Saturday, October 29, 2005



You might not be a follower of the NEWARK STAR-LEDGER. If you've been with me since July you'll remember my run-in with the paper back then. First the good news: I just sold the house in Pennsylvania. Next the really great news: Yesterday's STAR-LEDGER is reporting such utter chaos in Doug Forrester's now doomed campaign for governor of New Jersey that Democrats will be studying Corzine's brilliant campaign for months to come-- as they should.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how Missouri was the first state with a great strategy for helping Democratic candidates use stem cell proposals in a manner akin to the Republican strategy of the last few electoral cycles where they strategically placed anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballot to bring out their base and distract voters from Iraq and bread and butter issues, turning serious elections into red-meat circuses.

Well, last week Senator Corzine unleashed an ad that just about ended any chance Forrester had to win. Forrester's disastrous and disingenuous responses have now dug him a hole he'll never climb out of. And today most New Jersey voters see him as the flip-flop man, chasing after pubic opinion for a position.

The headline in yesterday's STAR-LEDGER, the state's biggest paper, was "Forrester reverses field, backs stem-cell research." Josh Margolin paints a picture of a campaign thrown into confusion and disarray. A few days after Forrester told the STAR-LEDGER "What I have found is that -- I think it's more clear today than it was two months ago -- that the embryonic stem-cell research isn't going anywhere," he was forced to face the fact that despite George Bush's support from the fringe religionist radicals in WingNutia, the overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents adamantly favor stem cell research. Forrester started dancing-- fast, but with no grace whatsoever. During a debate last week, he completely shifted his stand by lauding the latest stem-cell research. The next day, one of his campaign flacks said his remarks represented "an evolution of his position." And yesterday, according to the STAR-LEDGER, "he strongly endorsed the science and did not rule out spending public money if the state could afford it. 'I've made my position very clear, [which of course is exactly what he has never done and what Republicans CANNOT ever do for fear of alienating either the crazies who make up their base or normal people who still believe in science and medicine] that, full-speed ahead with embryonic and adult stem-cell research," Forrester said during a news conference on the front lawn of the home of a Republican committeeman in Paramus. 'The ethical reservations have been surpassed by science. God bless the medical scientists.' Pressed on whether he is sticking to his earlier stance opposing public funding for the research, Forrester said he has 'not committed' to investing state money. He said he remains opposed to having the state borrow hundreds of millions of dollars for stem-cell research, as proposed by Democratic candidate Jon Corzine and acting Gov. Richard Codey... Forrester previously endorsed President Bush's 2001 position barring federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells except those extracted before the ban."

Meanwhile, smelling blood, Corzine stepped up his attacks on Forrester's stem-cell position in campaign speeches, and released the television commercial in the link above featuring paralyzed wrestler Carl Riccio of Warren, who supports Corzine because of his advocacy of research funding. Forrester really stepped in shit when he attacked Carl and said he was being used and didn't understand what was going on. This caused the feisty wrestler and his family to get into it with Forrester and make him look like a brute and thug. The STAR-LEDGER reports that Corzine was joined on the campaign trail yesterday by "Tricia Riccio of Warren, the mother of the wrestler featured in Corzine's commercial. She said her son, a registered independent, was glad to endorse Corzine and made his decision after researching the issue. 'He supports Jon Corzine 100 percent because of his stand on stem-cell research. Forrester does not have the same stand. He's changing his mind now, which is too late,' she said."

Corzine is significantly ahead of Forrester, and gaining momentum, in all polls for the November 8 election. Only 30% of Americans oppose stem-cell research and the number in New Jersey is even smaller. I doubt the lunatic fringe of the state GOP is happy about Forrester buckling on an issue that is important to them. Many will sit on their hands on election day.


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