Where is the line that Republican State Committeeman Rob Eichmann draws between constructive criticism of New Jersey Republicans and prolonged smears that are unhelpful at best to the GOP’s general election prospects?
Committeeman Eichmann’s bizarre and inexplicable internet war on both fellow conservatives AND the New Jersey Republican Party has been going on for nearly a year. Although most of his posts on Conservatives with Attitude (CWA) have disappeared, there still remain many posts authored by Mr. Eichmann (some co-authored by Bill Winkler) on Conservative New Jersey (CNJ).
On October 13, 2010, Eichmann posted a story titled “The Governor’s Hypocrisy is Maddening!” While calling a governor a hypocrite is not terribly unusual, those are strong words from a Committeeman representing the State GOP. Committeeman Eichmann chose to air some dirty laundry [presumably concerning former GOP gubernatorial candidate Brett Schundler] in that post:
A conservative cabinet member in Governor Christie’s administration no longer has a job because he… well, we aren’t quite sure why he no longer has a job. The chief executive officer of the DRPA, John Matheussen, still has his job and we aren’t entirely sure why that is, either.
Then on December 8th of last year Committeeman Eichmann, in a CNJ post titled “Contempt for Conservatives Continues,” wrote about Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce and GOP Assemblyman Jay Webber’s meeting with a Morris County Tea Party group:
What do you think of the chairman of the NJ Republican State Committee and these comments?
The more than 100 Morris Patriots in the room on Monday night saw firsthand the contempt that their own Assemblyman [Jay Webber] appears to have for them.
Since I don’t hold a position of any kind in the Republican Party organization, it may make perfect sense for me to claim that the GOP Chairman has contempt for Tea Party Patriots, but it seems a bit disloyal for a GOP State Committeeman to claim his Chairman was contemptuous of Tea Party Patriots.
In a March 7 CNJ post (co-authored with Bill Winkler) titled “Climate of Fear”, Republican Committeeman Eichmann refocused his attacks on his own party’s Governor:
The outlines of the Christie administration are well in focus now. More than a year after coming to office, one inescapable aspect has been that a climate of fear appears to have taken hold. This extends beyond the YouTube moments – the public slap downs of a journalist or of the hapless teacher foolish enough to be pulled onto a stage with the Governor. It is composed as much of the numerous object lessons meted out – a legislative employee pushed out for saying the wrong thing, another ordered not to speak, the executive office employee fired for complaining about the outside demands made on him, the business group forced to remove its executive director, the cabinet official fired for disagreeing, the journalist denied access, Republican legislators threatened with primaries, and so it goes on and on.
In April of this year Committeeman Eichmann extended his attacks to the New Jersey Tea Parties. An April 1, 2011 post from Committeeman Eichmann was headlined, “Is the Tea Party Going Rino?”
Of course, “Rino” stands for Republican in Name Only. While it is true that the Tea Party membership tends to vote Republican, I’m not aware of any Tea Party group in New Jersey that considers itself an extension of the Republican Party.
The title of Committeeman Eichmann’s post assumes the total allegiance of the Tea Party movement in New Jersey to the Republican Party and appears to take for granted that the Tea Party movement necessarily must extend their support to “true conservative Republicans” as defined by Committeeman Eichmann.
In his April 1, CNJ post Committeeman Eichmann notes:
The “Battle for Trenton” event (also called the Tea Party convention) is being put together by former State Senator Dick LaRossa. The event planners have excluded from participation in the convention the entire conservative leadership in New Jersey that existed prior to the inauguration of Governor Chris Christie, in January of 2010. This includes everyone from the conservative gubernatorial standard-bearer in 2009, Steve Lonegan, to former conservative candidates for statewide office like Murray Sabrin, to the half-dozen elected movement conservative legislators, to longtime conservative activists like Michael Illions and Marie Tasy.
In that wide shot Mr. Eichmann mentioned 2009 “conservative gubernatorial standard-bearer” Steve Lonegan, which may be part of the problem. After all, it’s 2011. The 2009 season is over. Anyway, Mr. Lonegan is a big boy, he certainly could have attended, and attending is a form of participation, right?
