Taking A Leave

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.

Tags: 2006, Blogosphere, Bob Menendez, netroots, new jersey, NJ-Sen, Scott Shields, Senate 2006 (all tags)



Re: Taking A Leave

Scott -- I'm an Essex County resident and will be through with my current behind-the-scenes volunteering as of tomorrow (working on the Booker campaign, down to the wire right now!). I am looking forward to Menenedez's race. I will visit the web site you link to, but in the meantime, if you want to get in touch with a prospective volunteer, drop a line at hausfrau at comcast dot net. Best of luck!

by jamfan 2006-05-08 09:07AM | 0 recs
holy crap!

well damn, i've enjoyed reading your stuff since the early days of demwatch, it's mydd's loss as your analysis is always spot on. And maybe it's just me, but I always really appreciate hearing from somebody from the punk rock/indie rock world such as myself about these things.

Good luck Scott!


by neutron 2006-05-08 09:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Taking A Leave

Good luck, Scott.  I've enjoyed reading your posts here but I think you're taking the correct priority.

Here's to a happy November 7th.

by InigoMontoya 2006-05-08 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Taking A Leave

Scott - Good luck.  I really enjoyed reading your policy analysis which I thought was excellent.  The Menendez campaign is gaining some great talent.  Go kick Kean Jr's ass!

by John Mills 2006-05-08 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Taking A Leave

Menendez seems great to me so far.  Best of luck to Scott and to the Senator.

by Steve M 2006-05-08 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Taking A Leave

Best of luck and thanks for all of your great posts.

by Bob Brigham 2006-05-08 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Taking A Leave

We will miss you, but helping Menendez get elected is of critical importance.  Go get 'em!

by DaveG 2006-05-08 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Taking A Leave

I'm tempted to take a page from Tom Keane (the Gov, not the kid) and say "New Jersey and You, Perfect Together."  But good luck and do good work because I don't want the junior senator to be Junior.

by David Kowalski 2006-05-08 11:09AM | 0 recs
Good move

Scott will do well on the campaign.  He was always more of a talking points advocate type.  So this is a good fit for him.

I just wonder how many political bloggers will try to make these types of transition to working for candidates.  Is the person who purports to speak for the "netroots" or to provide honest analysis really just hoping to be picked up as a spinmeister for the next election cycle?

by JPhurst 2006-05-08 11:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Good move

Uh... thanks?

by Scott Shields 2006-05-08 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Good move

Enjoy, Scott.  Savor every moment.

by Matt Stoller 2006-05-08 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Good move

Thanks, Matt. I will indeed try. But I've been left some big statewide Democratic campaign blogger shoes to fill.

by Scott Shields 2006-05-08 07:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Good move

Welcome to the Garden State!

by ridethedonkey 2006-05-08 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Good move

Welcome? I've lived here all my life! :)

by Scott Shields 2006-05-08 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Taking A Leave

Do good things, Scott!  We will be watching and waiting for your return to MyDD.

by Deborah White 2006-05-08 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Taking A Leave

Hey Scott,

Have really loved following you and the rest of the crew here at MyDD.  Is there anyway I can reach you by email?  I will soon be a college graduate taking on an Internet role with a major Dem's US Senate campaign as well.  It would be great to get your insight on the next few months.  Hope to hear from you soon.

by bjtravgwu 2006-05-09 05:28AM | 0 recs


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