Saturday, September 30, 2006

Pelosi Gets Biblical, Rooney Gets Creeped

It's been a crazy 48 hours. And it's only going to get wilder for the next 38 days, as Election 2006 moves closer still. Need a remedy in the interest of mental clarity? Here's a moment of Zen, compliments of a San Fran liberal, straight from the King James Bible:

"'Forty is a number fraught with meaning in the Bible, whether it is the Jews in Gaza, Noah and his wife and the ark, or Christ in the desert,' Pelosi said she reminded the House Democratic caucus."

Judging by the events of the last few days, coupled with Nancy Pelosi's apparent conversion to Christianity, I feel more than confident declaring this election the first sign of the Apocalypse. Despair.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Report: GOP Picks Twin Cities for 2008 Convention


As of 1:30pm Wednesday afternoon, Drudge has reported that the Republican National Committee has chosen the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul as the site for the 2008 Republican Convention. Buzz surrounding a Twin Cities convention has been circulating DC for a few days, but this is the first public report indicating that a decision may have been finalized.

With recent national elections showing the Upper Midwest as a crucial swing region, this would prove to be a potentially savvy pick on behalf of Ken Mehlman and the convention committee.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Republicans Open Wallets, Get Down in DC

Earlier this evening, I had the pleasure of attending the National Republican Senatorial Committee's Majority Celebration in Washington, DC. It turned out to be a great event, and the committee raised a good deal of much needed funds for the final six week push to victory. The melt-in-your-mouth beef and heart attack-inducing chocolate cake weren't bad either. I even got to bust a move (to the horror of all present) while the band played "Guantanamera." Que divertido! And for the record, George Voinovich cut up the rug with his lovely wife (but not to "Guantanamera").

Many of the Senate Republicans were in attendance (few of which also "busted moves"), including many of the party's most endangered incumbents. Nevertheless, the mood among the donor base was chipper and optimistic, and the checkbooks got a solid workout. Additionally, the Vice President gave a great speech on elections, and Liddy Dole delivered a nice tribute in honor of outgoing Majority Leader Frist. Even a cynical conservative like myself found it hard to not enjoy being a Republican for the evening.

But for now, I desperately need to get out of this monkey suit and iron a shirt for work in the morning. Sleep well, conservatives, knowing full-well that the Senate (and yours truly) raised money and partied hard for a very worthy cause.

The Clinton Bill doesn't want you to see

Political pundit Dick Morris usually has an interesting perspective on current political events, I generally find his articles worthwhile reading. Morris is especially insightful when current events tie in with the Clinton Administration. (Morris worked on Clinton's gubernatorial campaigns in '78 and '82 and helped craft Clinton's successful move to the center leading up to the 1996 election). Following Bill Clinton's appearance on "Fox News Sunday" in which Clinton became defensive after his counter-terrorism methods and decisions were questioned, Morris wrote an interesting article for the Hill. In it Morris claims that the Clinton seen in an interview with Chris Wallace is the real deal, not the public persona most of the nation has become accustomed to.

The real Clinton emerges

Check out our competitors (We wish)

The political commentary site Real Clear Politics is far and away one of the best resources for political information (not to sell The Republic Square short, but we're taking baby steps) on the web. They have recently updated their commentary on the major Senate races, including New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. Check it out here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

When Clinton Attacks

WOW. Be sure to watch clips from FoxNews Sunday today, featuring a segment in which Chris Wallace bears the full brunt of Fmr. President Bill Clinton's ugly side.

Clinton usually tries his best to be cool under pressure, but his infamous good 'ole boy temper rears its violent hand in the face of yet another "right-wing" conspiracy. Looks like some one's legacy is in danger... one day, the truth will land his biography between James Buchanan's and Jimmy Carter's in the back room of an unfrequented public library.

Click here to "feel the pain" of history's poetic justice...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Change in Minnesota?

Check out this nugget from our friends over at Powerline. Many observers had given up on Rep. Mark Kennedy's Senate bid, but this might just change that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Desperate Menendez Summons Ghosts, Whores

How do you know that a candidate is desperate? When said politician has to rely on ghosts and "whores" to show up at the polls and vote on Election Day (accepting the fact that you don't live in a city where such practices are standard procedure).

