It’s that time of the week when we span the globe and the state of New Jersey looking for the great men and women who have done ‘menschy’ things.
And not to be outdone by the Mensches, we also take a careful look for any Putzes on the horizon, those people who have done some very stupid, dense or brainless things. And there are plenty of both out there, making our choice very hard some times.
Mensch of The Week
In late 1999, I was the chairman of the Hunterdon County Democratic Committee, and was sought after for my endorsement from the various candidates for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Senator Bill Bradley. Although there are a mere 9000 or so registered Democrats in Hunterdon County, the people seeking the Senate seat still enthusiastically sought with me [sigh]. My times have changed.
Anyway, one of the office seekers I met with was a former chairman of Goldman Sachs named Jon Corzine. We had lunch at the NJPAC, along with a Corzine advisor.
At that meeting, he shared his vision for New Jersey, what he wanted to accomplish in Washington, as well as his values on important issues. One of the issues was the death penalty. Jon Corzine shared with me that he was opposed to the death penalty, predominately on moral and ethical grounds. This was at a time when being opposed to the death penalty was not widely popular, and perhaps a statewide candidate was not wise to run on that stand. However, he stood firm, and I found his belief sincere and well-reasoned. I told him that I admired him for his stand, and that it was the right thing to do. He said that someday he’d like to see the death penalty over turned in the state.
Flash forward to this week: Governor Jon Corzine makes that vision happen by signing the legislation over turning New Jersey’s never-used death penalty. With the world watching, New Jersey became the first state to do this----inspiring other nations, other states and even the Vatican to take notice of the Garden State. Said Governor Corzine, “It's a day of progress for the state of New Jersey and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder."
Well said, Governor Corzine. We applaud him for his vision and commitment to rejecting the most cruel, the most unusual and the most unconstitutional of all punishments that a state can hand out. For that, Governor Corzine is our Mensch of the Week here at New Jersey: Politics Unusual.
Putz of the Week
This is an easy one: Congressman Ron Paul has proven himself wildly popular with the populist crowd in his run for the Republican nomination for president. He opposes the Iraqi War. He stands out as the only Republican opposed to the Bush Administration’s insane war policies. He has been a straight talk kind of a guy. And, although he polls just over 2% in New Jersey, his supporters have raised a good deal of money here. Nationally, he recently raised $4.5 million. Sounds pretty good, huh?
So, what makes him a candidate for Putz of the Week, you might ask? Well, this week Congressman Paul received a $500 campaign donation from a white supremacist, and the congressman doesn't plan to return it.
Ron Paul, who raised 4.5 million bucks in the last week or so, has decided to keep the donation. This man is a true champion of the radical right, and his candidacy is an insult to every independent thinking American citizen.
The $500 donor runs a Web site called Stormfront with the motto, "White Pride World Wide." The site welcomes postings to the "Stormfront White Nationalist Community”, and links to websites of the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis and other white supremacists.
So, for his idiot move for refusing to return the donation and walking on parallel tracks with a man whose website espouses such venomous hate, Congressman Paul is the Putz of the Week.
He should be Putz of the Year with that move, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.