It’s a fair question given last year’s donnybrook, when the so-called Conservative Leadership Council (a creature of the New Jersey Conservative Republican Leadership Committee – itself a shadowy cabal that includes the likes of Steve Lonegan, Mike Doherty, Rob Eichmann and Bill Winkler) apparently gave the A-OK for the goon squad at the Conservative New Jersey blog to direct their truncheons at the Bayshore Tea Party for daring to say “NO” to a Lonegan diktat. In the metaphorical bloodshed that ensued, the conservative movement in the Garden State was all but extinguished and the Tea Party movement hopelessly fractured.
You see, “Boss” Lonegan figured he could re-establish himself as a relevant power player in conservative New Jersey politics if he could hijack the Tea Party groups in this state and turn them into his own political army. What he – and the idiots at CNJ – failed to understand is that the Tea Party movement is a true grassroots phenomenon and each organization jealously defends its sovereignty. He figured that if the folks at the Bayshore group were beaten down hard enough, they and any other wayward Tea Party groups would get the message and fall into line.
All of that changed on July 4 when your humble scrivener appeared and proceeded to blow the lid off of Lonegan’s scheme. By December of 2011 the ugly truth about “Boss” Lonegan, Mike “The West Point Weasel” Doherty, “Rockin’ Robbo” Eichmann and “Wee Willy” Winkler had been revealed for all of New Jersey – and the world – to see.
The result in 2012? A new tactic: embrace the Establishment GOP in the desperate hope of keeping a place for themselves at the political table. Screw the conservative movement…it’s all about political relevance and political power and with this new directive in mind, the CLC happily wrapped its now pseudo-conservative mantle around the pseudo-conservative mantle that 7th Congressional District Representative Leonard Lance has draped on his own shoulders – just as I predicted they would.
For the second time in as many election cycles, Mike Doherty stabbed conservative David Larsen in the back – only this time, Doherty went the distance and actually JOINED the Lance campaign as a manager, thereby vindicating the “West Point Weasel” moniker I bestowed upon him last year.
While all this was taking place, where was Steve Lonegan? One would assume that, as the director of the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity – a 501-c-3 organization that is forbidden by law to involve itself in political affairs – he would have kept a respectful distance from any politico, especially during a the primary season.
Not “Boss” Lonegan, who sidled up to Liberal Lenny Lance at the “Hands Off My Healthcare” rally held in the nation’s capital a couple of weeks ago:
None other than movement conservative leader Lonegan organized buses to that same event.
“I firmly believe we must end ObamaCare,” Lance told a group of nearly 300 New Jersey citizen activists on Capitol Hill. “Only through repeal of the President’s health care law can we pursue real reforms that will lower costs, expand access and grow jobs. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s final deliberations I will continue my fight to repeal ObamaCare.”
In return, Lonegan let the crowd, and Lance, know that he approved of the congressman’s anti-Obama stance.
“We were proud and honored to have Congressman Leonard Lance join us today,” said the New Jersey state director of Americans for Prosperity and former gubernatorial candidate. “Eleven years ago when I took on the state of New Jersey in the practice of borrowing money without the approval of voters, one legislator stood with me and that was Leonard Lance. More than a decade later Leonard Lance once again stands with me on behalf of the New Jersey taxpayers in support of repealing ObamaCare.”
Really, Steve? Really? Perhaps you missed what happened in the House of Representatives a little over a year ago:
Former NJ Tea Party congressional candidate Richard Luzzi recently sent me a note pointing out that the Republicans gained the majority in the House based on the collective promise to the voters that they would repeal ObamaCare. And if they couldn’t repeal it they would defund it. Well this afternoon was the time for the House majority to put their votes where their mouths were during the campaign.
As usual Rodney Frelinghuysen, Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo, & Jon Runyan voted for the status quo – a slow but getting faster burn of the ruination of America.
And yet, this is the same Steve Lonegan who spoke about the importance of defunding Obamacare in a 2010 election night interview with CNJ contributor Ed Mazlish. Fast forward to the 1:05 mark:
“Once you start defunding and dismantling [Obamacare], you can take the whole thing apart. And if they hold the line and if Republicans say ‘No, not one single penny for Obamacare,’ then Barack Obama is gonna have to run against that in two years and he loses.”
“…if they don’t, in 2 years Republicans are going to take a beating again.”
What is the point of Leonard Lance voting to repeal Obamacare if he turns around and votes to continue funding it? Did this not merit Steve Lonegan’s attention and concern? After all, he claims to be the voice of conservatism in the Garden State – in spite of his failed Tea Party Putsch in 2011 – and yet there was nary a peep from him, although just a month after Lance voted to continue funding Obamacare, he praised Smith, LoBiondo and Lance for their votes in support of the Energy Tax Prevention Act but then went the extra mile and singled out Leonard Lance for praise in an AFP-sponsored radio ad – knowing fully well that while few people would actually read his blog post, hundreds of thousands of talk radio listeners would hear his radio spot.
Was it pragmatic political love at first sight back then? Only Steve and Der Lancemeister know for sure. I doubt they’ll ‘fess up this late in the game, especially in light of the fact that Lonegan ally Mike “The West Point Weasel” Doherty heads up Lance’s campaign effort in Hunterdon County – Dave Larsen’s political backyard.
What we do know is that “Boss” Lonegan apparently wants nothing to do with David Larsen – a man of unassailable integrity who seeks to unseat Liberal Lenny – a man of dubious integrity…upon whom “Boss” Lonegan’s favor appears to rest.