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), in a fight for his life amid allegations of staggering ethics violations, has resorted to raising the specter of Vietnam to rally New Jersey to his cause:

"Then, like now, the American people suffered the consequences of a president who simply could not come clean about a war that was draining our treasury and costing thousands of American lives."

Severe historical, political, and contextual objections aside, Menendez continues to epitomize the exact bungling, directionless, corrupt and selfish leadership that Americans and New Jerseyans do not need particularly in a time of war. Remaking Iraq into Vietnam may satisfy Menendez's personal and political aims, but it does little to help the U.S. win a battle already engaged. Does a United States senator truly expect the people of New Jersey to be spooked sufficiently by 30 year-old phantoms to affirm his "inspiring leadership" in the voting booth?

Perhaps so, considering his condescending strategy is not restricted to the supernatural. Menendez also has placed faith in a pair of "media-whores" (thanks, Rush) to sway state sentiment away from his darkening personal image. I refer of course to disgraced media-tramp Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame, who recently accompanied Menendez to a news conference and a speech at Rutgers. Discredited even by liberal newspapers, with one media outlet recently lamenting that readers took Wilson "so seriously," white knight Wilson has lost his luster. Why bring him campaigning unless already low on options; why reach for a down-and-out has-been unless an increasing number of politicians have problems stumping for you? They can't ALL be tied up with dentist appointments, Bob.

Menendez's back is to the wall, and people in scary situations do desperate things. Like tell ghost stories or lay down with pigs. Luckily, since the citizens of New Jersey are not dumb or corrupt (contrary to national opinion), Bob Menendez's tactics are doomed to fail. Talking as if Nixon or Bush are on the ballot cannot change the fact that Tom Kean is his November opponent. Kean remains a respected lawmaker who, if you believe the polls, has kept voters focused on Menendez's numerous and embarrassing shortcomings, in addition to the way in which Kean will better serve the great state of New Jersey. This unavoidable reality alone looks to spell disaster for Menendez, his ghouls, and whatever other dregs can be fished out of the sewer between now and Election Day.

Read more at National Review Online about Wilson and Plame's lies.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bush Battles Back

The latest polls across the wire suggest that September 2006 may be a political springtime for George W. Bush (or at least a much needed Indian summer).

ABC News, NBC/WSJ and Fox News have all released polls showing the President at 40% or above. A Rasmussen poll released today shows the President at a long-lost but much welcomed 47%, a level of support not all that far off of his 2004 high. What factors are generating Bush's apparent comeback? Here are five potential Bush-buoying variables:

#5- Gas prices have plummeted, and by as much as a dollar or more in some regions of the country. A barrel of oil is now nearing the low price of $63, as compared to well over $70 earlier this year. Among other reasons for this lucky turn of events is a massive oil find in the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to Saudi prognostications that the world has tapped as little as 18% of its fossil fuel resources. Well now they tell us.

#4- The events surrounding the anniversary of 9/11, and the recent foiled terror plots in Britain, have undoubtedly refocused Americans on the seriousness of the international War on Terror. Not that everyone has suddenly re-embraced the GOP plan; more certainly, we are seeing considerable trepidation at the thought of Democratic leadership in troubled times. Maybe the GOP is not inspiring the masses at present, but the alternatives leave something to be desired for many likely voters.

#3- Americans are also paying increased attention to the election in general, one in which the GOP still (amazingly) retains a considerable GOTV and monetary advantage. The electorate remains in an anti-incumbent posture, but Democrats worry that their less-than-ideal mobilization strategy may hamper efforts to capitalize on electoral discontent. These types of factors are good for at least a few extra points in the final stretch, particularly in battleground states which the RNC will soon saturate with 60 million dollars worth of advertising (to the DNC's 12 million). Way to go, Howard. Yeaaaaaaaaaah!

#2- The economy has stayed strong. Very strong. The only potential problem on the horizon is the faltering housing market, but most experts remained divided on the seriousness of possible economic strains. Simply put, no matter how grave matters may become short of nuclear war, the health of American pocketbooks remains the most reliable indicator of voter preference. Why wouldn't it be? Why SHOULDN'T it be. Prosperity is the name of the game, and whether or not people can identify the specific cause or act impatiently from time to time, most know that money has been made during the Bush presidency.

