NJ 2009 Powerlessness ReDux

Last week’s column reminded us all of those whose political influence in the Garden State has waned so greatly that if it weren’t for their pension checks, we wouldn’t know where they live. Once movers & shakers, but now just faces in the crowd, these people don’t even get telemarketing calls for a Star-Ledger subscription.

Here are some more folks, who various readers reminded me should have been unimportant enough to make the list the first time around. My apologies.

The response to my first column was just a touch less than overwhelming and I have received many e-mails listing other names. I had responses from many folks around New Jersey offering names of those who they thought should be on the list; people who should be off the list, and some who took the column way too seriously. One person demanded to see any empirical data I had gathered, believing he had the right to see it under OPRA. Must be all the rain or a slow news August.

That goes to show you that there some people have fallen so far outside our political field of vision that I didn’t even remember them. So I present to you now not merely an extension of the list, but perhaps the cream of the failed crop that are the powerless of New Jersey:

Doug Forrester – A two-time losing statewide candidate, he’ll be lucky now if he can back get his old column at the West Windsor-Plainsboro Chronicle. It was difficult for Forrester to run in places like Atlantic City, which he described in his column as having “the subtle beauty of a streetwalker.” Believe me, I’ve seen plenty of people in New Jersey politics prostitute themselves and they were a lot uglier than the hookers in AC. Did either Chris Christie or Steve Lonegan seek out Forrester’s support during their primary? I think not. Maybe they did, which brings up the age-old question: If an endorsement falls with Forrester, does anyone hear it?

Bill Bradley – Rhodes Scholar, New York Knicks star, three-term U.S. Senator, and 2000 presidential candidate. Now, only the name of the tuna melt at Madison Square Garden’s sports bar. Do you remember when he came out of the wilderness last year to make a public endorsement of Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary? The effect? I saw bigger waves being made by the stranded dolphins in the Shrewsbury River.

The Camden County Democratic Party – The ultimate no-show jobs in New Jersey. Why? Because all decisions get made when George Norcoss has dinner with Rob & Camille Andrews. Rob took his chances against Frank Lautenberg, avowing that his Senate run would mean abandoning his safe House seat. But with plenty of qualified Democrats to choose from, Camille was chosen to be the replacement candidate. We all know the rest of the story. After being trounced by Lautenberg, Rob took his House candidacy back faster than Wayne Bryant fills out a job application. For Camille, I’ve seen people at the movies spend more time holding a seat for someone else.

UMDNJ – It graduates many fine students who go on to provide New Jerseyans with quality health care. But apparently some schnook in the tight-knit Syrian Jewish community of Deal seems to have done a better job at getting organ donations. If you can’t beat a guy who has nothing more than a cell phone and a beach cooler, then it’s time to look at the people you have in your top positions, like Wayne Bryant.

And just some of the folks whose names were emailed to me [who I feel compelled to mention, although if they were important enough to mention by others, probably should not be on this list.] Some of these folks have less influence than Lucy The Elephant and seen less frequently these days than the New Jersey Devil: Former Hamilton Mayor Glen Gilmore. Bret Schundler, Donnie D and Paul Digaetano. The Republican candidate for Assembly in the Third District. Roselle Councilwoman Samantha Dow. And in the interest of bi-partisan fairness, one reader said, “I would replace Sarah Palin with Joe Biden”.

And in the unenviable spot of most ostracized person in New Jersey politics, it is…

Me – Again? Yes, that’s right. With all of the e-mails I got from people after my first powerlessness column, no one disagreed with my placement on it. Well, at least people are writing me now. Maybe next year I will be higher [or lower?] on the list.

NJ  2009 Powerlessness ReDux