New Jersey Powerlessness List 2010
You may have noticed that last week PolitickerNJ again posted their own Power List ––answering the question on everybody’s mind:
Who are the most powerful and influential people in New Jersey politics?
And this year, it’s just in time for Thanksgiving! I’m sure that all of those on their list will sit around with families and friends knowing that this year they have something special to be thankful for.
Their list identifies New Jersey’s 100 most influential people in politics––either through their personalities, their professions or their ability to Git-R-Done in Trenton. People whose phone calls get returned faster than the Governor can insult a teacher, lose money from Washington or shut down the ARC Tunnel. Someone whose advice people seek more than Doctor Phil’s, whose Facebook friend you want to be, whose Tweets get re-Tweeted more than Lady Gaga’s or Justin Bieber’s.
People who get interviewed by CNN, Fox News, the Star-Ledger and Jim McQueeny. People who get mentioned everyday in Paul Mulshine’s columns. These are the people who award-winning political cartoonist Jimmy Margulies makes sure he practices drawing juuuust right. The folks who not only have a seat at the Trenton power table, but they own the chairs.
The Ultra-Movers. Uber-Shakers. the Super-Duper Politicos. Well, I’ll have none of that for my Powerlessness List.
My list identifies the most politically non-influential personalities. We include anyone and everyone whose phone calls don’t get returned; who never get invited anywhere anymore, ever. Those with whom photos would be a death knell in any election campaign. Folks whose mere names elicit the response of “Who?” in the halls of the State House. On my list, I don’t worry about some arbitrary number like “100”. While PolitickerNJ eliminated current office holders, former governors, former senators—we’ve eliminated no one.
If you no longer matter in New Jersey, you matter to me.
Once again, as opposed to the opinion–driven, rumor–mongering method used by the folks at PolitickerNJ for their 2010 Power List, our method was scientific, empirical, data-driven, objective—and any other super cool words used by Ben Dworkin, Patrick Murray or the rad dudes at Eagleton.
And while there are no right or wrong answers, this list does change from nano-second to nano-second—just like the flow of ‘RealPolitik’. As a matter of fact, when you started reading this column, you were on the List. But because you have taken out time to read this very important stuff, you’re now too important to be on the List. Puff, you’re gone.
We welcome your comments. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> . And if you’re un-important and un-influential enough, I won’t respond to your email.
New Jersey Powerlessness List 2010:
21-The Guy on Corzine’s Staff who Writes campaign checks to Democrats –As former Gov. Corzine settles in to his new job as the head honcho of MG Global Holdings, he is no longer sending regular checks to every Democratic candidate seeking any and all public office in New Jersey. The Corzine ATM is now officially closed, and the guy who writes those checks for the governor is on the unemployment line with Brett Schundler and Brett Favre.
20-Peter Cammarano’s Parole Officer –Now that the former Hoboken Mayor has been sentenced to 24 months in a correctional facility just over the Jersey border in Pennsylvania, his parole officer’s services are no longer needed. Special note: Cammarano was not one of the people who left New Jersey to live in Pennsylvania due to higher taxes. He had no choice.
19-Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver—The first female Speaker of the Assembly has been dissed over and over again by the other power brokers in Trenton. With the male folk like Steve Sweeney, Ray Lesniak, Steve Adubato, Sr., George Norcross, Joe DiVincenzo, Jr. calling the shots, Ms. Oliver is just not getting a fair shake. Come on guys, give her a seat at the table, too.
18-The Statue of Lou Costello in Patterson – This statue looks a lot like Governor Christie in size and girth, but unlike the governor cannot get anything done. Special note: the cuts in the New Jersey state budget by the Governor’s office sometimes do sound like a “Who’s On First?” routine.
17-The Governor’s Anger Management Coach – The Governor has taken on yelling and laughing at everyone from Tom Moran, to NJEA leaders, to teachers at every town meeting from Cape May to Fort Lee. He has even taken his “Anger Show 2010” on the road when stumping for Republican candidates around the country. Obviously, this anger management coach has no power whatsoever. Special note: while the governor rejected the advice to repeat the phrase “Serenity now!” He has taken to repeating the phrase, “This is who I am, this is who the people of New Jersey elected.”
16-Brett Schundler – The former mayor of Jersey City, was the Republicans pick to run against Jim McGreevey in 2001. Next, Christie tapped him to be the Commissioner of Education and to champion charter schools and school voucher programs for the Garden State. When he showed “backbone” and “independence”, the governor lost his love for Brett. Oh, also it was that loss of a mere $400 million in “race to the top” funds. Now, Brett is on the unemployment line with almost 10% of the rest of New Jersey.
15-Solomon Dwek– In 2009, Solomon (or Shlomo, as his “friends” call him) was all the rage with the FBI. His cell phone number was on the speed dial of every FBI agent assigned in Trenton. What a difference a year makes! Now that the 44 corrupt politicos are either in jail, and in trial or in limbo, Dwek has lost his influence, and couldn’t even get arrested in a New Jersey diner for stealing Splenda packets. What’s on deck for Dwek? Maybe a reality TV show on Bravo about political corruption: “Hey, I got Dwek’d!”.
