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Daggett wins second debate for NJ Governor

Daggett's Sea of Green

Daggett's Sea of Green

I got a call the other day from the Daggett campaign, the independent candidate for governor of New Jersey, to meet for a rally before the second and last debate in the race.  The debate was yesterday at William Paterson University in Totowa NJ.  All of the usual suspects were there.  Corzine’s crew brought in a lot of union guys.  The Republicans had their anti-choice crowd.  There were a surprising number of conspiracy theorists who turned out to protest childhood vaccinations and specifically the H1N1 vaccine.  Don’t even get me started.

And then there was the Daggett campaign.  We had about as many ralliers as the other two campaigns and some nifty bright green signs and T-shirts.  Green sort of speaks to Daggett’s environmental creds. He’s been endorsed by the Sierra Club. By the way, Daggett’s campaign staff is drop dead gorgeous.  His rally coordinator is so hot you could bake cookies on him.  One of his staff, a tall beautiful blonde, was wearing a very fashionable sweater minidress that showcased the most amazingly long, perfect legs.  Just before the debate started, she strutted across the loge, like Joan Holloway on a mission, right in front of a bunch of Corzine supporters.  Their jaws dropped and every pair of eyes, mine included, followed her shapely gams right up to her callipygian butt.  Well done!  You can be smart and smokin’ hot.  Too bad you missed it, myiq.

The debate was sponsored and obviously controlled by the local Fox affiliaate.  I managed to snag a ticket for the debate literally minutes before it began. (Thank you, hot cookie guy!)  I don’t know the criteria that was used to give out advanced tickets but it was clearly rigged in Chris Christie’s favor.  Like I said, there weren’t an overwhelming number of Republicans outside but, judging by the cheering and applause, Republicans inside Shea PAC outnumbered the other campaigns by about 2:1.  Bostonboomer, who liveblogged the debate last night, reported that the Fox commentators talked over Daggett’s responses and occasionally Corzine. allowing Christie to pontificate in his big beefy goodness without interruption.  As we were outside during the rally, one Republican operative approached our group and said, “How does it feel to be marginalized?”  He seemed disturbed.  We were cheerily unperturbed.  We know there are a lot of New Jerseyans who are registered ‘unaffiliated’. All they need is a good reason to vote for the third guy.  (Note to Daggett’s campaign: I know your poll position is crappy.  So, why not take a cue from Joe Lieberman’s senate campaign in 2006 and create and ad with a snappy mnemonic so that voters can find you?)

Now, onto the debate.  I was transfixed.  I’ve never been to a live debate before.  And while this wasn’t as high stakes as a presidential debate, I have to give a lot of credit to the organizers and the candidates for sticking to the rules.  There were no gotcha questions.  The Lightening Round was a chance for the candidates to reveal their personalities and turned out to be pretty funny.

In short, this should be a model for all debates going forward.  I learned a lot about all three candidates and their approach to fixing what ails New Jersey.  But it was Daggett who stole the show.  Seriously, guys, I could vote for this man for president.  He’s got that Hillary Clinton policy wonk thing down cold.  He was well prepared for most questions and for the ones where he didn’t have an immediate answer, I got the sense that his mental gears were clicking.

Daggett could have a lot of appeal to both Democrats and Republicans.  He is liberal on social issues, prudent and conservative on fiscal issues.  He emphasizes tax cuts for homeowners and corporations.  I’m a little worried by how he intends to pay for it but his idea of expanding the sales tax to items that the upper middle and upper class purchase is a step in the right direction.  In fact, he could go even further and impose a small sales tax on most consumer goods (2-4%?  It would still be lower than surrounding states).   In New Jersey, we don’t have a sales tax on food or most consumer items.  There is a restaurant tax but if you go to the grocery store, no tax on most products.  New York, by contrast, has up to a 9% tax on just about everything (See Ann’s comment for more precise details).  So, you can see why New Jersey is an attractive place to shop.  On the other hand, our property taxes are through the roof.  For example, I pay more than $500 on my little townhouse – per month.  Yep, after the ridiculous federal, social security and state income taxes are paid from my generous paycheck, reducing me to just average Jane Bagodonuts, I pay more than $500 per month on a house with no property.  Personally, I don’t mind shifting some to that tax to consumable goods.  Let the people who buy the luxury cars and high end consumables pick up the tab.  Daggett also proposes a tax on gas to pay for transportation infrastructure and mass transit.  I think this is a good idea, especially if it encourages more use of mass transit in a state as congested as New Jersey.