#1- Finally, Bush is bringing the base back by refusing to blink. The President has been expected to retreat during the last weeks of the campaign, avoiding the limelight and saving face for his endangered party. To the chagrin of leftists, President Bush has characteristically struck out boldly in an attempt to make the case for his policies one final time. The cowboy analogies are too plentiful and overly cliched to type. It is unclear how successful Bush's stand will be, but the immediate effect seems to be a re-energized base.

What does all of this mean? I'm too smart for that trap. Just as in 2004 the country is moving into uncharted territory, when polling says little more what we already know: too close to call. Entirely frustrating, but a familiar tale in the current political age. What we can say has been expressed in recent Republican briefings around town, which suggest a sizable reduction in the amount of competitive House races held by Republicans. Long story short, the House is no longer a lost cause.

Soldier on, conservatives!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Chafee Wins, Cardin Looks to Defeat Mfume


Primary day in 9 states and the results are pouring in! The big news as of 12:30am Wednesday morning is one more competitive Senate race back on the electoral map. Embattled U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) has beaten back a difficult primary challenge to earn the Republican nomination with 99% of returns tabulated. Chafee's victory moves this race solidly into the toss-up column, as the nomination of the conservative upstart Laffey would have surely doomed the seat to Democratic occupation. Perhaps more importantly, the Democrats must now pour precious funds into the Rhode Island race that could have been spent in Jersey, Ohio, or the Keystone State to dislodge stubborn Republican opponents.

Other races of note this evening:

-In Maryland, Rep. Ben Cardin (D, MD-3) looks to defeat former NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume, who trails by approximately 9 points with 64% of precincts reporting. However, reported mechanical issues at polling places throughout the state may give the Cardin campaign a minor headache heading into the general. A Cardin/Steele match-up has not been polling well for the Lt. Governor, but minority discontent could hurt Democratic turnout in two months. Stay tuned...

-A bonified dogfight is underway in Arizona's 8th, as Randy Graf and Steve Huffman are but 600 votes apart in that seat's GOP Primary. Conventional wisdom asserts that Huffman has a better shot at holding the seat for the Republicans, but Graf has run a tough campaign blasting the NRCC. Ugly.

-Not a race so much as a truce to announce. Evidently, Howard Dean and DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel have brokered a strategic compact for the fall campaign. Theoretically, this should release millions of DNC dollars to help up to 40 Democratic candidates across the country. So much for the 50 state strategy... I wonder how Dean's Alaska and Utah GOTVs are shaping up?

Monday, September 11, 2006

In Memoriam: Robert Lawrence, Jr

On this most hallowed of anniversaries, in solidarity with 2,996 other blogs, The Republic Square pays tribute to a fallen American victim of the 9/11 Terrorist attacks. Please set aside some time out of your busy day to visit the 2996 tribute project site, and take a moment to read at least a few of the many touching memorials posted by the project's participants. Today we refuse to focus on death, terror, and war, but choose to celebrate the lives of our 2,996 dearly departed brothers and sisters.

The Republic Square remembers Robert Lawrence, Jr, a 41 yr old father, brother, and friend to many hailing from Summit, New Jersey.

On September 10, 2001, Robert started a new job as managing director of Sandler O'Neill & Partners on the 104th floor of Tower 2, having previously worked for a firm in Edison, NJ. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Robert was an expert in the securities field in which he excelled. He was also famously afraid of heights, but confronting challenges came naturally to the ambitious and competitive financial star. Robert tackled tennis, business, and family with characteristic zeal. "Bobby," as the family affectionately calls him, served as the family's linchpin, organizing family gatherings and holding the large clan together through good and bad times. As his sister fondly remembers, Robert's love of his family often led to well-meaning over protection, making it hard to secure a date immune from Bobby's scrutiny.

Robert's intensity did not mask a large and generous heart. A lover of music, sports, and time spent with his two children and wife, Robert particularly enjoyed playing hockey or singing and strumming the guitar with his kids after a long day at the office. Relatives recall his unique sense of humor, especially when entertaining at large family gatherings. He was also the kind of person who would give the shirt off his back to someone in need, and his community remembers Robert tearfully as a great neighbor and friend.

Robert Lawrence is survived by his two children, his wife, parents, siblings, cousins, friends, and dozens of others who miss his reassuring smile and loving soul.

RIP, Robert Lawrence, Jr.

To learn more about Robert, read personal testimonials and pay your respects, click here.

