Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 2, 2002
LILEKS goes after the New York Times' argument that a New Jersey statute prohibiting the Democrats from substituting a new candidate on the ballot for Torricelli on the grounds that "The guiding principle should be the voters' basic right to a genuine election." As Lileks puts it:
"If the law is upheld, then “democracy” is thwarted. Really? There will be an election with a ballot whose names are the ones chosen by voters in the primary. Sounds “democratic” to me. After all, Toricelli didn’t quit because he discovered an eight-pound neoplasm in his small intestine, or had his brain turned into a fine red mist when a marble-sized meteorite from the Oort cloud struck him in a 7-11 parking lot. He’s not even under indictment. He resigned because there was such a bad odor coming from him and his campaign that actual wavy cartoon stink lines were coming off him, and the cameras were starting to pick it up. He was going to lose. So he quit."
I would add to this one more point: it's not just that Torricelli is on the ballot - he's still in the Senate. He's still voting on the budget, homeland security, judges, . . . he'll still get to vote on sending Americans to war. You ordinary schmucks back in Montvale and Camden and Weehawken won't have that privilege. Since when is it an affront to Democracy and Genuine Elections to force a party to run a living, breathing incumbent Senator for re-election?
(In a real Democracy, we could have a Genuine Election if the candidate was dead as a doornail, apparently, just not one who's dead in the polls. Where was the Times when the Republicans were stuck running Bob Dole for president?)
(By the way, the Dems aren't the only New Jersey pols who use this trick - remember when the incumbent Governor, Don DiFrancesco, got caught . . . well, being generally unpopular and unethical, and the state GOP endeavored not only to replace him on the ballot with Bob Franks, but to delay the primary and transfer all his campaign funds as well? The good news is, the primary voters saw this for the sham it was, and the supposedly Extremist Right-Wing challenger, Bret Schundler, walked off with a stunning upset that served as a bracing rebuke to the state party machine. We can hope.)