Dear President Clinton,
I saw you together with former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean when you gave the inaugural speech at the lecture series named in his honor at Drew University. The mutual respect and what seemed to be genuine affection that the two of you showed toward each other was refreshing. As you know, former Governor Kean's son, Tom Jr. is polling well looking toward a run for the U.S. Senate in 2006. Perhaps you may harbor a secret hope that Tom Kean Jr. could be the one person to return the national Republican Party to sanity. Perhaps he could.
But I don't think so.
I am afraid that the Republican Party has been so tainted by the viciousness of the relentless so-called conservative movement that it will be decades before the stench is removed from the word, "Republican." The influence of the northeast's Republican moderates will continue to decline absent some sort of unanticipated event.
In the meantime, New Jersey's new governor, Jon Corzine (for whom I was proud to vote today) will be selecting a new U.S. Senator to represent New Jersey until the 2006 election. Were Tom Kean Jr. to switch his registration from Republican to Democrat, and were Jon Corzine to then appoint him, there is little doubt that Tom Kean Jr. would easily win in 2006. And as you proved when you chose a Vice President from your part of the country, a New York, New Jersey Democratic Presidential ticket could be a very powerful combination.
This week would be a great time for Tom Kean Jr. to make such a switch, because the so-called conservative commentators will be falling all over themselves boasting about Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg's big win. The fact that the Mayor himself switched from Democrat to Republican (primarily for strategic reasons, so it's said) would provide some cover for anybody switching the other way.
A conference call with you, Jon Corzine and Tom Kean Jr. could be the single most important conversation in the U.S. so far this century. The country I've known and loved is slipping away. The Republican Party has completely squandered the good will built-up by great leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Time alone is all that can heal that sad party's political gangrene. Tom Kean seems like a decent fellow.
Perhaps you can help his son to avoid wasting a good family name.