2/3rd’s Less Trump & TWICE the Snark!

Mt Laurel — If there’s ever been a wackier week in politics, nationally and state-wide, I can’t recall. Can you? In fact, there’s so much campaign-season craziness swirling about, I’ll just dish up a few easily-digestable political vignettes to highlight some of the week’s highs and lows. Mostly lows.

McConnell’s roll model?

Contemplate for a moment how outraged Democrats would rightly be if America’s top senator, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to vote on President Obama’s nomination/s to fill a US Supreme Court vacancy. It’s a scenario requiring little imagination: just yesterday, McConnell was “adamant” that Obama’s high court picks won’t even be considered. The opening, created with the passing of conservative justice Antonin Scalia, leaves the nation’s high court evenly divided with no apparent mechanism to break a 4:4 tie. The rationale for McConnell’s intransigence is the kind of bare-knuckled partisan politics that makes Americans hate our politicians. McConnell wants do deprive a Obama of the chance to replace a conservative justice with someone more in line with the president’s wishes (and presumably the wishes of tens of millions of voters who elected Obama twice.) That’s lame. Lamer still is McConnell’s justification for doing so: Obama’s term’s winging down so the choice is best left for his replacement. Which is kinda like saying “let’s bench the opponent’s starting quarterback in the 4th quarter in favor of an unknown future draft pick because we don’t want the other team to score.” No. Just no.
Now let’s examine an eerily similar scenario in Trenton where NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) refuses to consider GOP Governor Christie’s picks for state supreme court vacancies. Unlike McConnell’s novel embrace of this self-serving power grab, Sweeney’s played this game in Trenton since Christie was elected. Why? Because the Governor denied tenure to one of Sweeney’s BFFs who wanted another hitch on NJ’s high court. The same ego-driven tactics embraced by Mitch McConnell to thwart Obama’s judicial appointments — much derided by liberals like me — were actually pioneered right here by our own Senate President, a Democrat who wants to be New Jersey’s next governor. It’s a bit of irony progressives won’t forget when Sweeney asks for our votes next spring.
Besides, “our Supreme Court is too important to be held hostage by the same partisan gridlock that has caused government shutdowns,” reads a petition on the Obama’s political website. “President Obama is taking his constitutional responsibility seriously—the Senate should do the same.”
Notwithstanding the roll-reversal bit, how’s the scene in Trenton any different? It’s not! Which makes dire “collision course” predictions seem all the more likely.
Jen Holdsworth’s New Gig
As reported on PolitickerNJ last week, NJ Democratic State Committee political director Jen Holdsworth is leaving her Trenton post to spearhead NJ’s efforts to have a truly out-sized influence over this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Philly. “About 1,000 New Jerseyans made the trek to Charlotte in 2012 for the convention to nominate President Obama,” Holdsworth tells PolitickerNJ. “With Philly right next door, we suspect that number should triple this time around.”
Any predictions?
“I expect close to 3,000 NJ politicos will attend convention festivities this summer,” Holdsworth said. “New Jersey’s delegation, election officials, attendees, and guests will be an omnipresent force in Philly this summer. (I’ll) be intimately involved with the planning of several regional- and high profile events which highlight the very best NJ has to offer. So be prepared for a week of (Democratic) party unity, patriotism, progressive agenda-pushing and a dash of mandatory fun!”
Presidential-year conventions are a big deal for both parties so it’s quite right that NJ should leverage our geographic advantages this time around. And with Jennifer Holdsworth leading these efforts, NJ is poised to show the national democratic establishment that NJ is more than just an ATM machine for campaign cash.
Joke’s on you, Bramnick
Which was more shocking: Chris Christie’s craven endorsement of Donald Trump for president? Or GOP Assembly leader Jon Bramnick’s blithe, blind willingness to (once again) play the Governor’s lapdog and follow suit.
“I intend to support the governor’s choice here, because Trump has the most nexus with New Jersey. He has golf courses here.” Mr. Bramnick told NYTimes. Notice how Bramnick can’t even bring himself to say the words (“I endorse Trump”) outright, referring to embrace Donald Trump in the most mealy-mouthed way possible. And secondly, golf courses? Really, Assemblyman is that part of your new comedy act?
Jon Bramnick’s fealty to the governor has left his party (and his caucus) at the whim of another man’s whims. Add that to Braminick’s ever-shrinking minority in Trenton and you gotta wonder when the next generation might step up. (O’Scanlon, Schepisi, looking at y’all!) My message for Jon Bramnick is an urgent one: When your members are calling left-wing columnists (like me) to unburden themselves (off the record) about your leadership style, it’s probably time for trenchant self-assessment on your part!
Jay Lassiter started covering New Jersey politics in 2005 as a blogger for BlueJersey.com. After a stint as America’s first State House blogger, Jay did communication for Congressman Rob Andrews and Congressman John Adler. Jay’s best known for his work legalizing medical marijuana and gay marriage and for working to end N.J.’s death penalty. He’s on Twitter @Jay_Lass.
2/3rd’s Less Trump & TWICE the Snark!