I attended two rallies for gubernatorial candidates this weekend. The first was for Governor Jon Corzine, Friday night in Elizabeth, Union County, the heart of Democratic political territory.
The second was Saturday, day for Republican candidate Chris Christie, in Flemington, Hunterdon County, the heart of Republican political territory.
They both had the same smell.
Only difference was this:
The stench Friday night was from the industrial factories in Elizabeth. The stench Saturday day was from the speeches of Christie, Lonegan, et al.
Attending the Democratic rally for Jon Corzine/Loretta Weinberg was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (the Representative in Congress who represen my mother, Pearl Novick, in Florida, by the way), Senator Ray Lesniak, and scads of local Union County Democratic candidates.
Attending the Republican rally were Steve Lonegan (brought in to try and secure the conservative base for Christie—those who voted big time for Lonegan in the June Primary in Hunterdon); Mayor Rudy Giuliani (of course, Christie said, commenting on President Obama coming in for Governor Corzine, that the “Obama visit shows Corzine's vulnerability.”—so what does Giuliani’s visit say?). Also on hand were Congressman Leonard Lance and the usual cast of local Republican candidates and electeds.
While President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, Senator Bill Bradley, Al Gore, and former New York governor Mario Cuomo have campaigned with Jon Corzine—here are some names you’re never going to see for Christie: Sarah Palin. President George W. Bush. Vice President Dick Cheney.
Friday night, the conversation was about protection of the environment; commitment to women and mammograms; healthcare for families with children; Family Leave Act; property tax relief, and economic stimulus.
The Saturday rally was an ObamaBashFest and CorzineBashFest. They attacked healthcare reform, environmental regulations they provide clean water, providing affordable housing for inner city families. Whether it was Giuliani, Lonegan or Christie himself, the result was always the same—-long on hot air rhetoric, short on substance. Empty suits all. But the all-Republican crowd did not seem to mind.
While everyone else wore their Christie/Guadagno buttons, I wore my “Rosie The Riveter”-style Democratic State Committee button. I was recognized, and there were the usual jokes from some Republican friends about how they had ‘change of party’ cards for me to sign.
One Republican gentleman carrying a Christie/Guadagno sign walked over to me and asked, “Are you Mr. Novick?” I gave him my usual line of, “Mr. Novick is my father. Please call me Joey,” with my hand out to shake. He neither laughed nor took my hand. (Maybe it was because of the flu season.) He said to me, “Do you want a (Christie/Guadagno) sign? We have one rule here: When you come to a (Republican) rally—you carry a sign.” Politely, I declined. He continued to stare me down. I just smiled, and told him to have a good day.
In the end, there were two predictions: Hunterdon County Republican Chairman Henry Kuhl said, “It will be close. But Christie will win by 2% points.” But, of course, this was the same guy who told me 18 months ago that “Rudy Giuliani will be the next president, and Fred Thompson will be Vice president.” Yeah, that worked out well.
The other prediction came from a Republican elected official who asked to remain anonymous, who said, “Don’t worry. The state Republican Party will figure some way to f#*k up this election. Just wait and see.”
Tuesday, we shall. We definately shall.