Only in New Jersey: Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin goes moose hunting in Hackensack, only to learn a Bergen County Republican freeholder candidate was once a socialist.
The humorous radio ad, produced by the Bergen County Democratic freeholder and county clerk slate, has drawn outrage from the Bergen County Republicans, who called part of it an attack on Freeholder candidate Paul Duggan’s Irish heritage.
The ad, which is interspersed with moose calls, begins with an unidentified male voice asking a Palin impersonator what she’s doing in Hackensack.
“Me and my maverick friends hear that there’s some darn good moose hunting here,” she says, before adding that she’s heard that “the Republican candidates are some pretty serious reformers.”
The male voice counters by saying that the Republicans are known for “high taxes, wasting money and political cronyism,” and, without naming County Clerk Kathe Donovan, brings up the non-emergency helicopter rides she took in the mid-1990s, when she was a Port Authority commissioner.
It also mentions that “One of the Republican Freeholder candidates [Paul Duggan] was a Socialist Party Member?”
“I’m going to have to get back to ya,” responds Palin.
Duggan, who came to the United States in 1989, was a Labour Party member back in Ireland, when he was in his 20s.
Although the ad never mentions that Duggan emigrated from Ireland, Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin called the socialist reference “code for a scurrilous attack on Paul’s Irish heritage.”
“They’re talking about things that supposedly happened 20 or 30 years ago when Paul lived in Ireland. He came to this country to start a new life…it’s stooping to political lows, and the voters are going to reject this kind of campaign,” he said, adding “They can’t talk about Joe Ferriero’s indictment by the U.S. Attorney, Dennis Oury’s indictment by the U.S. Attorney, Joe Coniglio’s indictment by the U.S. Attorney – they can’t talk about the way they raised taxes by $133 million and they blame us for raising taxes. Their attempted mocking just shows their childish gibberish.”
Duggan argued that political parties in Ireland aren’t as ideologically polarized as they are here, and said that there’s nothing wrong with undergoing an ideological conversion anyway. He referred to perhaps the most famous political convert in American history: Ronald Reagan.
“I’ve evolved since my 20s. Everybody has evolved,” he said.
Bergen County Democratic spokesman Bill Maer said the charge was absurd, noting that there’s an obviously Irish name on the Democratic ticket.
“Do you think Bernadette McPherson would authorize an ad that is anti-Irish?,” he said. “The ad is fact-based, and the Republicans have inadequate candidates, no issues, and a past they’re running away from. The Democratic candidates have done a great job governing Bergen County, and the Republicans cannot come to grips with that fact.”