A lot will happen between now and the November 2014 election. But let’s just say the stars align and my colleagues at Fox News and Cumulus Media let me run as a Republican for the United States senate seat from New Jersey, my home since 1989.
A year and a half from now, my probable opponent would be either the admirable five term incumbent 89-year old Senator Frank Lautenberg or the charismatic Newark mayor 43-year old Cory Booker, fine men and formidable candidates in a state where almost 60 percent of the people identify as Democrats.
Despite its popularity in the Garden State, their party is the problem. I endorsed the economic platform of Romney/Ryan in 2012 because Democrats were denying the deficit and decrying necessary changes in federal entitlements. Unfettered, theirs is a recipe for generational catastrophe. To pretend the government can just print money is untenable and irresponsible.
But I voted for Obama/Biden because the fiscal threat posed by the Democrats seemed less immediate then the GOP’s intrusion into the private space of abortion, as well as Republicans’ opposition to both the inevitability of immigration reform and the rights of gay people to get married. Those things I believe, so how am I a Republican?
When my family left Brooklyn for West Babylon, Long Island, in the early 1950’s, my dad registered Republican because that was the only way your kid could get a summer job on the Town Highway Department. I not only got the job for three straight summers, I even preferred Nixon to Kennedy until the vice-president over-sweat in my first televised presidential debate in 1960.
I’ve been Republican or independent since then, even during the anti-war movement, Avenue C, and the turbulent years representing poor people and the fiery Puerto Rican activist group the Young Lords.
From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s in New York, all my political heroes were live-and-let live Republicans, Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and Mayor John Lindsay, Senator Jacob Javits, and Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz, to name a few. New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is cut from the same mold. New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman is too, and so is the incomparable Governor Chris Christie, who put himself above partisan politics and between Hurricane Sandy and his people.
So what are my politics? Where do I stand?
To the developmentally disabled and your families, I will stand by you in all things, as I have since Willowbrook in 1972.
On gay rights, people should be able to marry anyone they want. It is their business, not mine.
On the war in Afghanistan, we thankfully are bringing the men and women home. Every courtesy should be shown these returning heroes with whom I spent so much of the last eleven years.
For Israel, the undying support of a proud Jew and Zionist, with compassion too for the Palestinians; unyielding opposition to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and vigilance against malignant al-Qaeda.
There should be normalization of relations with Cuba and Venezuela. How can we be best friends with Germany, Japan and Vietnam and still be at war with Castro and Chavez? Competition, not embargoes.
In terms of comprehensive immigration reform, it is an imperative that it be accomplished now. There is an entire shadow population in New Jersey that must be freed to work hard, live long and prosper.
The most recent arrivals, many of them Latinos and Asians, have joined those who arrived a generation or two earlier, like my blessed Puerto Ricans, my Dominican cousins and our already riotous melting pot. Bienvenidos. Many immigrants are vibrant, vital strivers who would vote Republican if the GOP didn’t insult or take them for granted as Democrats do.
In terms of choice, I support Roe vs. Wade, but except in extreme, harrowing circumstance why do we need late-term abortions? And isn’t government funding for abortion-related procedures unfair to those who feel it is murder? Those pro-life people are not crazy. They are just as sincere as their opponents, and public minds should find private means of accomplishing the goal of choice without government involvement.
In terms of law and order, while I applaud Mayor Booker’s dramatic — Geraldo-like? — style in his historic and rebounding city, crime in Newark remains chronic, as it does in several of our urban areas, including Camden and Trenton.
I would ask our state legislators to import from New York City the Bratton/Kerik/Kelly-style Stop-and-Frisk policy in every police precinct, from Cape May to the Poconos. If the precinct has violent gun crime above a certain national threshold, then whatever color you happen to be, if you look reasonably funky the cop can politely ask, “What’s Up?” And if the officer remains reasonable unsatisfied, then he can pat you down. For this, National Stop-and-Frisk I pledge to find federal funding and augment it with contributions from home owners and business groups.
In terms of entitlements, I would seek to alter all social programs that reward bad behavior. No one reading this can deny that minority communities are often rejecting marriage so as not to infringe on various government benefits.
Fix it with what I call Geraldo’s law: there has to be a father’s name on every birth certificate. Dad will be responsible for his fair share of the child’s rearing. Federal programs should be crafted to encourage two parent families — that’s not social engineering, that’s common sense.
There are many other ideas to share along the way if this idea of running for the U.S. Senate has legs. I haven’t even gotten to tax policy. But like I said, it’s a long way until November 2014. New Jersey is a great state with towering talent and brilliant minds, hard-working, diverse cool people and I would like to think you would feel even better about being from here if fate pulls this off.