Thursday, October 03, 2002

An Offer New Jersey Should Refuse

Tony Soprano is no longer the poster-child for New Jersey crime. That distinction now belongs jointly to the state's Democratic party and Supreme Court for breaking election law. Talk about organized crime and having "judges in your pockets like so many nickels and dimes," as they say in The Godfather......

At least Tony and his crew know clearly that they're breaking the law; they have no illusions about what their actions constitute. The New Jersey Democrats, by contrast, have convinced themselves that they are doing the citizens of New Jersey a service by inventing a new right of "a full and fair ballot choice" in their effort to replace their caporegime, Robert Torricelli, in the upcoming US Senate contest. This is illegality masquerading as smarmy moralism since the law clearly states that new candidates may not be declared less than fifty-one days before the election in an effort to prevent candidates and parties from confusing voters and manipulating elections.

Of course the Democrats are acting out of self-interest, but it is always revealing to examine the arguments or reasons that human beings put forth to defend themselves and their actions; the word reveals at least as much as the deed. The Democrats' attempt to invent a right of "full and fair ballot choice" is one of the unfortunate legacies of New Deal Progressivism which was a rights-based and rights-fabricating program that utilized the courts to force its policies through while by-passing the Constitutional process. Rights-talk and choice-talk, mastered by Democrats, is irresistable to Americans; we are complete suckers for it, even when it subverts constitutionalism. This offer to invent a new right or further choice is a cover for disobeying the law; it is, therefore, an offer New Jersey should refuse. New Jerseyans should vote for Forrester (or at least not vote for Lautenberg, if he remains the Democratic candidate), thereby sending a message to the Democratic party and the state Supreme court that they won't tolerate election manipulation.

To be fair, the court's decision doesn't use the word "right," though it makes abundant use of the word "choice" and speaks of the need for both parties being represented. The court also attempts to ground itself in previous case law, despite the existence of the fifty-one day rule. However, the language of rights is clearly what political defenders of the decision are using, and the decision itself stretches to overcome written statute no matter what case law indicates. It is not clear why some fabricated need for or right of choice must overcome written statute, especially when those who lived in Cambridge, MA during the 1980s have pointed out that their choice for US Representative during that period was limited to Tip O'Neill and a communist candidate.

The most important distinguishing characteristic of the parties for the last seventy years has been the constitutionalism or respect for the rule of law of the GOP. Republicans are now forced to go to the US Supreme Court, as they did in the Florida fiasco, to plead their case and get the correct interpretation of the law that any ten-year-old could give. When the high court rules in favor of the GOP, we'll have to endure again shrieking Democrats charging that the court has been hijacked by conservatives.

A final irony here is that, in addition to the law, the Democrats and the court are violating a principle of progressivism -- the nomination process. The entire primary system of choosing candidates is the outcome of nearly a century of effort by progressives to strip the selection function from the party bosses and put it in the hands of the people. Such fervent egalitarianism apparently ceases to blush in New Jersey at the prospect of Frank Lautenberg becoming his party's nominee without having been vetted by the many.


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