14-Peter DeStefano’s campaign manager– Allegedly, DeStefano was the Tea party candidate in the Third Congressional District running against Jon Runyan and John Adler. Allegedly, he was put up to run in order to take votes from Runyon and give the race to Adler. Allegedly, that worked out well. The last we heard, DeStefano’s campaign manager was working on Peter Cammarano’s race for a spot on the Prisoners Representation Board of the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. This is going to be one of the most carefully watched races in the federal penitentiary system of all former New Jersey elected officials.
13-Independent candidate for governor Chris Daggett’s Lieut. Gov. running mate–At a recent gathering of Democratic and Republican elected officials, I posed the question: “Do you remember the name of the guy who ran with Chris Daggett just a year ago for lieutenant governor?” After all, he was the only male running for the position. Not one person I asked could remember the guy’s name. As a matter of fact, neither can I. If you can e-mail the name to me without Googling it, you’ll win a “Stender is a Spender” bumper sticker.
12-Wally Edge – It was revealed earlier this year that former Livingston Mayor David Wildstein was the true identity of “Wally Edge”, the longtime editor and political commentator for PolitickerNJ. Wildstein took a management position with the Port Authority of NY/NJ, which we guess pays a lot better than being on staff at PolitickerNJ. Not sure why was it necessary even to reveal who Wally Edge was, –––after all, there have been two Dear Abby’s, and two Darrins on “Bewitched”— and no one seems to complain. The same scam would have continued to work just fine on the folks of New Jersey. Special note: Livingston’s payroll checks at the Port Authority of NY/NJ continued to be written to “Wally Edge”.
11-Scott Siprelle – Apparently it does take a rocket scientist to win a seat in Congress in the 12th District. This former Wall Street guy lost out once again to Congressman Rush Holt. Siprelle is now stuck with 10,000 extra knishes, we estimate.
10-“The average Democratic voter in New Jersey” – Complete loss of voting power. We’ve got a Dem majority legislature and had a Dem majority Congress, and yet, our leaders couldn’t come together to pass legislation that has been advocated by the Democratic Party for many years. This gem from comedian Bill Maher: “With stem cell research properly funded, scientists believe we could do everything from curing Parkinson’s to regenerating spinal cord tissue in Democrats. …”
9-New York City bedbugs – One good thing about the cancellation by the governor of the ARC tunnel, is that New York City bedbugs, which have completely infested the Big Apple, have no way to get to New Jersey. We are safe, at least for a while until they learn how to swim.
8-Danielle Staub – She wasn’t real, she wasn’t a housewife and now she can’t get a spin-off, either.
7-The entire Camden County Democratic Committee – Camden County has long been a bastion of Democratic majorities. Along with Essex County and Hudson County, Camden can be counted on to produce huge Democratic majorities that help get elect statewide Democratic candidates. But, former county chairman George Norcross maintains such tight controls everything that goes on in the county, the County Democratic Committee itself most likely does not wield much power on its own.
6-Anna Little – The Mayor of the Borough of Highlands came the closest of any candidate in recent memory to defeating Congressman Frank Pallone. Some say she would have won if she could have gotten Donny & Marie to come to Monmouth County to sing, “Anna Little bit country, Anna Little bit rock-n-roll.” Perhaps that would’ve helped more than her wacky positions on issues, which included a flat tax, and opposition to any legislative fight against global warming. Had she won she also might’ve tried to outlaw evolution and gravity.
5-The owner of the Malibu diner – With all 44 corrupt political officials clearly on the way to jail or to trial, New Jersey diners are no longer the hip place to be for FBI agents, Solomon Dwek, and elected officials to meet over a cup of coffee and exchange wads of cash in envelopes.
5-Tom Anderson, the guy who founded MySpace– Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg was able to find $100 million to give to the city of Newark’s school system Anderson has not been as nearly as generous. The default friend of everybody on MySpace is now the proud founder of the very uncool social networking site.
4-The fine folks at NJN – With the Governor’s budget ax chopping everywhere, it was sure to soon find its way to the New Jersey Network. With a budget of about $18 million, NJN airs programs on public Affairs, the arts, and culture as well as education. The budget is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, broadcast-tower rentals, production income, fund-raising, taxpayer dollars, and grants. NJN’s 150 employees received layoff notices already, and its 17 foundation employees got their pink slips, too.
3-The “In The Lobby.com” guys – Back from last year: Their emails are still boring, and they still have way too many ads. Never seen a scoop there at all. Hey, I write for the PolitickerNJ team. What did you expect?
2- Chairman of the Essex, Camden Hudson County Republican Parties. Pathetic. Not even the Republican State Committee knows who these folks are. There’s standing room only at the courtrooms where Democratic officeholders are being arraigned, and these guys can’t even field a softball team let alone a slate of candidates. Bristol Palin wields more influence in New Jersey than this trifecta of Moe, Larry and Curley here.
But there is one person who is the least influential politico in New Jersey politics and that’s…
1-Me –I’m in Hunterdon County. Getting candidates elected? I can’t even predict who’s gonna win on Dancing With The Stars. There’s an old saying in politics. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, write sarcastic blogs about those who can.