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Might as well face it, you're addicted to power
By Bruce Walker
The lyrics from a famous rock song of the 1980s are an almost perfect description of Tom Daschle and his fellow thugs in the Democrat Party. No pretense in the New Jersey Senate "switch and bait" that the election was about to be stolen or that the voters were too dense to vote properly or anything of that sort.
There was certainly no question about unethical behavior by Republicans that only noble Democrats could remedy (it was the Republicans, after all, who forced the crook Robert Torricelli to abandon his campaign - the Democrats were more than happy to have this scoundrel sit in the Senate, if he could only win).
There also is no real argument that Doug Forrester, who fought and won the Republican nomination through a regular and open political campaign, is some sort of "ultra-conservative nut" as Democrats have smeared decent Republicans who were conservatives. Forrester ran in the middle of the Republican primary and he has the backing of the liberal Republican Party of New Jersey.
The right to have a competitive election was also not at issue. Torricelli could have continued his race or he could have withdrawn and Democrats supported a write-in candidate. Beyond that, the New Jersey Senate ballot without a Democrat candidate would still present the voters of New Jersey with five - think of it: five! - different candidates, including a Socialist Party candidate, a Green Party candidate, a Libertarian Party candidate and a Conservative Party candidate, any one of whom could have been elected in place of Forrester.
If Forrester won without a Democrat candidate, he would have won with two candidates running to the right of him and two candidates running to the left of him. That certainly seems like a lot of choice. Moreover, the Green or the Socialist candidates - Ted Glick and Gregory Pason - could have promised the voters of New Jersey that if elected he would vote with the Democrats to organize the Senate.
The interest in competitive elections was also not at issue, except in this particular election. Democrats have routinely and consistently gerrymandered both congressional and state legislative districts with impish joy over the last half-century to insure that very few elections were actually competitive.
No one died - as many people have noted - but the hypocrisy of Democrats on this issue goes even farther: two years ago, when Missouri senate candidate Mel Carnahan did die in an airplane crash, Missouri Democrats had a perfectly legal and proper way to replace Carnahan on the ballot: his wife, Jean, could have been selected as the Democrat nominee, and so could any number of other prominent Missouri Democrats (Dick Gephardt, for example).
Republicans openly asked Democrats to select a new senate candidate, and John Ashcroft agreed to (and did) suspend his campaign. What did Democrats do? Because it helped them win sympathy votes, they consciously chose to deprive Missourians of a lawful party candidate and instead ran the dead Governor (note that they did not chose Jean Carnahan as their nominee, as they could have done). Ashcroft had been consistently running ahead of Mel Carnahan, often by as many as ten percentage points. Did Democrats care about a "fair and competitive election"? Of course not! They cared about winning, at all costs.
Republican Paul Coverdell died during shortly before the 2000 election, after he had just been re-elected easily in 1998. Did Democrats express their concern for the "fair and competitive election" - a special election that was coming up much too fast for any Republican to really prepare an adequate campaign? No, of course not! Democrat Governor Barnes appointed Zell Miller to the Senate, almost insuring that Miller would easily win the special election.
The issue of campaign finance and public debates was also not at issue. The voters of New Jersey had already invested time and energy listening to the two major party candidates debate policy issues. That very process so near and dear to Democrats (they say) was in the process of being completed: the people were seeing the candidates appear before the people and the people were making their decision accordingly.
What about Democrat and liberal concern about too much cynicism in politics? What about their nagging us all to participate more in the political process? This slimy "switch and bait" just disenfranchised the 181,468 Democrat voters who went to the polling both in June 2002 to vote for Robert Torricelli to be the Democrat Senate nominee. Why, after all, should these New Jersey voters even vote if the party bosses are going to overturn their decision?
Every single ethical principle - every single fig leaf behind which Democrats have hidden over the last few decades - is gone. Now it appears that Democrats will violate the law - again - and undertake any ethical or legal offense necessary to hold onto power.
Forrester and Lautenberg will doubtless debate once or twice. Forrester should grab onto this Democrats addiction to power like a pit bull and not let go. Here are some questions I would ask:
"Mr. Lautenberg, why did you not run against Bob Torricelli in the Democrat primary?"
"Mr. Lautenberg, if the race today was between Bob Torricelli and me, which man would you vote for?"
"Mr. Lautenberg, who within the state and national Democrat Party knew just how corrupt Senator Torricelli was?"
"Do you feel that you and the other bosses of the Democrat Party had a duty to warn the rest of us about how bad Bob Torricelli was?"
"Mr. Lautenberg, why could Democrat voters not have chosen the Green Party candidate, Ted Glick, instead of you?"
"Mr. Lautenberg, do you and the other bosses of the Democrat Party in New Jersey owe all the citizens of this state an apology for never taking any action against Bob Torricelli, as long as it looked like he would win?"
"Mr. Lautenberg, isn't this all just about your political party's addiction to power - whatever the costs?"
is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a contributor to
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