Where I had some issues with Daggett was his approach to health care.  His opposition to the public option is not necessarily a dealbreaker for me.  I think policy wonks are able to see permutations to solving these kinds of problems because they understand the mechanisms of government.  So, if we ended up with a German type of health care, ie private insurance but highly regulated, that would be Ok with me as long as everyone is covered, insurance companies and health care providers are held accountable with mandates  for basic policies  and public funds are used to provide subsidies for those individuals who can’t afford it.  I don’t think that’s what we’re getting with Obamacare where the mandates seem to be falling more heavily on the individual and choice of insurance company is limited.  While single payer would eliminate a lot of our administrative headaches and it works for other countries, it’s not the only answer.  There’s no reason to suppose it couldn’t work here but we can’t rule out other models that check the health care industry just as well.

Daggett also didn’t have an answer for how to fund state colleges and universities.  Well, he’s got a couple of weeks to come up with an answer.  To be fair, Corzine and Christie weren’t any better on this question.  Corzine points to state financial aid grants as a sort of bandaid on the problem. Christie got all sentimental about sending his four children to local schools but added nothing to the conversation.  Daggett at least acknowledged that there was a problem with the underlying structure of state aid to colleges and universities that needed to be addressed.  He just needs to find a funding mechanism.  Might I suggest one?  Ok, this is going to sound crazy and bring out the MADD crew but most New Jersey restaurants do not have liquor licenses.  Yep, if you want to go out to a nice, new restaurant for a special dinner, you’d better call ahead because you might have to brown bag it, and drink everything you bring with you.  There aren’t that many licenses available and most of them are bought up by big chain restaurants and, I suspect, the mafia.  If you go to New York or Pennsylvania, this is never an issue.  You can get a nice glass of chard just about anywhere.  So, sell more liquor licenses, license grocery stores to sell wine and beer and watch the revenue flow in.  This leftover from Prohibition is only benefitting organized crime.

The dynamics of the debate were also pretty interesting to watch.  After Daggett’s responses to questions, Corzine frequently agreed with him in response but never once referred to him by name.  Corzine continued to frame the debate as between two party representatives, him and Chris Christie.  I think that might have worked in any other year when there wasn’t such a strong, articulate, engaging third party candidate.  I’m not sure it will work this year.  In Daggett’s closing statement, he makes a point of reminding the audience that in spite of what Corzine and Christie’s wishful thinking, there *is* a choice this year.  There is a third party candidate who offers something new, different and positive.

Go, Daggett, GO!

PS:  This race is phenomenally expensive and Daggett has chosen to run on public funds.  Corzine has spent $20 million on ads attacking Chris Christie’s waistline.  Daggett is trying to run a positive campaign on limited funds.  Just sayin’.

Note: The second debate will be televised tomorrow.  I’ll try to do another live blog because I think it is important to think outside the box, especially when there is a viable third party candidate like Daggett.  These people need more attention and support to give voters more choices and keep the other parties on their toes.

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50 Responses

  1. http://www.maniacworld.com/hand-from-above.html

    I brought this up from downstairs. You mentioned that Daggett needed to get attention . I do not know the cost of a billboard like this but it would get people talking and paying attention.
    TV crews would film it and more people would know about him.
    It does get attention and something like it could be used to make a statement.
    By the way I know of three votes he is getting in NJ,



    • LOL! That is too, too funny. Reminds me of The Kids in the Hall “I’m squashing your head” skits.
      Yeah, I hear ya. With limited funds, the Daggett team will have to become very creative. They can’t get too off the wall because this is a serious race but they need to break the mold in some way to get attention.

      • how about the hand with a wristband saying taxes coming down and taking your wallet or pocketbook and throwing the money into to air?
        This would demonstrate high taxes and low returns without saying a word.



