The fact that the rumors of corruption are overblown is something that's been widely reported in both the local and national media. Just yesterday, FactCheck.org -- an organization that often goes maddeningly out of their way to be balanced -- called the Kean Jr camp out for wildly exaggerating claims about the Senator.
And we are winning New Jersey right now. The fact that it's not "easily" is a function of the Kean family brand, not any perceived "weaknesses" of Senator Menendez that you fail to describe in detail.
Sorry if I sound a little defensive about this. The fact of the matter is that, while I am on the payroll here, I have nothing but respect for Senator Menendez and nothing but disdain for Tom Kean Jr's lying, sleazy, no-class campaign.
"I support the party nominee and I'd be hard-pressed not to support that one," said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., of Lamont.
That was pretty clear, I think, and every major listing of Lamont supporters in the Senate included Senator Menendez.
As if that wasn't enough, after the CT-Sen primary, the Senator issued another statement of support for Ned Lamont at the the Menendez Blog:
Joe Lieberman is a good friend and an excellent Senator who has served his country with dignity. He ran a hard-fought campaign, but the voters of Connecticut have spoken, and I support their decision. I fully support Ned Lamont's candidacy.
Americans are fed up with George Bush's status quo policy in Iraq, and last night they spoke loudly and clearly that they want leaders who will take the country in a new direction. The choice for New Jersey voters is simple. I will stand up to George Bush and his failed policy in Iraq, and Tom Kean Jr. will be just another rubber stamp for the status quo.
I agree with what you're saying about the Senate office needing to do a better job of getting in touch -- I'm a constituent before I'm a campaign staffer. But I can't help but thinking that the Senator's actions -- standing with military families against the Iraq War in Teaneck, standing with workers at the controversial UMDNJ nurses' strike, taking part in a DFA-sponsored Iraq War forum in Morristown, etc. -- are far more important than any form letter you might receive when it comes to maintaining a relationship with the base.
I'd argue that your problem is not the ethics of, for example, commenting on Warner's prospects for President while you work to elect Menendez for Senate but is instead the practical reality that as a Menendez staffer what you say publicly may be used against Menendez. That is a reason for silence. Some perceived need to be "ethical" is not.
True. But a number of grey areas develop in this, as well. What if I blog positively about a 2008 candidate's prospects and then that candidate's PAC contributes to the campaign I'm working for? Couldn't someone allege that it was quid pro quo? It would be kind of silly considering the impact my blog posts might have, but the critics absolutely could -- and would -- attack my ethics for that.
Personally, when I joined the Menendez campaign, I made the announcement, stopped blogging on the front page here, put a very obvious 'Menendez for Senate' link in my sig file, noted my job in my user profile, and left it at that. I try to make it obvious in every diary I post that I'm on the Menendez for Senate staff and so far, I haven't caught any flack.
Having seen what some people have thrown at Jerome, I knew I needed to go the distance and make sure there was no room for questions. There are tons of races I'd love to comment on here, dKos, Swing State, Blue Jersey, etc., but I just can't. It's frustrating sometimes, but that's the price you pay to work on a campaign you really believe in.
I don't remember the issue, but I vividly remember listening to Schultz in my car one day complaining that bloggers weren't covering one issue or another. It was specifically something I'd written about that morning and had seen a number of others cover on the front pages of other sites as well.
Now, I can deal with someone not paying attention to what goes on among the netroots. But offering up criticisms of something when you have no idea what you're talking about? Please...