Runyan, a former Philadelphia Eagles lineman. The theory behind adding a Tea Party candidate to the mix is that it would drain votes from Runyan.

Although Adler has denied any involvement, the Cook Political Report moved the race from the “leans Democrat” column to “toss-up”.

The other example of the power of the press came from former state Education Commissioner Bret Schundler, who testified before the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee about the actions that led to New Jersey’s failure to qualify for $400 million in federal education monies because of a clerical error the state made while it was revising its application for the funds. Schundler told the panel that the application had to be redone at the last minute because Governor Christie did not like what a talk radio host was saying about it.

“The Governor informed me that NJ 101.5 radio host Jim Gearhart was saying he had caved in to the union,” Schundler testified. “He said that the leaders of the NJEA had demeaned him and that it was utterly intolerable for him to be viewed as having given-in to them. The money was not worth it.”

In the interest of full disclosure, Schundler was fired by the Governor because of this incident. Nevertheless, the words of the former Cabinet member are quite intriguing. As Carla Linz of The Press of Atlantic City wrote: “If true, that means Gov. Chris Christie valued his image and ego above $400 million for education in New Jersey. Outrageous. Even worse may be the idea that an entertainment/talk radio show is setting policy in the Governor’s Office.”

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Partisan Bickering Won’t Solve Our Mass Transit Needs

Now that Governor Christie has officially killed the ARC tunnel project, the political posturing and gamesmanship that has been building ever since he ordered a review of the project is in full gear.

The Governor said, in the current economic climate, the proposed new train tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan simply is too expensive. “The ARC project costs far more than New Jersey taxpayers can afford and the only prudent move is to end this project,” he explained.

Continue reading