Taking A Leave
by Scott Shields, Mon May 08, 2006 at 08:32:01 AM EDT
It brings me great pleasure (and a little bit of sadness) to tell you all that I will be taking a bit of a hiatus from MyDD to work full time on the campaign of Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Since his appointment to the Senate early this year, Senator Menendez has done nothing but impress me. He was the first member of Congress to stand up and say no to the Dubai ports deal. He's stood up to credit card companies, putting forward a Credit Card Bill of Rights in the Senate to protect consumers. And right now, he's heading up efforts to ease the immediate financial burden on Americans at the pump while also focusing on the long-term prospect of achieving real energy security.
The national GOP has pledged limitless support for the Senator's challenger, Tom Kean Jr. Already, national Republicans like Dick Cheney and John McCain have been dropped into the state to raise money for Kean Jr, who's focusing his campaign on the Kean family name. In fact, he's running a campaign based largely on his father's name, going so far as to drop the "Jr" from all of his campaign materials. In the "about" section of Tom Kean Jr's own website, he doesn't list accomplishments in state government at the top of his biography. The page lists his family connections first -- his grandfather the Congressman and his father the Governor. Even scrolling down the page, aside from some volunteer posts, awards, and committee memberships, there's nothing to indicate that Kean Jr is either ready or worthy to represent the state of New Jersey in the United States Senate. It's no wonder the DSCC has declared Tom Kean Jr to be Too Junior For Jersey.
Despite the fact that right wing Republicans from all across the country have been backing Kean Jr behind the scenes, he's still pretending to run as one of those rarest of endangered animals, a "moderate" northeastern Republican. But on the issues, he's made it clear that he's interested in going to Washington for one thing and one thing only -- to be another rubber stamp for George W. Bush and the national Republican agenda. He's already indicated that he supports a "stay the course" non-strategy for Iraq and wants to make the Bush tax cuts (whose benefits he greatly enjoys) permanent. And his voting record is actually among the most partisan in the New Jersey State Senate.
I've decided to focus all of my attention on the Senate race and take a hiatus from MyDD until after the election is over. I'll be popping in from time to time as a representative of the campaign, of course, especially since we're counting on solid support from the netroots. The Republicans have declared New Jersey one of top Senate target. Political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg went so far as to call the seat "the Republicans' best Senate takeover opportunity" in an interview with The Washington Times. I respectfully disagree, but I do admit that this race will be anything but a cakewalk. (To be fair, I should note that Rothenberg seems to have backed off a bit on that.)
Before I go, I want to thank Jerome and Chris for bringing me aboard last summer, as well as Matt and Jonathan, and all of the people here who are part of the MyDD community. I'm lucky to have been given access to such an awesome platform and I won't soon forget it. This site truly is something special and I look forward to working with everyone here from a slightly different perspective in the months leading up to the election. In the meantime, feel free to visit me at Menendez for New Jersey, where we're going to be implementing some exciting new changes over the coming weeks that I'm sure you'll be hearing about. It's going to be an exciting race.