What does Harry have against potted plants?
Before I move on to the main topic of this column, please indulge me for a moment while I make yet another request for justice for April Kauffman.
It has been months now, since May, and still not a peep from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office about what progress, if any, has been made in the investigation of the brutal murder of April Kauffman. Rumors abound on Facebook, the Internet and local citizens about what happened that night. Many of these rumors are nasty and demeaning. Do we still have a murderer living among us, or was April's murder committed by a professional hit man, a hired gun, who has moved on? The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office owes the citizens of Atlantic County an update, a report on where the investigation stands. Or will the murderer of April Kauffman walk free, as the murderer of the four prostitutes in West Atlantic City apparently has, and how a number of the killers in this year’s gun violence in Atlantic City have.
Now on with the show. Last week Harry Hurley wrote in his column that even a potted plant, if running on Column B, the Democratic column, would have won the freeholder election as did Colin Bell, the Democratic candidate. It is amazing how many different people and constituencies Harry insulted with that one standard right-wing, vaguely racist statement. Yes, there appeared to be some “coattail effect” from Obama and Menendez. No coattails for Cassandra Shober, though. The last time I looked, Congressman LoBiondo was re-elected with an 18 percentage margin.
And no coattails from LoBiondo, or Bell would have lost. Atlantic County voters are quite skilled at voting for people, not parties, in split-ticket voting. The reality is that Colin Bell worked hard and appeared to have more funding, which allowed him to run more television and radio commercials. Bell was also helped by voter annoyance over the Airport Circle debacle, in which the county's “fix” made matters worse. It is true that in the past, area Democrats have run candidates of lesser quality for Congress, state and local election. But Colin Bell was a quality candidate who won fair and square.
How does one explain the Democratic win in Republican Brigantine? Were Brigantine voters voting for potted plants as well?
Harry's column, in addition to implying that Colin Bell was no better that a potted plant, implied that minority voters vote straight Democrat and do not have a mind of their own. While it is obvious that Democrats usually do well in areas with concentrations of African Americans and other minorities, they are not a monolithic voting bloc. Check and see how Denny Levinson fared in Atlantic City and Pleasantville the last time he ran.
The area's demographics are changing, just as the national demographics are changing. People have more intelligence than politicians and talking heads give them credit for.
Finally, Harry insulted potted plants as well. If he had written “pot plants” instead, his whole argument still would have gone up in smoke (my attempt at humor). Houseplants clean the air of impurities and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. At least they are doing something useful, which is more than I can say about the do-nothing Republican House of Representatives and the obstructionist Senate Republicans.
Republicans have to find their way back toward the middle, away from tea party land. Instead of blaming voters, they should be asking themselves how they can win those voters back, both locally and nationally.
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