Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, August 13, 2004

My Truth is I'm a New Jersey American 

It's okay. My wife knows.

Well. This morning was the first time in a couple of years I read the Daily News from the front. Don't make any mistake -- the gay stuff is just the frosting.

I think if you said "New Jersey politics" to most people, "corruption" would be among the first words to pop into their heads. But I don't think most people understand how fundamentally corrupt this state is. Since McGreevey became governor there have been 55 major federal probes aimed at government officials. The county executives of the two biggest counties are in jail or on their way. More than half a dozen mayors are in jail with a couple more heading there. Two words -- Abscam and Torricelli. Google New Jersey and corruption and you get a tidy little 173,000 hits.

This didn't begin with McGreevey, of course. Boss Hague practically invented the modern city machine. We're this way for two reasons; one party rule and the fact that New Jersey is the most overgoverned state in the country.

Of course the central and southern parts of the state are Republcian, but becoming less so. But the money and votes are all up north in the cities and they are solidly Democratic. When one party, either party, doesn't have to worry about being elected then visions of sugerplums start dancing in their heads.

As far as overgovernance goes, I'm not a very knowledgeable or sophisticated observer, so I'm not sure if its a cause or effect. But when a Jersey boy looks up he sees his councilman, his mayor, his county board, his county supervisor, his board of Freeholders his state representative, his state senator and the gov. Some counties have several more layers. These are just shelves to lay out the plums. And it leaves the rest of us in the barrel.

David Twersky in the Sun wrote this morning about a conversation he had with Torricelli a number of years ago when the (then) senator expressed misgivings about backing McGreevey because of "Jimmie's problem". Apparently everyone knew. Everyone that counts.
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