Friday, March 31, 2006

Corruption in New Jersey? Wow!

Here's why the ethics-challenged habits of the Democratic Party matter:

The New Jersey Senate race has turned surprisingly competitive, with most voter polls showing Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. in a virtual tie with Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, one of the state's leading machine bosses who has been hit by criticism about his ethics.

Ordinarily, Mr. Kean, the Republican whip in the state Senate, where the party is in the minority, would have a steep hill to climb in a state where registrations show Democrats outnumber Republican voters by better than 2-to-1. But he has been helped by an unlikely Republican ally: the press, which has been running stinging editorials and news stories that have called Mr. Menendez's ethics into question.

That's from Donald Lambro, who reports that even the New York Times(!) is outraged by the aura of sleaze surrounding Menendez:

When Mr. Menendez was appointed by Gov. Jon Corzine late last year to fill his unexpired seat, the New York Times criticized the selection as "disappointing," calling the former congressman "a proponent of business as usual. He has long been an entrenched de facto leader of the Hudson County Democratic machine."
"There have been 75 corruption indictments in New Jersey over the last four years. The public has a right to yearn for a break from the past, and Mr. Menendez does not represent a clean slate," the Times editorialized.
New Jersey newspapers have questioned the senator's relationship with a former aide, whom he helped to get lobbying contracts and consulting work, while
other stories have raised questions about his use of campaign funds for purportedly noncampaign purposes.

"Menendez is the undisputed party boss in Hudson County, and we're going to be talking a lot about ethics reform," Kean campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said yesterday.
"There is a crisis of confidence [in Mr. Menendez]. We're in a period of corruption, and we need to have people in Washington, D.C., that people can trust," she said.

The Democratic Party's 200-year legacy of corruption is a big factor in why Democrats have been unable to gain traction on the ethics issue, despite the GOP's Abramoff-related woes (more on Abramoff in a later update). Even TIME magazine -- which, as we show in Chapter 9 of DONKEY CONS, falsely tried to spin the Enron debacle as a GOP scandal -- is forced to admit this:

Meanwhile, although there is no doubt that Americans are unhappy with the Republicans who run the country, Democratic strategists acknowledge that they have yet to sell voters on their party. In the TIME poll, approval for congressional Democrats is no higher (39%) than for Republicans, and 56% of voters said they don't believe the Democrats offer a clear set of alternative policies.

Right. If the problem is corruption, the answer is not Democrats.

UPDATE: New Jersey's Dan Riehl asks, "Can we at least deport illegal politicians? Or won't there be any left? Menendez and Lautenberg, Gawd I need out of this state." Oh, and Dan also tells us that New Jersey's ex-Gov. Jim McGreevy is writing a "tell-all memoir" about being a corrupt Democrat ... oh, wait a minute. No. Sorry, it's about being a victim of homophobia.

- - - -

Let me just take some time to point out one of my pet peeves: Poll-mongering. What TIME does with its latest poll is unethical and dishonest in the extreme. It is a flat-out lie to report these numbers as if they matter. Here's the point:

This TIME poll was conducted by telephone March 22-23 among 1,003 adult Americans by SRBI Public Affairs.

Random adults! Random freaking adults! I will try to restrain my rage when I remind you that ...


Any poll of "random adults" about a political issue (as opposed to a poll about their favorite brand of soft drink) is invalid, irrelevant and useless. At the very least, to offer insight as to what actual voters might be thinking, a political poll should be limited to registered voters. And, of course, as election time approaches, it becomes possible to apply screens and derive a sample of "likely voters."

But a random sample of mere adults includes a substantial number of people too stupid and too ignorant to understand anything about news or politics. These people tend to be poorly educated and seldom watch TV news or public-affairs program. If they read a newspaper, it's only for the sports scores or the horoscopes. Such people often show up in polls as "don't know" or "don't care" responses, but so far as they have any political leanings, the "don't know/don't care" respondents always lean heavily toward the Democrats.

And here's the most important thing about the "don't know/don't care" set: THEY DON'T VOTE. Thank God for that. Think about it. If you "don't know" anything about politics and you "don't care" who's running for office or what the issues are, why would you bother to vote?

But the fact that the "don't know/don't care" segment of random adults is a political null set doesn't stop TIME (nor any other MSM outfit) from lumping them into polls which are then used to suggest that everybody hates Republicans and therefore Democrats are on the verge of a breakthrough victory. That isn't news, it's propaganda, and they ought to stop doing it.

< /RANT>


DONKEY CONS: About the book