Sunday, January 25, 2009


Most of us have heard of the Whig Party, a U. S. political party of the 19th Century, but not many know much about it. Some even believe it was an early name for the Republican Party, but that's wrong.
The Whigs began about 1833 as a successor to the National Republican Party and other forces opposed to Democratic President Andrew Jackson's policies. Their primary focus was a strong Congress, but this was mainly due to their opposition to Jackson. Other aims of the Whigs included the building of an industrial base in what was then an agrarian United States economy.
Towards the end, however, the Whigs' campaigns were mainly that they were not the Democrats. What finally did them in was the party's lack of a united stand on the divisive slavery issue; many abolitionist Whigs left to join first the Liberty Party, then the Free Soil Party, and the Whigs evaporated as a national organization in 1856, after only about 23 years in existence. In the 1850's the Free Soil Party was absorbed into the fledgeling G. O. P.
The early Republican Party's success was due largely to its strong stands on abolishing slavery and preserving the Union, just as more recently our great party has been most successful when it took strong stands on issues, as in the Reagan Revolution of the 1980's and the Gingrich Revolution of the 1990's.
In the post-Gingrich era, congressional Republicans moved away from conservative principles, and unprecedented spending resulted in the loss of congressional majorities to the Democrats in 2006.
The 2008 Presidential election opened with no clear conservative to take up the Republican cause. Fred Thompson never really gained traction, and Mitt Romney's conservative stands at times contrasted with his record as Governor of Massachusetts. This resulted in the nomination of moderate John McCain, who's biggest asset would appear to have been conservative Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.
Since the election, it would appear that the G. O. P. has come to the proverbial crossroads. Some, like former National Chairman Rich Bond, propose a more moderate course: “Not everybody comes from the same constituency as a majority-white homogenous district in the South where all people care about is keeping their guns and taxes.” Others, like writer Larrey Anderson, believe that conservatism is the heart and soul of the G. O. P. : "The GOP needs to understand, and it needs to understand this soon, that there is no Republican Party without conservatives -- and conservatives need to start acting on this fact." (Hat tippo to Art Gallagher.)
Where will this debate lead? Time will tell. I know one thing, though. If the Republican Party moves away from basic conservative principles and fails to differentiate itself from the Democrats in bold contrast, we're done. The Democrats won't mind a one-party government, in fact they would relish it.
We can start with the upcoming state elections for Governor and Assembly. Steve Lonegan has already begun that in his campaign for governor; hopefully Chris Christie, Rick Merkt and the other gubernatorial candidates will also stand in bright contrast to the Bozo-coiffed Governor Corzine. One of these men will be our nominee. A clear message is key. The Republican Assembly candidates, both incumbent and challengers, should also leave no doubt as to what will happen should our party regain the majority in Trenton.
If we go in with no message, if there is no clear difference between Republicans and Democrats, we lose.
Then we're the Whigs.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Monmouth County's Democratic County Commissioners (neé Freeholders) claim to want to cut waste in government. That's debateable, but we'll reserve that battle for another day.
I believe their reduction of board member salaries is an excellent start.
In the spirit of reduction, I would like to help them, and I offer this proposal. Monmouth County has an "at-large" board, meaning that they each represent the county as a whole, as opposed to individual towns or districts. As such, having five is redundant. Indeed, it is arbitrary, as Mercer, a smaller county, has seven. So it has nothing to do with population.
I propose a three-member board. This would result in an instant 40% reduction in board salaries, not to mention less secretaries, printing agendas, etc.
But Abe, but Abe, you say, who would be let go? I've already figured that out, campers. In a bi-partisan way, of course.
Director Barbara McMorrow gets to stay. She runs by herself, and to eliminate her position would disrupt the election cycle of board members. So she stays.
The other four members run two at a time, so one of each pair would have to go. Amy "Hammerhead" Mallet goes. She's the "most recent hire", she got in by the skin of her shark teeth, and doesn't appear to offer anything to the organization. So she goes.
Rob Clifton is the senior member of the board. If seniority counts, he stays. That leaves John D'Amico, affectionately known as "Flippy". Although he served before, that was way back in the 80's, and he's been out of touch since then. He didn't have an original idea then, and nothing seems to have changed since then. Like Amy Mallet, Flippy squeaked in back in '07. So he, too gets laid off.
That leaves two Republicans and one Democrat. How 'bout that. We're back!
The above is a work of satire.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Sounds like a child's fairy tale, doesn't it. It isn't.
The Democrats are now in charge of Monmouth County. Bergen County with beaches. Cherry Hill Shores. Whatever. Let's take a look at the players here.
The Figurehead. That's Director Barbara McMorrow. A nice lady by anyone's opinion. That's why she's the director. It's good politics on their part. She's popular, likeable and puts a human face on their operation. She's their only real vote-getter and she's up for reelection this year. The Party needs to reelect her in order to stay in power. At this point she's really more window dressing than anything else, because it doesn't look like she's really calling the shots. We'll see if Republicans still Barbara McMorrow after a few months of her being the face of Union County South.
Flippy. We all know this guy. County Commissioner John D'Amico. We probably should start calling him "The Prime Minister", because it appears that he's really the director in everything but running the meetings. An old-time politician, he took care of his cronies while at the State Parole Board and is well known for chamaelaeonic changes on issues, hence his moniker, Flippy. He continues to flip-flop. From the Asbury Park Press editorial of January 3: Democratic Freeholder John D'Amico, about to start his second year on the board, campaigned in 2007 with a promise to oppose paying fees to lobbyists. He said, quite rightly, that it's the job of the freeholders and the county's federal representatives to lobby for federal funding. But he voted along with the majority last year to reappoint one of two transportation consulting firms.
Last month, he and fellow Democrat Barbara McMorrow approved spending $220,000 to reappoint both firms. The one D'Amico voted against last year, Gibbons P.C., will get an 11 percent pay boost this year.

And the Press actually endorsed this guy!
His latest proposal is to renovate the County Court House. It is telling that D'Amico was a Superior Court Judge and would want to take care of his former co-workers, like he did when he got Democratic Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson's wife Valeria a job on the Parole Board. And back in '06 I wrote about all the contributions to the County Dems from construction trades unions. Guess this is their bonanza. Basically Flippy's lost in the 80's, out of touch from all those years in the ivory tower of the judiciary.
Hammerhead. That's Amy Mallet. Amy is like a shark and a shark is fishy and so is Amy. As shallow as a mud flat at low tide. An empty suit. We wrote here and here about her longtime connections to out-of-county operators like George E. Norcross III. She touted herself as a "businesswoman", but was very secretive about just what her business was. A look at what commentary she has made would reveal her as somewhat of a gaffer, kind of a "Biden with boobs". She's basically there to do what she's told.
Rasputin (Распутин). A new character. Democratic party mouthpiece, Michael Mangan. He seems to be well-involved in calling the shots, and may actually be the conduit between County Democratic Boss Victor Scudiery and Prime Minister Flippy. Or he may be a conduit between the out-of-county bosses and Flippy, in which case Scudiery becomes a second Figurehead.
This saga will continue. We don't know where or if The Curmudgeon will figure into this. Other characters will emerge as these people make their appointments. It could well become a veritable Jerry Springer Show of stars here.