Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 15, 2004
POLITICS: Sauce, Goose, Gander

So, last week, Louisiana Congressman Rodney Alexander switched parties, to catcalls from Democrats; Alexander chose to time his switch late enough to prevent the Democrats from fielding a viable opponent on November's ballot, a bit of non-beanbaggery that the perennially overwrought Mark Kleiman described as "about the sleaziest, most cowardly thing I've ever heard of a politician doing". Mmmm, short memory there, Professor Kleiman. Kevin Drum also called it "Pretty sleazy".

Well, now New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey has delayed his resignation in disgrace until November 15, to prevent any election at all to fill his job and keep the governorship in (unelected) Democratic hands until 2006. Neither Drum nor Kleiman has had anything to say on this yet - not that it's my place to tell them what to write - but it will be amusing to see if they turn around and defend this sort of chicanery when it helps their side. Hmmmmmmm.

UPDATE:
The Mad Hibernian points me to this Professor Bainbridge post calling Kos on the same point.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:32 AM | Politics 2004 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

All right, I don't really want to defend McGreevey about anything. And if he really needs to step down, there's no reason to wait 3 months - even the very liberal Star-Ledger said today he should step down now.

But that's seriously different than what Alexander did. He waited until a half-hour before the filing deadline and switched parties, making it almost literally impossible for the Democrats to give him an opponent. That looks like twisting the rules to make life easier on yourself and deny the voters a choice. McGreevey's trying to use the system to his party's best advantage, Alexander's trying to cheat the rules. New Jerseyans did vote for a Democratic governor through 2006.

Now if you want to say the Alexander thing is as bad as getting Frank Lautenberg on the ballot in 2002, I'd agree with you.

Posted by: Devin McCullen at August 15, 2004 8:07 PM

Let me start out by saying that my knowledge on these two stories is pretty much limited to my reading of blogs on both sides...

It is apples and oranges to compare McGreevey and Alexander. McGreevey is in the middle of serving a term in which (as Devin mentions) he was elected Democratic governor of New Jersey. He is resigning from office against his wishes, under unusual (to say the least) circumstances. He and his party are trying to control a bad situation in the best way for them possible. That said, the best interests of the Democratic Party are not necessarily the best interests of the citizens of NJ, and this is an end-run, and both parties should field candidates for a special election.

Alexander however, in a deliberate, premeditated collusion with the enemy party continued to solicit, collect and spend funds from Democratic donors under the auspices of representing them in the election and in office if elected. He deliberately strung the party along and left them with no viable options. He cheated. If not in the actual letter of the law, certainly in the the spirit of the law and not in the interests of responsible politics.

Over the weekend I hadn't had as much time to read all the follow-up on this story, so I can't comment on reaction or lack of one from the Left (Kos, Drum, etc), but there is plenty of hypocrisy on the blogosphere (and beyond), so plese don't act all shocked or superior over it...

Posted by: Mr Furious at August 16, 2004 9:25 AM

Let me start out by saying that my knowledge on these two stories is pretty much limited to my reading of blogs on both sides...

It is apples and oranges to compare McGreevey and Alexander. McGreevey is in the middle of serving a term in which (as Devin mentions) he was elected Democratic governor of New Jersey. He is resigning from office against his wishes, under unusual (to say the least) circumstances. He and his party are trying to control a bad situation in the best way for them possible. That said, the best interests of the Democratic Party are not necessarily the best interests of the citizens of NJ, and this is an end-run, and both parties should field candidates for a special election.

Alexander however, in a deliberate, premeditated collusion with the enemy party continued to solicit, collect and spend funds from Democratic donors under the auspices of representing them in the election and in office if elected. He deliberately strung the party along and left them with no viable options. He cheated. If not in the actual letter of the law, certainly in the the spirit of the law and not in the interests of responsible politics.

Over the weekend I hadn't had as much time to read all the follow-up on this story, so I can't comment on reaction or lack of one from the Left (Kos, Drum, etc), but there is plenty of hypocrisy on the blogosphere (and beyond), so plese don't act all shocked or superior over it...

Posted by: Mr Furious at August 16, 2004 9:26 AM

ooops. Feel free to delete the dupe post.

Posted by: Mr Furious at August 16, 2004 9:28 AM

Hmmm. How quickly we forget Jim Jeffords

Posted by: craig henry at August 16, 2004 4:15 PM

Jeffords is independent.

Posted by: Mr Furious at August 16, 2004 5:31 PM

Nice try. Jeffords voted to turn over control of the Senate to the Democrats. The Dems made a big fuss with him at the time.

Jeffords is less independent than, say, MoveOn.org or the Swift Boat Vets.

Posted by: The Crank at August 16, 2004 7:21 PM

Sure, Jim Jeffords isn't really an independent. But everyone knew he was a Republican In Name Only, and while he betrayed his party (as Alexander did), he didn't abuse the rules in the way Alexander did. I really wouldn't call his defection a sleazy political trick, any more than I would Zell Miller's.

Posted by: Devin McCullen at August 16, 2004 9:52 PM
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