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Bret Schundler, closet liberal
StarLedger ^ | 5/5/05 | Paul Mulshine

Posted on 05/07/2005 10:32:18 PM PDT by BATNF

Thursday, May 05, 2005 Any day now I expect Bret Schundler to call a press conference and, with his family gathered around him, make the following confession:

"Throughout my life I have always grappled with my identity. At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and grasp the truth. And my truth is that I am a liberal American."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But it does seem a little strange to see a candidate who has been tagged by the media as a right- winger taking the sort of left-wing positions Schundler's been espousing in this primary campaign.

The other evening during a televised debate among the seven candidates for the GOP nomination, Schundler was asked by Steve Lonegan, the arch-conservative mayor of Bogota, about the state Supreme Court's decision in the Abbott vs. Burke case. This is the decision, universally reviled by conservatives, in which the court ordered that all sorts of goodies be lavished on urban schools at the expense of suburbanites.

"Bret, do you support the Abbott decision?" Lonegan asked.

"Do I believe the state should provide funding for low-income school districts?" Schundler answered. "Yes."

This is the way liberals talk. They talk about "the state" as a wealthy entity distinct from us poor taxpayers. Thanks to the Abbott decisions and similar decisions stretching back 30 years, New Jersey has been unable to solve its property tax problem.

The income tax was created in the 1970s as a constitutionally dedicated source of property tax relief. But the more money the income tax raises, the more the court funnels to the Abbott districts. My town's school doesn't even have a gym, yet the court has ordered that my tax dollars be used to replace perfectly good schools in the Abbott districts that have not just gyms but pools and other facilities we suburbanites lack.

This ticks me off. But then I'm a conservative. As for Schundler, I have my doubts. If a vegetarian started eating bacon burgers, you wouldn't call him a vegetarian anymore. The same rule applies to a "conservative" who supports the decisions of an activist court.

Schundler's inherent liberalism was obscured until now by his stance on abortion. A politician who calls himself pro-life will immediately be branded a conservative by the media, even if he's a big- spending liberal. But Schundler has been a closet liberal from the beginning. In his 2001 campaign for governor, he said several times that he supported the Abbott decision. I dismissed it as mere triangulation, an effort to move to the middle against a liberal opponent. But I now know he was serious.

His position on Abbott would be inconsequential if not for the fact that Schundler has based his 2005 campaign for governor on property tax reform. And that reform is simply impossible without tackling the Abbott decision. It makes little sense to create another property tax relief fund when the constitution already includes such a fund. Yet that is what Schundler -- and all the other candidates in the race not named Lonegan -- propose doing.

All of these guys have plans to cut waste and end corruption -- you've heard the clichés -- to squirrel away a few hundred million dollars a year for property tax relief. That's not even enough to cover inflation, however. Meanwhile, they ignore the billions already set aside for property tax relief, an amount that, if equally distributed, could permanently solve the tax crisis in the suburbs. It's as if a man who had $10,000 in the bank were to stand on the corner begging for quarters to buy lunch. There are such men. We call them crazy and lock them up for their own good.

I wouldn't call Schundler and the other five crazy. The term "liberal" fits much better. All seem to share the essential liberal conviction that the state government has a duty to the people of the cities. It does have a duty -- a duty to leave them alone to solve their own problems.

Liberals don't see it that way. In the 2001 campaign, Schundler told a newspaper reporter how his father used to tell the Schundler kids how "our calling was to solve the problems of the world." Fine. But not with my dough.

The best that can be said of Schundler's plan is that it's no worse than Doug Forrester's plan or John Murphy's or that of any of the other candidates who go out of their way to avoid confronting the court.

The worst that can be said of it is that Jon Corzine could endorse a similar plan. And I imagine he's putting it together at this very moment.

TOPICS: US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: bretschundler; dougforrester; governors; johnmurphy; nj

1 posted on 05/07/2005 10:32:19 PM PDT by BATNF
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"It's as if a man who had $10,000 in the bank were to stand on the corner begging for quarters to buy lunch. There are such men. We call them crazy and lock them up for their own good."

We might call such a person crazy, but we certainly wouldn't "lock them up", nor should we.

Schundler is the original "compassionate conservative". He should have stuck with pushing vouchers.

Amazing that not one, NOT ONE, of these guys is really gaining any traction. Also amazing that not one, NO ONE, has announced a run for senate, even with the presumption that Corzine is running for governor.

This state is just forgetaboutit!

2 posted on 05/07/2005 11:05:40 PM PDT by jocon307 (Irish grandmother rolls in grave, yet again.)
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To: jocon307

Well first of all you are correct: New Jersey is completely flushed down the liberal Democrat toilet - - the place is hopeless. But I still hope to see beacons of light there from time to time. This is very disappointing news about Schundler - - though maybe his position can is understandable since he was the mayor of a fairly depressed city.

On the other hand, he is running for governor now, and if he still can't disavow the crass court-ordered socialism that benefits only the powerful New Jersey education mafia, then he is simply not fit.

I love Steve Lonegan's radio commercials, "A Conservative Minute with Mayor Steve Lonegan", and he clearly seems to be the real bright spot in the field. But is he for real? Does he have a realistic shot of winning statewide election in a liberal toilet like New Jersey?

3 posted on 05/07/2005 11:27:07 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard

"A Conservative Minute with Mayor Steve Lonegan"

Yeah, those are good. Very strongly conservative.

Who knows who can win, it's sad. Talk about rich mad men, Forrester has been spending money like one for years. Almost no day goes by without another piece of mail from him, it's tremendous, the guy's got money to burn.

Unlike some of the other Jersey Freepers, I like them all. I don't know who I'll vote for in the primary, but whoever gets the nomination has my vote in the general.

I'm not sure what is wrong with Jersey pubbies, I guess we are suffering from advanced RINO-ism.

Checked your homepage (we signed up just about the same time, back in the glory days of the Sore-Loserman campaign), how's Pennsy? Hubby says we should move there because you folks use your lottery $$ for the old folks we're going to become.

4 posted on 05/07/2005 11:46:49 PM PDT by jocon307 (Irish grandmother rolls in grave, yet again.)
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To: jocon307

Yeah, I signed up after three years of lurking and gnashing my teeth, on the day Gore conceded. It was at that point that I decided that Clinton and the rats were done using government agencies to audit political enemies. There were a lot of threads about that over the years and I actually believed that Clinton might order Free Republic hacked so that freepers could be audited! I still maintain that that was a legitimate concern, and the recent news about the Cisneros investigation (sort of) reaffirms my extreme paranoia....

5 posted on 05/08/2005 12:06:26 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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