4.6.06

Time for a change at the top

The Herald News printed my editorial piece today, entited, "Time for a change at the top".
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Time for a change at the top - Passaic County Republicans deserve no less

by GEORGE AJJAN - Sunday, June 4, 2006
SPECIAL TO THE HERALD NEWS

Passaic County Republicans, it's time for us to do some soul-searching.

Right now, 150,000 American soldiers are deployed in Iraq, bolstering a fledgling democratically elected government.

Americans spill blood in foreign lands for the sake of better government, and for the most part Republicans support the concept. We believe in good government, even on the other side of the world.

How then can we as Republicans sit back and allow – right here in our own backyard – a complete mockery of everything that our nation hopes to accomplish in Iraq and everything we hold dear: accountability, good government, justice and the rule of law.

As we speak, a convicted felon is preparing an effort to seize control of the Passaic County Republican Party. A man who spent time in a federal penitentiary is actively campaigning amongst party insiders and county committee members, to regain the chairmanship of the Passaic County GOP.

He must be stopped. Peter Murphy admitted his guilt in a federal court. Period. End of discussion.

If we, as Republicans, believe in the American justice system, then we must flatly reject Murphy. This is an absolutely existential issue. Existential is a fancy word. But it has a simple meaning that relates to our moral stance. It means we cannot sit on our hands and equivocate when a felon who once lost the right to vote now wants to be elected to lead the county Republican Party. We cannot ask the public to put its trust in our political party if we allow ourselves to be led by one who admitted criminal acts and dishonest behavior.

Many times in politics, people talk about the "third rail." The third rail is the electrified one between the train tracks that will kill you if you touch it. So we need to ask ourselves: Is criminality the third rail for Passaic County Republicans? Are we going to be afraid to confront Murphy because some people say he's a nice guy?

There is nothing to fear about rebuffing Murphy's candidacy. Many long-time Republicans in Passaic County remember the power his father "Red" Murphy commanded in the 1980s. But that era has passed.

The truth is that Murphy is not worthy of fear. Passaic County Republicans, especially those on the county committee, need to remember that when they cast their votes for chairman.

In all likelihood, Murphy will bow out at the last minute and one of his lieutenants will seek the chairmanship, perhaps even the current chairman, Michael Mecca.

Mecca will continue to operate the party as he has done for the past few years. For example, all the members of the County Committee have received some letters recently from Mecca defending Murphy to the hilt.

I hope the county committee will vote for a change in leadership strictly on the basis of principle. Of course, some people might say: principles are nice, but winning is nicer. So for argument's sake, let's forget about principles. Let's simply look at the win-loss record.

First of all, the idea that Murphy was a winner is a myth. Whatever success the Passaic County GOP scored at the polls in the early 1990s had little to do with Murphy, and resulted from strong GOP candidates at the top of the ballot. Mecca has been even worse. Since he became chairman, every single one of the Republican candidates who sought countywide office has been defeated at the polls.

Under Murphy and Mecca's leadership, we have lost every single office in Passaic County government, including seven freeholders, the county clerk, the sheriff, the Surrogate, the 8th District Congressional seat, and a 35th District Assembly seat. Even municipalities like Ringwood and Bloomingdale that used to be staunchly Republican are now under Democrat control. Things can hardly get any worse.

The current leadership has failed to adapt to changing times. They have made practically no outreach to ethnic minorities, especially those that have moved from Paterson and Passaic and now own their own homes in suburbs like North Haledon and Little Falls. GOP organizations like Young Republicans, College Republicans, and Women's Republicans, have lay dormant for years. All of these shortcomings show through in poor electoral results.

Four years ago, members of the Passaic County Republican County Committee entered the voting booths and chose Mecca to be their chairman. Since then, these individuals have been loyal party soldiers and worked hard for the sake of the GOP. But the leadership at the top provided poor strategic guidance. Now it is time to change direction.

When members of the county committee enter the voting booth on June 13 and cast their ballots for chairman, their choice is clear. Whether their motivations are principled or pragmatic, they must reject Murphy and Mecca and put the GOP on the right track toward victory once again. The Republican Party deserves no less.

George Ajjan, a former Republican congressional candidate for the 8th District, lives in Clifton.

O --- This article first appeared in the Herald News on June 4, 2006.

4 comments:

George Ajjan said...

Some feedback I received to this piece, which I understand in the print version had a picture of Peter Murphy giving the "thumbs up" sign outside the courthouse during the proceedings I mentioned in the article.

First, 2 pieces of feedback from non-US citizens who are currently living here:

"I read through your blog and found some interesting stuff. The last piece was very up front and well presented. I don't know who thess guys (Murphy/Mecca) are or why Murphy was convicted, nor am I familiar at all with GOP local politics in Jersey, but with the information that you mention there I think that it's great that you raised your voice so loud and clearly. Let me know what happens to those two when the election takes place."


and

"george, just scanned thru ur blog. why on earth r u picking on a poor convicted felon who has clearly served his time. don't republicans forgive and forget?"
(she's an ultra-liberal, so I can't quite tell if she's being sarcastic or serious)

Another friend says:

"I just read your guest editorial in the Herald. I was expecting something like it from our Reprehensible, Regular, Republican basher Doblin, but I guess he liked yours better since it came from a republican and former republican congressional candidate. Based on the article and your recent blog leads me to conclude that [you] have not only crossed the Rubicon but have burned [your] bridges as well. If I made my living as a political consultant I would not sign on with...you. [ ] ...also made the mistake of not recognizing that politics, like the State, has a morality of its own outside of religious morality."

George Ajjan said...

The Herald News, on Tuesday, printed a response by 0-for-11 County Chairman Mike Mecca, which can be seen here.

Mecca was wise to attempt to curry favor by praising the municipal leaders of each of the municipalities. I guess Mecca has something against Wanaque, that was the only one of the 16 that he left out.

Of course, as I mentioned in my article...

Four years ago, members of the Passaic County Republican County Committee entered the voting booths and chose Mecca to be their chairman. Since then, these individuals have been loyal party soldiers and worked hard for the sake of the GOP. But the leadership at the top provided poor strategic guidance.

To be clear, the problem is not the County Committee. The problem is the divisive leadership style of Mike Mecca.

Finally, Mecca takes umbrage with others who mention Peter Murphy's criminal status. I will remind Mr. Mecca that it was Peter himself, in a federal court, who did plead guilty to mail fraud. He admitted his illegal behavior and called himself a crook.

Anonymous said...

Mecca was just running at the mouth to make himself feel better about the lousy job he has done as chairman. Hopefully, the municipal leaders in Passaic County see through this comical attempt to pat himself on the back for party improvements which he was of no help in achieving.

Anonymous said...

Let's not let Peter Murphy be the third rail!