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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ethics on the stump

After losing three statewide races with campaigns attacking their Democratic opponents' ethics, state Republican Party leaders say they won't abandon ethics as a winning issue. Nor should they. There is plenty of evidence, from the local to the national level, that a candidate's character or misdeeds do matter to voters.

The Democrats finally landed a seat on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders this year by reminding voters of the excesses of the all-Republican county administration. The county counsel's high fees and subsequent reappointment and the indictment of county officials in Operation Bid Rig were not forgotten by the voters. Across the country, Iraq was the key issue. But many voters turned to Democrats in response to the Abramoff lobbying indictments and scandals involving Republican officeholders.

Republican State Sen. Thomas H. Kean Jr. tried to link his opponent, Sen. Robert Menendez, to wrongdoing, but the voters didn't buy it. The allegations, as bad as they sounded, didn't lead to any sanctions. And Kean spent so much time attacking Menendez, he failed to present a winning portrait of himself and how he would better represent New Jerseyans. Ethics can take a candidate only so far.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a reason Kean didn't speak to the issues. With respect to issues, Kean, the poster child for RHINOs (Republicans in name only), was not all that much different from Menendez. (e.g., Kean supports gun control, gay marriage/gay civil unions, affirmative action, partial-birth abortion, etc)

When given a choice between a liberal Democrat (Menendez) and a liberal Democrat pretending to be a Republican (Kean), don't be surprised when even conservative voters opt for the real thing over the "lite" version of the same.

4:04 PM, November 13, 2006  

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