Montana proving a head scratcher.

The Republic Square Senate handicap returns this week as we preview another fiercely contested Senate Race: Montana. Incumbent Republican Conrad Burns faces a strong challenge from State Senate President Jon Tester. Burns is no stranger to close races, having barely bested now-Governor Brian Schweitzer in 2000.

To be perfectly frank, the minds here at TRS are having a hard time pegging the nature of this race. Burns has been tainted by his connections to Jack Abramoff, his several verbal gaffes, the perception that he might becoming too old and disinterested to represent the state. Tester leads in virtually all polls to date, but there has not been much movement either way.

Montana is quite possibly the reddest of the red states, a state, while being the setting for Brokeback Mountain, did not buy many tickets to actually see the film. President Bush is still popular with Montanans who gave him one of his largest margins of victory in 2004. Burns has recently become more vocal in his support for the current policy in Iraq. This kind of tactic flies in the face of virtually every other Republican candidate in the country this year, which leads us at TRS to believe that internally the Burns people view this a good strategy. Without a strong base of support for the war in Montana, in the estimation of the incumbent's campaign, such a strong endorsement of the war would be nearly suicidal.

Tester's plan for victory seems to mirror that which sent Schweitzer to Helena in 2004. Schweitzer ran as a non-partisan good guy (with a GOP Lt. Governor, no less) in the wake of a disastrously unpopular Judy Martz. Schweitzer was widely seen as a known quantity due to his aforementioned loss to Burns in 2000, a strength that Tester does not share. It is certain though that Tester will receive plenty of support from Schweitzer throughout the campaign.

Montana has forgiven Burns many times for his tendency to be, ahem, less than sensitive. Tester has to overcome a vast numerical disadvantage as well as Bush's lingering popularity in Montana. It will be interesting to see if this race becomes a proxy battle between Bush's popularity and Schweitzer's, or whether or not Burns has one last comeback in him. The most striking characteristic in this race from the TRS perspective is the virtual lack of movement in the polls to this point. It would seem that this is a race where one event could change the dynamics so much that the campaign becomes a slam dunk.

Until that dynamic shifts, TRS maintains that Montana remains a tossup.

The State of Our "Union" Has Been Worse

Yes, Americans are pretty angry at each other right now. Sometimes is seems as if the growing differences between conservative and liberal, red stater and blue stater, Fox News fan and NPR listener will dangerously challenge our national unity in ways that frighten most American. No one likes in-fighting, especially at a time when foreigners are doggedly attempting to blow us up. That being said, all things truly do cycle. Take comfort in two historical examples:

At the dawn of the 19th century, the Federalists and Anti-Federalists nearly tore each other, and the country, to shreds. With radically different views regarding a course for the new Republic, agrarian gentlemen and capitalist high-Anglicans battled it out for the soul of America. Some even begged Washington to be a king, and Alexander Hamilton ruminated over the possibility while laying the groundwork of a standing army fit for Napoleon. Washington just barely adverted a coup attempt by unpaid military officers. With no sense of what "America" meant before the age of nationalism, it feel to Washington to hold the young republic together. The politics of the era matched the emancipated colonies' dark and tortured mood. Accusations in a typical circa 1800 newspaper (then much like supermarket tabloids) made today's politics seem warm and fuzzy. Jefferson's sex life, Washington's mental fitness and John Adams' weight were all fair game and regular topics of heated discussion. At least no one has called Bush fat.

50 years later, The Civil War seems to be a self-explanatory example. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering how ugly the national situation had become even before Ft. Sumter and secession. Canings on the Senate floor, bloody engagements between Kansas settlers, and wholesale rioting across the fruited plains now seem extreme when contrasted to current divisions. The country was coming unglued, because as before, Americans possessed little fellow feeling toward their antagonistic countrymen. A major catalyst for regional angst was an unpopular war with Mexico instigated by President Polk, during which many state legislatures, politicians, citizens and media pundits fiercely protested what was seen as an "unjust war". Deja Vu, anyone? Or am I blogging to the wall? Later under the leadership of the now beloved Abraham Lincoln, Americans were frequently and loudly displeased with their president's conduct and policies. Elected with less than 50% of the vote and suffering from a string of staggering military victories and inept generals, Lincoln narrowly survived political death before succumbing to the deadly forces arrayed against American unity.