  2. S%&*! Panera just dumped my response to SOD, which naturally was well thought out, cogent and spectacular.
    Bottom line: Corzine’s approach to HCR is duct tape. Christie’s is free market all the way, baby! Daggett is policy, policy, policy. He is closer to Corzine but there are legitimate reasons by a reasonable person might object to a public option.
    Gotta go pick up kid. Later tater.

    • I can accept when someone has a reasonable argument against it; however, if they don’t have an equally reasonable solution to the real problem(s), it’s still just an objection.

      The problem is cost and access. If you only increase access without constraining cost, you still haven’t solved the problem.

  3. Go Daggett!! Not perfect but head and shoulders above the alternatives. Nice coverage recently of an important race.

  4. Thanks for giving us the full report, RD. I’ve never been to live debate, and it sounds really interesting and fun.

    I thought Daggett was the most appealing of the three candidates–nice looking and intelligent. Corzine really comes off negatively to me. Maybe, I’m influenced by what he did at the convention and his Goldman ties. I wish he would go down.

    • I went to a live debate for state house reps once, where the audience was allowed to ask questions. I got into quite an argument with the candidate when he snapped at me over my question.

      Good times…

  5. First, I’m really glad to see a viable 3rd party candidate move ahead.

  6. This morning on the radio some woman called in about the debate and made two good points – 1. She couldn’t vote for Corzine because he disenfranchised all those voters in NJ who voted for Hill by giving her delegates to O and 2. the guys at Fox were “talking over” Daggett so people couldn’t hear all that he said

    • Sound like RD could have been the caller.

      • Nope, wasn’t me. But I’m glad people are paying attention. My dental hygienist is livid with both parties. I told her about Daggett yesterday and she was almost instantly a convert.

  7. She said her name was Jean in Northern NJ – but it was good to hear that there are others out there who know and feel as we do.

  8. I’m going to sticky this when I get a chance. My Daggett posts always seem to get buried.

  9. I wish I could have joined you yesterday RD – but this foot is still a bit of a nusiance – I’m hopeful that I’ll be out of the post-op “boot” they have me in by next week.

  10. Thanks, BB – It’s just to infuriating – I’m not in a lot of pain but just can’t get around very well.

  11. It does my heart good to see an Independent with a chance to win! This post just makes my day.

  12. Daggett is wrong on health care, and that makes him wrong on a lot of things. Frankly, much of the opposition to the public option strikes me as self-contradictory.

  13. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

    Check out the line on Daggett.

    Stay off the foot as much as possible. This is no time to run a marathon. Sit back drink your favorite drink and if you want to make telephone calls for Daggett do so . Don’t you just love advise that really can not be followed. I hope you feel better soon.



  14. Just found this in an article on the NJ race. Corzine privately called on his friends to support Obama way back in 2004:

    Corzine’s relationship with the White House has been another source of concern. Some Corzine aides were said to be miffed that Obama didn’t gush more over Corzine during a visit in July, though the campaign denies this. Corzine’s friend Orin Kramer, a Democratic fund-raiser, said that Corzine, when he was chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2004 when Obama was a long shot, “went privately to a few friends and said, ‘[Obama] is the most talented guy running in the country, you should help him.’ The president is well aware of that.”

    “New Jersey Nasty”

    • Oh really? Well, what does that say about Corzine? To me it says he’s completely clueless when it comes to talent AND he’s a fucking backstabber. He was explicitly pledged to Hillary before he switched to Obama. I guess this was his plan all along.
      I can’t trust the SOB. AND as a governor, he’s mediocre at best.

      • He probably thought he was being clever in back room dealing….

        • Mebbe. But I get the feeling that men of his age and older just do not see women as talented. A talented woman could be standing there smacking them in the face but they’re looking around for the tall, debonair guy swinging a big dick.

          • Don’t think they’ll find one in the crowd they run with though

          • My secret suspicion is that they’ve all stood at the urinals with each other and pretended to talk about something important while they furtively checked each other out.

          • Maybe that’s why all of the political disappointment doesn’t phase them. They’re used to it.

          • Obama probably schmoozed him well and good.

            He must have been a sitting duck.

        • Warning to the Daggett campaign lurkers: We tend not to hold back on this blog. Little old ladies might blush at first but after awhile, they give as good as anyone.

