For all of the new dimensions and innovations he has brought to the worlds of politics and government, Barack Obama still recognizes the value in some tried and true practices that have proven successful over the years.
Case in point: Say something over and over enough times and it will start having an impact on public perception. It’s a strategy that has worked before in New Jersey, and it could be a factor in this year’s campaign for Governor. Back in 1997, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim McGreevey barely uttered a sentence without mentioning that New Jersey had the highest property taxes and auto insurance rates in the nation – and he nearly defeated the incumbent Governor in what would have been a stunning upset. Continue reading →
Year in and year out, New Jersey begins its annual budget process with a formal address from the Governor, detailing his or her proposal for the Legislature, the media and the public. The immediate response is predictable.The minority party, be it Democrat or Republican, will be critical. The party in power will be supportive, although there may be a few who do not buy in, usually because of some component of the proposal that negatively impacts their particular constituencies.
Regardless of which side you come down on for Governor Corzine’s Fiscal 2010 budget proposal, most of us would agree that the process that New Jersey uses to enact the state budget is ripe for improvements. Continue reading →
Of all the many changes taking place in New Jersey’s news organizations over the past 12 months, perhaps none carries more significance than the decision by The Star-Ledger and The Record to merge their State House bureaus.
Up until now, the layoffs, cutbacks and consolidations have taken place within the confines of individual news organizations. The merger of the Ledger/Record bureaus marks the first time that two of the state’s competing news entities will be combining forces.
Despite our reputation as a state where political corruption runs rampant, corruption rarely plays a role in the outcome of our elections. With a few notable exceptions, candidates who make a priority of leveling ethical charges against their opponents usually end up on the losing end of our electoral contests.
The tactic did not work for Tom Kean Jr. when he ran against Bob Menendez for U.S. Senate in 2006. Likewise, Doug Forrester’s attempt to paint a picture of Jon Corzine as the creation of party bosses fell flat during the 2005 gubernatorial campaign. And the strategy of tying legislative candidates to a Governor surrounded with ethical questions failed to yield dividends in 2003. Not only did the Democratic Party weather the attacks, it actually picked up seats – a rare occurrence for a party in power in a mid-term election.
There are many theories as to why corruption has not worked well as a campaign issue. Continue reading →
A familiar theme emerged during Alex Rodriguez’s ESPN interview about his use of performance-enhancing drugs as a member of the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003. Although A-Rod acknowledged his use of the substances, he repeatedly indicated that it was part of the culture at the time. As if to somehow excuse his actions, over the course of the interview, he made statements such as:
“Back then, it was a different culture. It was very loose.”
The New Jersey Political Science Association will conduct its annual meeting on Friday, February 27, at the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers University. I will be one several speakers on the panel discussing New Jersey’s 2009 campaign for Governor.
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My research essay on media coverage during the Vietnam War era has been accepted for presentation at an academic conference in New York City (March 14 at Marymount Manhattan College).
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I will be a panelist at the New Jersey Communication Association Conference (March 28 at Kean University), discussing personal privacy on the internet.
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On April 24, I will take part in “A Fiscal Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste,” the Annual Symposium of the State Chapters of the Association of Government Accountants and American Society for Public Administration. I will be on a panel that will discuss “How the Media Crisis Affects the Government Crisis.”
With an unprecedented number of layoffs and buyouts, 2008 was a devastating year for journalism in New Jersey.
Or was it?
It all depends on whether you are looking at the glass as half empty or half full.
From the half empty perspective, it was truly sad to witness the struggles the state’s newspapers confronted in order to survive. Likewise, it was alarming to watch so many talented journalists depart the news industry in New Jersey. Continue reading →
When Super Bowl XLIII gets underway in Tampa on Sunday, neither of the NFL teams that play their home games in New Jersey will be on the field. But one New Jerseyan who has performed for large crowds at Giants Stadium will be there at Raymond James Stadium when the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers square off to determine this season’s NFL champion.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will provide the halftime entertainment, joining the ranks of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and other superstars who have performed at the 42 previous Super Bowls. While this provides a great opportunity for Springsteen to appear before a capacity crowd of 72,500 and a television audience of up to 100 million viewers, it also represents a plus for New Jersey because of the unique and important role that the Garden State plays in his music and his lyrics. Continue reading →
This week’s State of the State of speech has me wondering what function these types of events serve in the 21st Century — not just New Jersey’s annual State of the State address, but the countless “State of…” speeches that are given all over the country at this time of year by Governors, Mayors, County Executives, even the President.
More often than not, the key elements of a “State of…” speech already are known before the event takes place. Decision-makers have been briefed and information has been leaked to reporters whose news reports have made the information available to the public at-large. Although not every detail of every program is known ahead of time, there generally is an absence of suspense, save for counting the number of times the speech is interrupted by applause.
I am departing from my usual topics today to take part in an important and innovative campaign to increase public awareness of the need to keep our food pantries well-stocked. As part of Blogging Out Hunger, bloggers from all over New Jersey are posting information today about the increased demand being put on the food pantries in our state and how everyone can help.
More than 35 million Americans, including 12 million children, either live with or are on the verge of hunger. In New Jersey alone, an estimated 250,000 new clients will be seeking sustenance this year from the state’s food banks. But recently, as requests for food assistance have risen, food donations are on the decline, leaving food bank shelves almost empty and hungry families waiting for something to eat. Continue reading →