Trade Wars

Friendly Fire: Sacco’s jackpot, Kean’s bedmate, Booker’s quest for justice


Can Americans still have a sensible and friendly political discussion across the partisan divide? The answer is yes, and we intend to prove it. Julie roginsky, a democrat and Mike DuHaime, a Republican, are consultants who have worked on opposing teams throughout their careers but remained friends throughout. Here, they discuss the events of the week with Editorial Page Editor Tom Moran.

Q. State Sen. Tom Kean Jr. kicked off his campaign for Congress on Wednesday in a joint appearance with Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, a Trump loyalist who voted to reject the 2020 election results. Why McCarthy? And how will it play out in the 7th arrondissement?

Julie: It is mind boggling. Kevin McCarthy is one of Donald Trump’s greatest henchmen. He recalls that the election of Senator Kean could lead him to become president and Trumpism to take the ascendancy in the House. It’s totally out of step with the mood of the 7th Congressional District and is, in fact, the reason the district became a Democrat in the first place. Unless Kean is absolutely sure that the newly rediscovered 7th CD will be predominantly Republican – and that’s a stupid assumption to make – it’s a really curious decision. Senator Kean would have done better to get stuck in traffic on Highway 1 and completely miss this event.

Mike: I think both of you are reflecting on this phase of the campaign. Kevin McCarthy is not Donald Trump’s lightning rod politically. It sends a great signal to local Republicans and donors across the country that the future Speaker of the House believes Tom Kean is the candidate to win this district. This early signal will help him raise funds and prove that this is one of the most important races in the country.

Julie: I would agree with you if Kevin McCarthy didn’t leave the Tom Kean event and immediately went to Bedminster to kiss Donald Trump’s ring. Most voters associate McCarthy with his sycophancy towards Trump and his utter betrayal of constitutional values ​​by refusing to support an independent inquiry into the traitors who stormed the Capitol on January 6. I actually know and love Tom Kean and I’m shocked that he’s hanging out with a guy like Kevin McCarthy after that. There are things more important than politics, as Senator Kean’s own father has shown time and time again. So I am disappointed to say the least. Partisan politics is one thing but giving any quarter to a man who allows January 6 traitors is beyond pallor.

Q. Buried in the massive $ 3.5 trillion budget plan approved by Senate Democrats this week is a provision that would tax imports from countries like China and India that fail to contain emissions of carbon, similar to a plan under consideration in the European Union. Is this a game changer? Is this a smart decision?

Julie: It is certainly a game-changing idea, although current inflationary pressures could make the political circumstances surrounding the passage of this particular provision more difficult. It would also likely spark a massive trade war with China, which is the only thing that could unite elements of the Trump base and the Democratic base.

Mike: Julie is right. While the goals may be laudable, the impact will ultimately be felt by American consumers. These ideas often sound good to wealthy Liberals who don’t live on paycheck after paycheck.

Q. New Jersey’s fiscal crisis is easing and the outlook for the future is “positive,” according to new Moody’s analysis released this week. At the same time, the state began sending reimbursement checks for $ 500 to middle-class families. Are the happy days back?

Julie: I don’t want to be the buzz kill here, but the New Jersey budget crisis is not over. New Jersey just received a massive influx of federal cash that eased the pressure a bit, but structural issues remain and will continue to persist for many years to come.

Mike: Agreed. The New Jersey budget this year is like a little kid on a sugar high. We are burdened with federal borrowing and stimulus which will all be phased out next year. The effects of the Coca-Cola and the birthday cake will eventually wear off.

Q. Jack Ciattarelli, the GOP gubernatorial candidate, has criticized the gay rights curriculum in New Jersey schools, saying “we don’t teach sodomy in grade 6.” For the record, this is not part of the gay rights curriculum. But will it hurt Ciattarelli? And why would he choose this fight?

Julie: Another unforced error. Apart from the fact that MP Ciattarelli is simply wrong on the substance, it is a strange decision politically. Jim McGreevey almost beat Governor Whitman in 1997 by talking over and over again about the cost of auto insurance and property taxes. Chris Christie defeated Governor Corzine in 2009 over property taxes and the failure of Corzine’s plan to monetize the state’s toll roads. New Jersey voters, including those who vote otherwise for Democrats at the federal level, are fiscally sensitive. If you want to beat an incumbent governor, this is what you should be talking about.

Mike: Republicans win in New Jersey when the focus is on tax matters, not culture wars. Jack has never split on such issues before and often supports LGBTQ rights. As a party and as a society, we should welcome and encourage a curriculum that teaches and embraces diversity. We are talking about the power of the individual. It is difficult to know yourself, to accept yourself and ultimately to love yourself if you don’t know yourself first. Exposure to religions, races, cultures, or views on sexuality or gender identity that are different from your personal experience is the first step towards tolerance and acceptance, which is an important step on the road to life. love and support.

Q. Senator Nick Sacco is a wealthy man, having received $ 270,000 in unused sick pay after retiring from one of his three public jobs, in addition to his pension of $ 220,000 and $ 100,000. approximately, he earns a salary as a state senator and mayor of North Bergen. What does that say about New Jersey’s broken politics that he can get away with it?

Julie: I don’t think that says anything about New Jersey politics. That says something about the pensions of civil servants, which have been negotiated and in place for some time. If voters really objected, they would have rejected the lawmakers who negotiated these contracts.

Mike: It just shows the need for reform. This is just one high-profile example of something happening all over the state year after year. It’s a lot of money for taxpayers, and it frustrates them because most of them don’t get big bonuses in retirement. This is just another reason that property taxes keep going up.

Q. Finally, Senator Cory Booker is a co-sponsor of a bill to decriminalize marijuana nationwide. This would allow those convicted of marijuana to clear those records and impose a tax on weed sales to help communities hard hit by the marijuana ban. What do you think of merits and politics?

Julie: Well done, Senator Booker. In this case, merits and politics both align. The fifty-year war on drugs has been a dismal failure. We have incarcerated generations of people – largely poor black men – for possessing a few ounces of pot. It is insane and it has destroyed families, communities and societies. I know Senator Booker is a man of great compassion and it finally took someone with his character to stand up and say that we have it all wrong.

Mike: I understand the pressure for decriminalization. I understand better today than before the negative consequences of the criminalization of minor offenses. That said, a lot of people are still uncomfortable with legalization, as New Jersey Democrats illustrated by the inability to get enough votes to get this through to the legislature.

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