What do these distinctly ugly periods have in common? America survived all of them, only to emerge stronger and more united. This nation has survived revolution, invasion, natural disasters, civil war, world war, depression, scandal, the threat of nuclear obliteration and now, terrorism. And while it would be nice to say that the people of the U.S. always confront challenges with one brave and bold front, such romantic revisions of history are neither true nor helpful to understand our own troubled times. Furthermore, our quarrels are not necessarily bad or unhealthy things. The beauty of a democratic system is personified when voters and 527 groups supplant gunmen and hangmen as the agents of dialectical change. Now 230 years old, America has evolved and matured as a democracy, and can therefore handle pluralist differences of opinion and, frankly, some pretty vicious political conflicts. We will continue to grow and survive as one people, so long as Americans can continue to accept the impossibility of perpetual agreement between us. Flexibility in the face of trials spawned by peril and punditry will always allow these united states to stand together. After all, things have been worse.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Bush Isn't Deep? Think Again

"I would remind the critics of the freedom agenda that the policy prior to September 11th was stability for the sake of stability: Let us not worry about the form of government. Let us simply worry about whether or not the world appears stable, whether or not we achieve short-term geopolitical gain. And it looked like that policy was working, and frankly, it made some sense when it came to dealing with the Middle East vis-a-vis the Communists."

"The problem with that philosophy, or that foreign policy, was that beneath the surface boiled resentment and hatred, and that resentment and hatred helped fuel this radical Islam, and radical Islam is what ended up causing the attacks that killed 3,000 of our citizens. So I vowed, and made the decision that not only would we stay on the offense and... get these people before they could attack us again. But, in the long run the only way to make sure your grandchildren are protected, Paul, is to win the battle of ideas, is to defeat the ideology of hatred and resentment."

-President George W. Bush, interviewed by Paul A Gigot of the WSJ, 9/9/06

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Democrats invest in a losing strategy

The recent decision of the DNC to change it's primary season lineup is an unwise political maneuver that will undoubtedly favor the GOP in the 2008 Presidential season. The DNC has decided to reduce the influence New Hampshire and Iowa have on the selection of their 2008 candidate by adding Nevada and South Carolina to the early primary schedule. In the updated calender the Iowa caucuses would remain first followed by the Nevada caucus, New Hampshire primary and finally the primary in South Carolina. The stated goal of the move is to include more minority voices in the selection of a candidate. Donna Brazile political commentator and former Gore campaign manager was quoted as saying "This is a net plus for democracy, but it is also a net plus for the Democratic Party which is trying to rebuild from the bottom up and also trying to include more voices in the process." However as Peter Brown pointed out in an article the Democratic Party has no problem receiving minority votes in Presidential elections, Kerry received over 85% of the African American vote and 55% of the Hispanic vote. The key to understanding the move by the DNC is understanding the motives behind it. In 2004 George Bush won Nevada by only 21,000 votes, making Nevada a state the Dems believe they can pick up in '08. In the same way South Carolina although solidly Republican is seen as a way for the Democratic Party to make inroads in the solid GOP south, upon which any successful Republican Presidential candidate relies. A more detailed look at the statistics shows Republicans increasing their percentage of the Hispanic vote from 35% in 2000 to 45% in 2004. With this knowledge it's easy to see why the DNC would be interested in Nevada's 23% Hispanic population as opposed to 3.5% in IA and 2% in NH.

The DNC's decision seems on the surface to be a good move, however increasing their percentage of the minority vote is not the reason they continue to lose Presidential elections. Issues aside Democrats are never able to gain a majority of the white vote. Furthermore Democratic Candidates will spend valuable resources to gain the nomination, while Republicans have the ability to tailor their nominee to defeat whoever the Democrats nominate. Another argument against the change is that Democrats will be vying for the nomination when no one is watching, leaving the public's attention to the GOP nominating process. Finally by bumping New Hampshire the DNC has created the conditions that may help the GOP regain NH in 2008, given the circumstances 9,000 votes doesn't seem like a lot to overcome. NH Democrats will likely schedule their primary before any other primaries, bypassing the DNC and creating a showdown between Dean and New Hampshire voters. A Republican pickup of New Hampshire in 2008 would all but assure victory in the election and continued control of the White House.