      • It’s that fraternity. Whatdya expect?

  15. New York, by contrast, has something like a 9% tax on everything.

    I live in NYS and must correct that. There is no tax on food (besides prepared, pop, candy, water and a few oddballs). There is no tax on meds, periodicals, clothes, etc.

    Like many places, the 4% state tax on taxable-consumables may be added to with a county tax. For instance, there is no tax in NYS on clothing under $110. However, nearly all counties in NYS charge their sales tax rate on clothing.

    Right now taxable goods vary by county from 7% – 8 7/8% (Manhattan). This number includes the 4% NYS tax.

    If you are interested, here is the list of taxable use publications to pick through. It used to come in one easy guide, but I guess that was… too easy.


    • Thanks for that! I know that the tax is significant on shoes and clothing in NYS. That’s why I try not to buy stuff there. Even gas is taxed out the wazoo. Wasn’t sure about sales tax on groceries but I do know that here in NJ, there isn’t one. Only a few grocery store items are taxed and it’s pretty negligible.

  16. Well, if you are shopping in Manhattan I’m not sure how much clothing and shoes you are finding under $110… unless you are hitting Jack’s 99¢ store. (That was probably an unfunny joke to all but me.)

    Clothing is the only non-taxable NYS item that they allow the counties to tax. Before the days of NYS cracking down on internet sales, it was great. If there wasn’t a B&M store in the state, no tax on clothes under $110! Now I have to pay 4% (my county tax).

    Our gas tax is insane. I can’t understand how NJ, even with no self-service, can sell gas so much cheaper!

    • AFAIK, we don’t have much of a gas tax. Even a teeny one would pull in tons of moola and still be significantly cheaper than NYS. Last year’s gas prices in Nyack when I visited the BFF were just nutz.

  17. so RD who do you think has the best shot a wining the NJ Gov seat

    • Any of them could win. Daggett is the underdog and he is hard to find on the ballot but a lot could happen between now and election day. The timing for him couldn’t be better. He just needs to get his message out there. I think the parties are getting nervous. Neither of them want to acknowledge Daggett’s existence. On the other hand, if he starts biting into their leads, they’re going to have to go on the attack, er, which means they have to acknowledge his existence. They’re damned either way.

  18. The Star Ledger’s endorsement of Chris Daggett is great news. I wish the republicans would stop the Bush/Rove Fear mongering. There is obviously a consensus that a vote for Daggett is not a vote for Corzine, except among those who use mass psychological terror to promote their own agendas.

    Daggett is the only viable candidate and there are many of this who are voting for him because we know he can win and is the only candidate who can change this state. The Star Ledger’s endorsement echoes and re-affirms that Daggett is a viable candidate and can win.

    Furthermore, Daggett is now polling at 18% and there even rumors on that NYC Mayor Micheal Bloomberg will endorse Daggett. If Still think Daggett Can’t win then read this to find out why your wrong. 11 Years ago Jesse Ventura was polling in the low teens, much lower than Daggett just three weeks before the election and he won.

    We need people to get involved and spread the word about Chris Daggett because to vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil.

    Learn 15 ways to help and get started now.

    Even if your not from NJ you can still cyber volunteer. Go here to get Html and Text code to post on the web or in an email.

    Only voter’s have the power to change the government. We must refuse to be held captive to the broken two-party system that has brought a plaque of scandal and corruption into our government by fear of voting for a third party. Its time to send a message to politicians in NJ and all across the country Its time to end politics as usual.

  19. This was on Daggett in the same NJ nasty article as above-only one paragraph in 4 pages on Corzine and Christie, but at least it’s favorable:

    The struggles of both campaigns have left the door open for the independent candidate, Chris Daggett, to score points. Daggett, a former EPA official, promises to cut property taxes by 25 percent, partly by expanding the sales tax. His surprisingly witty and proficient performance in the October 1 debate gave him momentum; in a Fairleigh Dickinson Poll, he reached 17 percent by one measure. Most of his support seems to be coming from Christie.

  20. The biggest obstacle Daggett has is the response I get when I talk about him as a good alternative to either candidate: “But can he win?”

    of course not if people don’t vote for him! duh 😕

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