Few things speak with greater volume and clarity than a landslide victory in what many thought would be a close political race where differences between the contenders were stark and easily discernible.
In the case of the 7th Congressional District, the incumbent Republican was a career politician and RINO Establishment foot soldier; the challenger was a successful entrepreneur with strong Reaganite convictions who, nevertheless, was a political neophyte.
I was present in the Larsen campaign “War Room” when the precinct returns started coming in shortly after the polls closed at 8PM and the moment I saw the first batch of numbers I knew the race was over: Lance 379 votes, Larsen 132 votes. While it is true that one can never make a conclusive projection based on a statistically insignificant sampling, my hunch was borne out over the course of the next hour or so as Lance maintained a sizable lead over Larsen until the race was called for Lance at 9:45 PM. Ultimately Lance prevailed by a margin of 20% – a landslide.
How this happened is no mystery: Lance spent over half a million dollars rebranding himself as a “principled conservative” in spite of a voting record in Congress that unarguably demonstrates he is neither principled nor a conservative. The saturation bombing of households with campaign flyers and airwaves with radio ads also included a series of vicious personal attacks directed at David Larsen that successfully poisoned the well of new voters in the recently reconfigured district.
Last but certainly not least, the Lance campaign was substantially empowered by the endorsement and support of Mike Doherty, Alison McHose and other erstwhile “conservatives” – whose defection to the RINO camp ensured that Larsen was isolated with only the cold comfort of the endorsement of major conservative organizations such as the American Conservative Union and the NJ Conservative Party. For his part, Lance enjoyed the endorsement of fellow party hacks and sellouts Doherty and McHose.
The Larsen campaign did what it could to educate the voters as to the truth of Mr. Lance’s record, but it just didn’t have the resources or boots on the ground to wage an effective campaign. Nor could it even begin to explain to the Republican electorate that Doherty, McHose – and, yes, Steve Lonegan – had essentially sold their political souls, becoming the “conservative” wing of the GOP Establishment in New Jersey.
So what does all this mean for Movement Conservatism in the Garden State? Simple: it died on June 5. Had Larsen prevailed, the Lonegan Cabal [aka the Conservative Leadership Caucus] would have been relegated to irrelevancy and Reagan Conservatism would once more have an opportunity to flourish. But Larsen didn’t prevail and the sell-outs who betrayed the Conservative Movement for the sake of political opportunity and power will now have their opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Establishment and share some of the spoils as they help manage the decline of New Jersey and ultimately of the United States.
Here’s what the electorate can expect to see in the future: as the Lonegan Cabal consolidates its power, the Tea Party movement will be gently coaxed at first into supporting the Cabal and its agenda. Those who do so will be rewarded – and by rewarded I mean they will be left alone. Those who resist will be increasingly pressured and if they continue to resist, will be viciously attacked in much the same manner the Bayshore Tea Party was attacked last year.
Nine months ago I published an eerily prescient post in which I wrote the following:
It has become clear by now that the attackers are operating with the approval of the CLC leadership (Steve Lonegan and Mike Doherty among others) because that leadership has done nothing to stop the attacks – even after being publicly called out to denounce them. But they are also operating with the approval of the RINO establishment, which wants nothing more than protracted conflict between the Tea Party movement and the CLC.
The landscape ahead will not be a pleasant one for New Jersey Tea Party organizations: on the one hand, they are despised by the RINO establishment and on the other, they are expected to be the handmaidens and shock troops of the CLC, taking their orders from Steve Lonegan and following those orders to the letter. If they assert their independence, they risk the wrath of the CLC in the form of their blogger henchmen and can expect no assistance from the Republican Party leadership – particularly since GOP State Committeeman Rob Eichmann is spearheading the attacks. You read that correctly: for all practical purposes, the NJGOP has joined forces with Lonegan’s CLC to attack the Tea party movement in New Jersey. Politics really does make for some pretty strange bedfellows, no?
Under the present circumstances, every Tea Party organization in New Jersey is faced with a difficult decision going forward: accept the status quo or draw a line in the sand. A group that chooses the former must be willing to accept the yoke of the CLC under the cynically collaborationist eyes of the RINO establishment and be prepared for punishment if they stray from the party line.
As for the future: in November, Anna Little will lose to Frank Pallone and Joe Kyrillos will lose to Robert Menendez. All incumbents will be re-elected and business as usual will continue in the State House in Trenton, where the Democrats will remain in the majority for the foreseeable future.
Leonard Lance may decide to run for U.S. Senate in 2014. If he does, you can expect Mike Doherty to run for the House seat vacated by Lance while Alison McHose will run for the State Senate seat vacated by Doherty. The CLC/Lonegan Cabal will tighten its grip on the Tea Parties and on any candidate for Republican office who dares run as a conservative. I’ve even heard scuttlebutt to the effect that Steve Lonegan is seriously considering another gubernatorial run. If so, then he’s truly delusional: the next governor of New Jersey will be Cory Booker – if he chooses to run.
True Reagan Conservatism will exist only in isolated pockets and on the lips of a duped conservative electorate that will ask (too late, alas), “What just happened?”
As for me, I will be on hiatus from blogging, so don’t be surprised if you see nothing else posted here for a while. Perhaps I’ll return. Perhaps not.
Thanks for stopping by. Take care, my friends – and don’t say I didn’t warn you.