By Timothy Herrick
In terms of socialist or welfare programs — services assisting the economically disadvantaged — Hudson County may be one of the better counties in the nation. Political support for what conservatives classify as “leftist” is a defining feature of all Hudson County Democrats. Yet, a major New Jersey Democrat, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, stated on Facebook that the Jersey Journal “has become a mean-spirited tabloid and an attack dog for the radical left.”
DeGise hurled this insult in response to the paper’s reporting on his daughter, Amy DeGise, a Jersey City Councilwoman, in the wake of her being the driver in a hit-and-run accident.
Phil Murphy may be the first New Jersey Democrat re-elected as governor since 1977 but by a narrow margin, and New Jersey Republicans gained legislative seats that year. One would think with a victory so precarious and an increasingly radicalized and lawless Republican Party nationwide, New Jersey Democratic politicians would have party unity on their mind, even in times of scandal.
But why should Tom DeGise worry? Hudson County won’t turn red, and our “Radical Left” seem unconcerned about the ideology of the politicians they help elect. For our activists, it’s all about character this summer.
Jersey City — the Paris & county-seat of Hudson County — is bluer than a cloudless sky in April. Yet, our municipal government welcomes not just a Trump Tower and Kushner-funded skyscrapers and art programs, but has made Jersey City the town with the highest rents in North America (according to Rent.com).
By tacitly sanctioning Trump, Democratic civic leaders implicate all Hudson County residents as complicit in funding the insurrectionist coalition. They’ve turned our city into a landlord’s paradise with little to no rent control legislation protecting existing residents or limiting the profits owners of housing can accrue. Local activists have been all but silent about these developments, but when it comes to a viral video clip, their outcry is as deafening as it is anti-intellectual.
– For our activists, it’s all about character this summer-
As we all know, Amy DeGise was involved in an accident, an apparent hit-and-run. My personal opinion is that regardless of the evidence, traffic violations are never reasons for removal from office, especially before any court hearing or adjudication. Elections are the will of the people, and overturning that will is a last resort.
If it’s about character, then don’t re-elect. My ideological sensibilities are not offended that Amy DeGise hasn’t resigned before her day in court. I vote based on ideology and how that is manifested in a candidate’s policy platform. Character is secondary, for me. I feel character usually becomes an issue to avoid in-depth policy discussion by people eager to distract from ideology. Not that electing any particular municipal councilwoman or county executive will instantly lead to a constitutional right to healthcare or a living wage, but these principles are as democratic as FDR – and Republicans and Corporate Democrats oppose them. I follow Abbie Hoffman’s credo: “Think Globally, Act Locally.”
I can understand a political dad’s protecting a political daughter. I’ve met both of them, and they’re likeable, very nice folks… smart, competent and professional. Hudson County seems very well run, certainly better than in the 1990s. I always vote Democrat, and I’ve gladly voted for Tom DeGise every time he’s on the ballot. But never again.
In fact, I’d probably vote for Amy – depending on whether she’s running against a Republican or a Progressive – before I would vote for Tom.
As head of the “machine,” Tom DeGise has the prerogative to insult the press. Please, lash out! Freedom of the press demands criticism of the press, besides the Jersey Journal is not exactly Le Monde. Papers make mistakes and take wrong positions. Post the outcry on social media. You have a statewide following. Ridicule a newspaper? Be loud and proud!
But, why not question its objectivity by comparing the Jersey Journal to Fox News or the New York Post or Newsmax or the Drudge Report?
Why the heck is a Democratic politician — the biggest one in the bluest county this side of the Hudson — insulting the press by calling them “liberal”?
Who exactly is the Radical Left in Hudson County? Trump, DeSantis – probably every Republican serving their first term in Trenton this year – have declared President Biden the leader of the Radical Left. Does DeGise mean “everyone who voted for Biden” or just those who also believe healthcare should be a constitutional right?
The motivation seems obvious: In a solidly blue county like Hudson, the threat is not from Republicans but progressives who in Jersey City quite frankly seem far more interested in Pride Parade partying than working locally for economic justice globally, or at least for starters nationally.
The political ideology needed to reform our economy so that shelter, education, healthcare, and a living wage are guaranteed Constitutional rights requires complicated discussion and an engaged and informed electorate. It requires work on a national and local basis.
Maybe the positive here is that by calling a struggling newspaper that has more pages devoted to high school sports than politics of any kind – and that includes street closures and water main breaks – much less income inequality – “an attack dog for the radical left,” Tom DeGise blatantly revealed what worries all Hudson County Democrats: progressive Democrats, the Bernie Sanders/Alexandra Ocasio Cortez wing. The Radical Left is coming for our children! No tax abatement is safe!
Fear of the “Radical Left” plays profitably outside of woke enclaves like Jersey City where most of the developers and other investors benefiting from Jersey City’s relentless gentrification live. I seem to be noticing a pattern, but let’s focus our politics on Amy’s character. Ideology is hard!
Timothy Herrick, a Jersey City resident, is a writer and journalist. His website is TimHRKlit.com.
Photo by Kelly