It's difficult to garner a whole lot of enthusiasm for the political process anymore. Over the last three years, we've watched a Republican Party that should have been in the desert for lo unto the generations have a resurgence, fueled by a Democratic president stubbornly denying what his own eyes should have told him about his opposition, a media that needed to fill a 24 x 7 news cycle and decided that a few thousand people in hoverrounds wearing tricorn hats with tea bags dangling from them was a Major! Political! Movement!, and a population that behaves like a bunch of instant-gratification two-year-olds, screaming because the president couldn't fix a global economic near-collapse in two months.
Here in the Fifth Congressional District, where stealth wingnut Scott Garrett was Tea Party before there even was one, and who ran in 2002 under the rubric of "I'm Just Like Marge" when he was nothing like Marge Roukema, who had represented the district for a quarter-century, the Democrats had a real shot at finally taking this district, now that the 5th has been reconfigured to include part of Teaneck, plus Hackensack and Maywood. Self-serving asshole Steve Rothman, who was redistricted out of his comfortable Eastern Bergen seat, decided to challenge fellow Democrat Bill Pascrell in an 8th District primary challenge rather than do the heavy lifting of taking on Scott Garrett. The state and local Democratic parties, who were all set to put some big guns behind Rothman in the 5th, have instead decided to sit this one out. So here in the cap that tops the state of New Jersey, Garrett is safe once again, since his only Democratic opposition is going to be either Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen, who from what I understand everyone despises, and Cliffside Park resident Jason Castle, who plans to move to the district and run on being a Marine Iraq War veteran who can transcend the self-serving partisan bickering and change the tone in Washington, thus proving that as well-meaning as he may be, Mr. Castle has been asleep the last three years. Oh, and there's a LaRouchie candidate running as a Democrat too.
Here in this area, the voting machines display an entire ballot with complete slates of candidates one huge panel, and you mark an "X" next to the candidate's name. In my experience as a canvasser, despite the insistence in this independent-heavy county that people "vote for the candidate, not the party", there is a tendency to just tap blip-blip-blip right down the line, so ballot position is important. Castle has the party line in the sections of rural Warren and Sussex Counties, but Gussen has the line in Bergen, which is the most heavily-populated part of the district. Of course with the Rothman/Pascrell foofarah going on in Passaic, "party line" is kind of a loose concept, as you can see here
. Just another complication of New Jersey politics.
This primary contest is off to a rip-roaring start, with Gussen already having skipped a candidates forum sponsored by Bergen Grassroots last night
. Jason Castle has no political connections, no obvious way of raising enough money to counteract Scott Garrett's legendary use of his franking privileges to send slick mailings that make him appear to be something he is not, and he's running as a black man in a district that's 81.1% white
. I'm sure Castle is a decent man despite his bipartisan delusions, but so was Tod Theise and so was Dennis Shulman and so was Paul Aronsohn, and all three got their behinds soundly kicked by Garrett in the last three election cycles. Once Rothman decided he couldn't handle a real fight, the Democrats in this districts decided they were OK with making the loathsome Garrett Congressman-for-Life, and so once again we'll do this charade of emulating democracy in a district where there is none.
So I'm turning my attentions elsewhere this year, and supporting actual progressive candidates who might have a prayer of at least starting to wrest control of this party away from loathsome corporate hacks like Steny Hoyer -- the self-serving whores who are perfectly OK with taking the scraps left over from corporate donations after the Republicans' pockets are fully stuffed. There are some positive signs in the defeat of two loathsome Pennsylvania Blue Dogs on Tuesday
, but with the DCCC firmly committed to corporate hackery
, it's time to start looking for more places to get the Democratic Party out of corporate pockets and back to the people where it belongs. Obviously I'm supporting Alan Grayson
's return to Congress, but another race I'm looking at (and so should you) is that of Rob Zerban, who is running for Paul Ryan's seat in Wisconsin. Yes, I'm talking about THAT Paul Ryan, the Randoid zombie
whose war-on-everyone budget has been embraced by Mitt Romney. There are few things that would send a message to the GOP that stuffing the pockets of those who already have more than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes is NOT what the American people want like sending Paul Ryan back home to re-read the dog-eared pages of Dagny Taggart's sex escapades a few more hundred times.
As Howie Klein notes
, Blue America PAC has set up a billboard for the candidacy of Rob Zerban -- right at the "Ryan Rd." (yes, really) exit of I-94. For Zerban to defeat Eddie Munster would be awesomeness beyond belief. You can kick in to help kick Paul Ryan, whose emotional development is so stunted he thinks a novel fancied by adolescent boys is a manifesto for policy, out of Congress and put one of the good guys in. You can help keep the billboard up
and help Rob Zerban and other progressive candidates fight the Koch brothers
and their ilk.
Sure, it'll probably come to nothing. But what else can we do?
Labels: Better Democrats