If you want to know how Torricelli went from a sure winner to a sure loser in the last two weeks, watch this hour-long investigative report shown on a major New York TV station last week, Sep. 26: Go to FeedRoom, click on Parts 1, 2, and 3.
David Chang is a compelling, believable witness against the Torch. Like the "Final Days" scandals, the Torricelli case was one more Mary Jo Whitewash.
Since the statutory deadline has passed to take Torricelli's name off the ballot and substitute another candidate, the Democrats have filed an emergency petition asking the NJ Supreme Court to disregard the law and allow another Democrat on the ballot.
It is hard to imagine a more groundless request to bypass a routine election law. It might be one thing if he had some sudden illness, or got appointed to some more important job, or some other unforeseen emergency. (The corruption charges were not new.) But Torricelli's decision was based on nothing new but:
- a drop in the polls
- panic about the party losing the seat
- the Republican had based his campaign on Torricelli's record
It is hard to imagine worse reasons. The whole point of having a frozen ballot is so that the candidates have time to educate the voters on the differences between the candidates. If a party can bail out of a loser with a last-minute switcheroo, then it defeats the whole point of having debates between candidates.
I just don't believe the NJ Supreme Court is going to do it. It sounds too much like Florida two years ago, when the Florida supreme court tried to tamper with a federal election by changing the rules after-the-fact for no good reason except to favor the Democrats.
The Torricelli flame-out is spectatular. But the fix is probably in. New Jersey Supreme Court is probably more liberal than Florida's. Perhaps conservatives should focus more on cleaning up state courts.
McBride has closed with 4 points of Jeb Bush in Florida. Jeb, recently viewed as a shoo-in, may well lose. What conservative accomplishment can he run on? He embraced Big Government with the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act and probably in many other ways also. His fix for education has been vouchers rather than, say, conservative curriculum changes and tough conservative administrators. His daughter seems to have a serious drug problem, something we now hold parents accountable for in housing projects. GWB doesn't seem to give him any boost.
And, of course, Jeb erred in thinking politics was symmetric and therefore that he could influence the Democratic primary (as Davis did to Republicans in California). Bush's intrusion probably gave McBride the key primary win.
Too bad, because Jeb is a much more effective politician than GWB. GWB really should have been held more accountable for losing the US Senate than he was.
John sends this analysis that clearly explains why it is impossible under the law to replace Torricelli on the NJ ballot. It is amazing how the Democrats try to use the courts to manipulate a federal election so soon after they tried and failed in 2000.
I listened to this story on NPR, and the left-wing bias was more than usual. It told the whole Torricelli story from the viewpoint of how the Democrats are trying to retain control of the Senate. In the end, it said that it was up to the NJ Gov. and supreme court to decide who goes on the ballot, and that the Republican deserved to face another candidate because he campaigned so hard against Torricelli.
Update: Actually, the news segment on the web site now is much better than what was broadcast on All Things Considered yesterday. Somebody must have convinced NPR that it was just broadcasting Democratic Party propaganda. But it still quotes political analysts as saying that Torricelli dropping out makes it much easier for Democrats to keep control of the Senate seat, because another strong candidate will replace him on the ballot. As I understand the NJ law, the Democratic Party can only put Torricelli's name on the ballot. Electing any other Democrat would require telling voters to ignore Torricelli's name and write in someone else. Not likely.