And this brings us to an April 1, 2011 CWA post (I could only locate this cached version) by Michael Illions regarding Republican State Committeeman Eichmann and Mr. Lonegan:
Someone who is making a lot of noise about this and has had some really good points to make, is Rob Eichmann. Rob ran as an outsider under Steve Lonegan’s line for the NJ GOP State Committee and WON!
Since winning, Rob has been treated like a leper at State Committee meetings, being shunned at every turn. If anyone exemplifies the spirit of what the Tea Party movement is about, it’s Rob Eichmann.
So according to the self-styled “Commish” – whatever he is Commish of, it isn’t a sports league, as he knows little about teamwork:
- Committeeman Eichmann is the political protege of Steve Lonegan, a man whose fame does not arise from his willingness to be part of a team
- That Committeeman Eichmann is treated like a leper at State Committee meetings should not come as a surprise for someone who attacks his Party’s governor, his Committee Chairman and Tea Partiers who should be natural allies of the NJGOP
- If Committeeman Eichmann exemplifies the spirit of the Tea Party movement, then Benedict Arnold exemplified the spirit of patriotism.
In a June 7 CNJ post sarcastically titled “NJGOP Actually Calls a Meeting!” Committeeman Eichmann publicly attacked the State Committee itself, claiming that Governor Christie “made a disastrous choice” in picking Jay Webber as his first State Committee Chairman before moving on to attack the new State Committee Chairman, Saddle River Mayor Samuel Raia, for ignoring phone calls, e-mails and for stifling discussion:
Why is the Republican State Committee so afraid to meet? It simply doesn’t make sense. I was willing to give the new chairman a chance to show that he was responsive to the grassroots Republicans in New Jersey. He has instead ignored repeated phone calls from a committee member, and chosen not to answer e-mails sent to him. What message does that send to those that want to support not only the Governor but our party?
Is there any difference now from when Corzine was running our state?
Is the Republican State Committee going to take conservatives for granted?
Governor, conservatives initially lauded your choice of Jay Webber to head the State Committee. That ended up being a disaster.
Chairman Raia, why do you ignore phone calls and e-mails?
Why do you stifle discussion?
By August 4th of this year, in an article posted at CNJ, Committeeman Eichmann turned from attacking his chairman back to attacking a Tea Party that presumably the State GOP would like to count amongst its supporters. He wrote:
Trying to understand the Bayshore Tea Party Group and what their purpose really is just leads to more questions. Some of the outstanding questions are:
(1) Why did Bayshore discourage conservative activists from participating in a protest of a RINO congressman [presumably Republican Congressman Chris Smith] by Americans For Prosperity earlier this year.
(2) Why did Bayshore accept so much money from establishment Republicans and seemingly walk the other way instead of challenging them;
(3) Why did Bayshore direct their members to call and lobby out of state Congressmen on legislation and not their own representative (who ended up voting RINO because he wasn’t contacted), or others right here in New Jersey.
In this one post, Committeeman Eichmann betrays his real agenda: he expects that the Tea Parties are bound to protest against Republican Congressman that HE believes are not truly conservative Republicans. Then he indicates that Tea Parties who accept money from the establishment leaders of his own party are somehow complicit sell-outs in a RINO conspiracy - while conveniently ignoring the fact that Senator Doherty likewise donated to the Bayshore Tea Party.
Finally, Committeeman Eichmann expects the Bayshore Tea Party to contact their Democratic Congressman to stop them from voting like RINOs – despite the fact that the Democrat congressmen aren’t even Republicans in NAME.
Is the Republican Party properly served by a Committeeman who publicly airs his grievances with his governor’s “hypocrisy”, his chairman’s “stifling of discussion” and his frustration with various New Jersey Tea Parties’ lack of unswerving loyalty to himself and to Steve Lonegan?
The Tea Party movement awaits an answer from the NJGOP.