By Stephen Yellin
"Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, hates poor people. Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan hates immigrants. And state Sen. Gerry Cardinale, R-Demarest, loves bankers."
Alfred Doblin began his Friday political column in the Bergen Record with those words. Doblin is an equal-opportunity critic of politics, who calls out politicians on both sides of the New Jersey aisle for corruption. As you may know, Garrett was one of just three Congressional Republicans in New Jersey to vote against the S-CHIP override. Lonegan is an anti-immigrant crusader who was recently caught employing illegal immigrants. So it’s good to see that Doblin is "playing fair" and telling the truth about Gerry Cardinale and his Republican cohorts – that they are hypocritical ideologues.
Let’s concentrate on Gerry Cardinale, however, as Garrett isn’t up for reelection until 2008 and Lonegan until 2009. On the other hand, Cardinale faces the voters in just 17 days, and is locked in a tight race with Democrat Joe Ariyan href="http://www.voicefor39.com">Voice for the 39th. In order to continue to turn New Jersey into a progressive bastion, Cardinale must be the first of the trio to go. Why? Just ask Doblin:
"Cardinale, who has railed against the Democratic pay-to-play candy factory, has been all too willing to accept chocolates on the pillows at plush resorts, compliments of the banking industry." Doblin Article
What were those "chocolates" worth? $27,000 in gifts and free vacations. Where were these "plush resorts"? In the mountains of West Virginia, at a spa in California, in a lush hotel in Bermuda and four different hotels in Florida, including two trips to Miami. Who benefited from these gifts? The answer isn’t Gerry Cardinale, although I’m sure he enjoyed not picking up the tab. No, the real winner in this quid pro quo was the banking industry, which received favorable legislation in Trenton courtesy of Gerry Cardinale’s powerful positions in the Legislature. In 2000, Cardinale proposed and actively fought for 4 pieces of legislation that directly helped improve profits for banks – while receiving a $6,000 bribe...err, gift in the form of a West Virginia vacation at the same time.
Don’t believe me? See it for yourself, courtesy of YouTube:
You Tube TV ad on Cardinale
I don’t know who’s making these ads, or whether they’ll ever appear on a TV in Bergen County – but they’re the truth. For Gerry Cardinale and the New Jersey Republican Party to claim that they’d "clean up" Trenton and our state government is not only laughable, but entirely dishonest.
After all, who do you think takes over the Ethics and Commerce Committees in the State Senate if the GOP were to pick up three seats this fall? Gerry Cardinale, of course! (He’s the ranking Republican member on both committees)
For all the talk about Democratic politicians in my state who are corrupt, it’s surprising that so many editorials never condemn Cardinale. Maybe it’s because he’s been doing his shtick for 28 years as a legislator – he’s good at political prostitution.
I believe Doblin hit the nail on the head about Cardinale at the end of his article. It reads as follows:
"And as for Gerry Cardinale, the arch-conservative who once equated same-sex relationships to pet ownership, he really does love bankers. But only in the way that some people are very fond of their dogs. And there's nothing wrong with that."
Doblin’s sarcasm aside, there is something wrong with a State Senator who chooses "love" over "duty" – his love for lobbyists far outweighs any consideration for the public good. I urge the people of New Jersey’s 39th Legislative district (northern Bergen County) to send Gerry Cardinale back to his vacation home in the Caribbean (see the YouTube clip to know what I’m talking about) and elect Democrat Joe Ariyan instead. You’ll be glad you did.