Gerry Cardinale and the Gun Lobby: Perfect Together

by Stephen Yellin

I've previously written here about NJ-39 and Gerry Cardinale; you can read the articles here:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/9/11/1235 59/993

http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/9/17/1342 8/9971

Yesterday I profiled New Jersey State Senator Gerald "Gerry" Cardinale and his ultra-conservative positions that he's taken throughout his 25-year career. However, I deliberately did not mention his most extreme belief - on gun control. Let me be clear: New Jersey is NOT an NRA-friendly state. In fact, one reason former Governor Jim Florio nearly won reelection in 1993 after dropping to an 18% approval rating was because of his courageous efforts to promote gun safety and reform the state's gun laws. One of his chief opponents in that fight was Gerry Cardinale. And after 25 years as a State Senator, Cardinale continues to promote an extreme, NRA-style agenda on gun control that is way out of line with New Jersey voters.

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Meet Gerry Cardinale: New Jersey's Mitch McConnell

By Stephen Yellin

A few days ago, I introduced you all to New Jersey's 39th Legislative District, and why it matters to New Jersey and the country at large in 2007. You can read the article at http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/9/11/1235 59/993 . Today, I want to start tackling the opposition; for, even though NJ-39 has moved leftward, the incumbents have stayed on the far-right of the political spectrum. And that is especially true of Gerald "Gerry" Cardinale, the district's State Senator since 1981. In many ways, Cardinale is a New Jersey version of Mitch McConnell; arrogant, divisive, out of touch with political and social changes and blindly loyal to the special interests who back his campaigns. Cardinale's platform and values better echo 1907 than 2007, and today I'm going to show you why.

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Lovable old Coot

I've been watching the testimony of Petraeus and Crocker for the past two days. Something happened just a few minutes ago that I just have to share. The words are from Senator Robert Byrd of the Armed Services Committee while addressing Ambassador Crocker. My transcription may not be perfect but it's fresh off the presses so to speak.

"You are saying that we can't have a political solution until we have security and we can't have security until we have a political solution. This sounds an awful lot like a dog that is chasing it's tail. A breeder would tell you that this isn't the puppy to pick."

Whatever else you might think about Robert Byrd, he is one of a kind. And I am proud that he is a United States Senator.

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Meet NJ-39: A Microcosm of a Nation Turning Blue

By Stephen Yellin

Normally, state legislative races are not the most exciting to observe, help or provide aid for - particularly when you're not from that state. If you're reading this right now and are not from New Jersey - DON'T LEAVE. This diary is an introduction to what I believe will be one of the most exciting races to watch in 2007 - and a race that is a microcosm of the United States at large. New Jersey's 39th Legislative District is worth watching for three reasons:

1. The changing dynamics of the suburbs of America - both in New Jersey and across the country. A victory in NJ-39 would serve as a template for races across America.

2. Clearing obstructionist, out-of-touch Republicans out of office, in order to better present a progressive agenda for New Jersey. After all, would you want a State Senator who opposes a woman's right to choose - even for rape and incest? Or a State Assemblyman who bullies his constituents?  Again, this would serve as a template for both state and Congressional races all over this country.

3. A Democratic ticket that represents a microcosm of the suburbs - a young, driven attorney for State Senate, a teacher and community activist for one Assembly seat, and a Wall Street manager and business leader for the other. Joe Ariyan, Esther Fletcher and Carl Manna represent an impressive coalition of the Democratic Party's membership and values.

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More on a Blueing Virginia

Virginia hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in more than four decades -- but who's to say that it's not on the verge of becoming a blue state (or at least a purple state that is slightly more blue than red)? Take a look, for instance, at the outlook for this fall's legislative contest in the state, courtesy of The Washington Post's Tim Craig.

Virginia Democrats are in a strong position to make substantial gains in the General Assembly in the Nov. 6 election, strategists in both parties say, setting the stage for an expensive battle this fall with Republicans, who are trying to keep control of the Senate and House of Delegates.

With the seats of all 140 delegates and senators up for election, Democrats say they are feeling increasingly confident that they can retake the Senate and pick up three to six seats in the House. Democrats need to gain four seats in the Senate and 11 in the House to grab power from the Republicans for the first time since 1999.

[...]

Democrats are energized by what they say was GOP leaders' slow response to the summer-long storm over abusive-driving fees and by President Bush's unpopularity in the polls. Shifting demographics in several GOP-held House and Senate districts have also improved their chances, Democrats say.

Republicans are hoping that passion over the illegal immigration issue will drive voters to back their candidates. GOP candidates will also make the argument that if the party retains control, it would mean lower taxes, controls on development and more education spending. Once voters "understand and hear that message, our candidates stand tall," said Senate Majority Leader Walter A. Stosch (R-Henrico).

We sure saw how well the immigration issue performed in saving the Republican majorities in the United States Congress last fall -- no wonder Virginia Republicans are banking on anti-immigrant sentiments to help them remain in control of the state legislature. (Just ask J.D. Hayworth and Henry Bonilla how tacking to the right on the issue of immigration did for them, or perhaps Vernon Robinson.)

But Virginia Republicans' problems extend far beyond just the state legislative level (which is certainly problematic given the possibility that a wave in state legislative elections can be an omen for things to come). With the retirement of longtime Republican Senator John Warner and the very real possibility that Mark Warner, the extremely popular former Democratic Governor, will jump in the race for the Senate, it seems that the Democrats may be poised to pick up two Senate seats in the state in as many cycles. This comes on top of the possibility that the Democrats will pick up two congressional seats in the state, as well. What's more, Democrats are talking about seriously contesting Virginia on the presidential level, hoping that 2008 could be the first year since 1964 in which a Democrat has carried the state.

So suffice it to say that we may be seeing a very different Virginia than the one many had become accustomed to.

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