The Democratic Parties most recent controversy highlights the parties disarray. Instead of focusing on a primary schedule that has produced mostly losing candidates, the Democrats should retake the party from the far left that has increasingly influenced candidate selection in recent years. In this way Donna Brazile was correct in saying more people need a voice in the nominating process, luckily for the GOP the DNC did not take her advice as traditional Democrats are becoming fringe members of the Democratic Party. The Republican primaries have no clear favorite luckily for us all we may have to do is wait and watch for the Democratic primaries to self destruct.

The Republic Square Joins "2,996" 9/11 Tribute

The Republic Square is proud to participate in the 2,996 9/11 Memorial Tribute, to be held this upcoming Monday on the 5th anniversary of those fateful attacks.

2,996 bloggers including Matt Rooney, Katie Favazza, and Michelle Malkin will each sponsor one victim with a tribute that honors their lives as hard-working, decent American citizens. The project's leaders have requested that the focus be not on terror or death, but for just one day, a celebration of life.

To learn more about the project please visit the 2,996 site, and definitely be sure to check back here on 9/11/06 to share in this extraordinary mass memorial.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

American Voter Batusi

In the midst of liberal and press corp salivation over "brightening" Democratic electoral prospects, the Associated Press observes what we here at TRS have regularly diagnosed as a more generalized "Anti-incumbency fever."

To summarize the AP article, it can be said that while GOP congressmen are in trouble across the country for accomplishing nothing, Americans are even more apprehensive to replace Denny Hastert with Nancy Pelosi. Sure, President Bush is less-than-popular and his policies are being met with increasing skepticism. Nevertheless, thanks to the Joker (pictured right) and her gang of strung-out peacenicks and other assorted Batman villain impersonators, U.S. voters may give the Republican Party a stay of execution. Charles Rangel would made a half decent Penguin, wouldn't he (no offense to the late Burgess Meredith)? Unless something big breaks soon, it looks like voters will be "batusi-ing" through November, uncommitted to either party and as discontent as Adam West will be when I decline to pay royalties for use of the phrase "batusi".

Holy election misdirection, Batman!

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Weary Jersey, and Rooney, Want Change

My state, affectionately called the "Dirty Jerz" by those of us who call her home, is not what you would call a Republican friendly environment. In fact, Jersey has been bluer than blueberries (a pitch for the home state industry) since Clinton's ascension to the throne in 1992. New Jersey has subsequently been without a statewide elected Republican official since Christine Todd Whitman left for the EPA in 2001, and with a few notable exceptions, has become a virtual one-part fiefdom.

Imagine my surprise, and the amazement experienced by my fellow Jersey conservatives (few but proud), when it became clear that State Senator Tom Kean has a fighting chance to knock off Democrat Bob Menendez. A recent Fairleigh Dickinson Poll shows Kean leading the unpopular appointed Menendez 43% to 39%. Friends, when you live in a region where Democrat politicians are the default governing class, and in which Republican victors are as rare as desert rain, good election news is not easily embraced. It may take awhile to digest the reality of a competitive Republican with an actual shot at victory in November. I'm still waiting for a union hack, sleazy Trenton operative or North Jersey machine thug to pull a lever and give Menendez a magical 10pt bounce. You call me cynical; I say scarred is a more appropriate diagnosis. Just as poor Doug Forrester. But then again, your humble Republic Square political team predicted this very potentiality. I have been arguing (and you have been dutifully absorbing) that the prevailing mood is anti-incumbent, not necessarily anti-GOP. Menendez is one of the least popular and little known U.S. senators, and his closet is over-flowing with 20 foot-tall skeletons from his years as a party chieftain. Recent NJ budget battles have also jostled the image of Democratic state legislators. The only thing preventing a solid Kean lead, the Dickinson people correctly note, is his redstate affiliations while running in a hostile blue environment. Again, however, not bad enough to turn down a visit from Bush '41.

Although logic cautions to remain guarded in my optimism, I am dying to feel good about New Jersey politics again. Post-Labor Day polling, as in all things, will tell the full story. Jerseyeans do have a high tolerance for corruption, but only because they have had little in the way of alternatives. A decent candidate has presented himself, and a weary populace seems to be willing to embrace change. Therefore, TRS is declaring this race an official toss-up. As Bon Jovi so eloquently refrains, "It's now or never! I ain't gonna live forever!"