Monday, November 07, 2005


we have arrived too late to play the bleeding heart show

Nothing good has ever come of a vote, but I vote anyway. It's a compulsion, like nail-biting. Tomorrow, I will push the little button next to Jon Corzine's name, and I will try to have some kind of emotion about it. I am not counting on inspiration or pride. I would settle for curiosity, or the mild excitement I associate with indeterminacy.

In New Jersey, these statewide contests always narrow before Election Day and feint toward drama. Then, the candidate that you always figured would win ends up winning. So much bluster, so much money spent, so much rhetoric, so many attack ads, and so little genuine consequence. In New Jersey, we often pretend that slander and dirty tricks during the course of an election are cute, but here was one was a campaign to test the patience of political enthusiasts on both sides. You might check poll data every day and use PoliticsNJ as your start page. If you weren't turned off when the candidates started using each other's ex-wives and girlfriends as campaign props, then the problem is you.

I have never been enthusiastic about Jon Corzine. In 2000, he spent $34 million dollars to deny Jim Florio the Senate seat he was born to fill. This time out, he's muscling aside Richard Codey. I understand that around here there is no worship as profound as the idolatry of the wallet, but I disliked the sense of entitlement with which he bulldozed both of his more experienced and more qualified rivals. I am pleased that Senator Corzine voted against the Iraq War, but I hardly consider that a politically courageous stand for a New Jersey legislator to take. No matter how many SUVs you see on Interstate 80,
this is not tank country.

His opponent, Doug Forrester, accuses Corzine of coziness with the Democratic political organizations that dominate Jersey government. He is not blowing the cover off of anything here. Forrester's entire justification for running is his well-advertised belief that he's the man best suited to clean up the state -- a claim that is undermined by the candidate himself every time he gets on television and opens his mouth. No matter how often the Forrester camp pays for TV footage of Rudy Giuliani testifying to his graft-busting powers, the idea of this colorless, uncharismatic businessman successfully disentangling the cables of corruption and influence is so patently ridiculous that it practically satirizes itself.

An enormous -- though by no means all-determining -- problem with New Jersey politics is that a statewide candidate must commit to two separate media buys in some of the most expensive television markets in the world. This effectively prohibits all but multimillionaires from running for office. Moreover, running a campaign in New Jersey is so extraordinarily expensive that even the nation's richest men can't go it alone here. That means that both national parties inevitably get involved in the fight. The next thing you know, you're listening to debates about left and right and who is George Bush's lapdog. There is so much static in the Jersey air that we can't even have our own arguments.

We get what we deserve whether we participate or not, so I vote anyway. Tomorrow, at this time, surrounded by the usual sycophants, Jon Corzine will be giving his victory speech. Or he'll be conceding, and Forrester, who cannot seriously believe he's poised to steal this thing, will be pinching himself. No matter what the Senator says in his campaign lit, a vote for Corzine is a vote for the status quo: for the party organizations, and whatever is left of the McGreevey camp, the HCDO, and the old Lesniak-Lynch team that put the dumbass philanderer in the governor's mansion. I'll be casting that vote. Then, it'll be back to the rest of my day.

Oy, I thought my endorsement of Forrester was tepid. Between the two of us we might get up a 'hip, hip' but no chance for the 'hooray'.
I think it was around last year, watching election results in my basement when I learned "When it comes down to it, you should really only vote for someone you really, truly believe in".

That is why tomorrow (today) I'm going to wake up, eat breakfast, watch Charles In Charge, get cleaned up, head over and write in vote for Tris McCall (The extra parts just proves how honest I'm being).
I move too much...every time I vote, it gets sent back to me because of some mix-up with registering. I'll try again today. *sigh*
I half-assedly considered writing in Codey this morning, but the keyboard was rather intimidating, and Corzine's name was just hanging there.

I wonder, though, Tris, about your characterizing Corzine's vote against the Iraq thing as uncourageous. I mean, wasn't this during a period in which simply voicing doubts about the Bushdozer was enough to get you labeled a traitor? Actually voting against it must take some courage -- although yeah, it's less remarkable when viewed in terms of who Corzine's constituents are, as you point out.
jim -- it wasn't a cowardly vote, i just don't think it was a tough one. there were no real political consequences in jersey, and he knew that. but i have no reason to believe that he wasn't voting his conscience, and i didn't mean to imply that there was anything cynical about his stand. i believe jon corzine opposed the iraq war then, and still does now.
"In New Jersey, these statewide contests always narrow before Election Day and feint toward drama. Then, the candidate that you always figured would win ends up winning. So much bluster, so much money spent, so much rhetoric, so many attack ads, and so little genuine consequence."

Hoo boy, did you call that one!!
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