He’s so totally announcing the end of something, here.
“I am not announcing the end of anything. I am announcing the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” Lautenberg told The Star-Ledger. “While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.”
OK, now, for those following “…Booker!”Watch at home, this means that Cory Booker will still not be running for Governor in 2013, will probably be the next Senator from NJ in 2014… and will probably not be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, although he’s now on the short wish for the VP nomination (and will be on top of it, should he win in 2014). I know that this sounds vaguely counter-intuitive, given that Barack Obama jumped from state Senator to President in roughly five years… but then, “they let Barack Obama do X” is going to be a potent argument against whatever “X” is among the Washington Establishment, for at least the next twenty years.
Frank Lautenberg said today he was sorry to see his fellow Democratic U.S. senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez, entangled in a controversy over trips he took to the Dominican Republic on the plane of a campaign contributor.
The contributor, Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor in West Palm Beach, Fla., is the subject of an FBI investigation. On Tuesday night and again Wednesday, agents searched his offices, although they have refused to disclose what they were looking for.
“If there are infractions as they are reported, it’s too bad,” Lautenberg told reporters.
After all, a suddenly-absent Robert Menendez would be most beneficial for Frank Lautenberg’s staff’s long-term employment prospects.
Classic headline of the day – can you hear him snickering? “Lautenberg calls Menendez predicament ‘too bad'”nj.com/politics/index…
Frank Lautenberg’s staff (who are apparently quite peeved that Mayor Booker wishes to throw them out of their comfy Senate gig) even went to the trouble of remotely activating their boss’s rhetoric emulator to get that ‘personal’ touch.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who might face a 2014 primary challenge from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, said his fellow Democrat is “entitled” to run if he chooses to but suggested that he had to give a “spanking” to his potential rival for so openly coveting his seat.
“I have four children, I love each one of them. I can’t tell (you) that one of them wasn’t occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK,” Lautenberg said with a smile in his first public comments since Booker announced he was considering a run for Senate.
Although I think that it’s cute that BuzzFeed is pretending that it’s the Senator himself who is upset.
The party is also faced with the uncomfortable dynamic Booker’s Senate race has created surrounding Sen. Frank Lautenberg, one of the most respected, storied figures in the state’s political history, who also happens to be 88 years old and hell bent on staying in office — or at least retiring on his own terms.
Although Lautenberg would be 90 years old in 2014, running a re-election bid for a six-year term, he has not publicly indicated even the impression that he wants to retire.
It looks like there might be a highly entertaining two-or-three-way brawl in the primary between Cory Booker, Frank Lautenberg’s staff, and Rep. Frank Pallone (who is probably muttering in his beer about upstarts and show horses right now). Which is fine by me: a bloodied and battered Frank Lautenberg’s staff as the nominal winner of the 2014 New Jersey Democratic primary might be very handy indeed…
Well, I’m not going to pretend that Lautenberg is running the show.
Anyway, it’s official: Newark mayor Cory Booker will avoid losing to Chris Christie in next year’s gubernatorial election, and instead go after the increasingly comatose Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat. Via the National Journal: “I will explore the possibility of running for The United States Senate in 2014.” I can’t say that I’m surprised: my mom’s a hardcore liberal Democrat and SHE’S voting for Christie next year. Mayor Booker’s under no obligation to walk into the buzzsaw on this one.
As to whether Booker will win… well, if Lautenberg’s staff wants to make a fight of it they’ll be tougher to beat than people will give them credit for. Add to that the minor detail that white Democrats tend to not vote for black ones in statewide primaries* and you’re looking at possibly a surprisingly competitive primary.
*Hey, you know what would solve that problem? Cory Booker could switch parties! After all, we have cookies.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest – and neither does the news that Lautenberg came out of the blue and nominated Sen. Schumer’s brother-in-law Kevin McNulty for a federal judgeship. The ironic bit is that there’s nothing really wrong about giving McNulty a federal judgeship (well, no more than there would be for any other Democrat): the man was an assistant US Attorney when younger and people aren’t objecting to him on principle. But the timing and suddenness of it all is raising eyebrows.
Personally, my first guess would be that somebody in Lautenberg’s staff realized that they’re working for an 86 year old Senator in frail health, and that after November of 2012 there’s likely to be a sudden glut in the supply of Democratic Senate staffers for the job market. So best to shore that re-election now and hope the old guy lasts long enough for the economy to pick up again, right?
…What? Everybody else was being cynical about this.
[UPDATE]: It turns out that the word was ‘waste,’ not ‘rich.’ At least, it sounded that way after listening to it a half dozen times with the volume up. I therefore retract the sneer, with apologies for my now-unsourced suggestion of diminished mental capacity of Senator Lautenberg.
Original Title: Frank Lautenberg (D, NJ) is 87 years old.
“Eliminate the rich.” The ironic bit? This was totally an own-goal: the original question was about using drug seizure revenue to fund the government. Which is a potentially problematical situation in and of itself… but at least it doesn’t touch on the politically tricky subject of whether its a good idea to systematically eliminate the economic class that’s currently expected to make bricks without straw* jobs without a stable economic environment.
*I would apologize for slipping a Biblical reference in there, except that if you’re the sort that has the vapors over that kind of thing then the last week or so has probably sent you into a coma anyway.
For those who don’t keep track of arcane New Jersey political footballs, the project was a long-proposed, long-delayed plan to build an underground light rail tunnel between Newark and NYC. This project got rushed ahead by former Governor Jon Corzine –
Excuse me for a moment: former Governor Jon Corzine. That’s still a pleasure to type out.