Republicans and Conservatives alike tend to cringe when media coverage makes it obvious that the Left is following the Rahm Emanuel directive to “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Similarly, most of New Jersey cringed when Governor Phil Murphy referred to the collective population of New Jersey as “knuckleheads” the other day in a Facebook post. Here’s the problem: anyone that’s not Leftist in New Jersey needs to embrace both of those statements.
Conservatives, generally speaking, are not big fans of large shifts in the way government works. That said, we as conservatives in New Jersey have passed the point where small changes are a good idea. Governor Murphy’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 response along with his clear disdain for Constitutional rights that are above his paygrade is a crisis that conservatives cannot let go to waste. Running a competent conservative non-hack next year to unseat Murphy is not enough: New Jersey needs to find, select, and run someone in the mold of President Trump that has no ties to the establishment. Everything about the establishment is in need of destruction, and all of our energy as citizens should be focused on finding that individual and building a platform that represents undoing all the problems as fast and as radically as possible.
The next Republican governor that is a true Constitutional conservative (this automatically eliminates anyone that Doug Steinhardt thinks is a good idea) should consider the following thoughts as a means to go further than stop the bleeding – we can close the wounds if we do it the right things the right way.
1. Trust the People: End the practice of the State legislature being the source of ballot questions. Authoritarians and statists such as Murphy, Grewal, Callahan, the various County powerbrokers and their ilk do not trust and feel they are superior to the population. Reverse this dynamic by extending trust to the population at large: the people can decide what they want on their ballots by restoring participative government at the lowest possible level. Every single proposed question cannot be on the ballot and there would need to be some kind of threshold for inclusion, but I’d rather see a system where the questions are selected based on the desires of the population, thereby restoring some amount of John Locke’s “consent of the governed.” The inhabitants of the current political ecosystem would twist this process to their own perverted, corrupt ends – unless We the People do something about it.
2.Enshrine the right to self-defense: New Jersey’s Constitution does not have a passage that approximates the Second Amendment. Yet some people wonder why Leftist and statist ideologies run rampant here. Incorporation doctrine does apply via the 14th Amendment, but I would feel much better knowing that a candidate to run the state affirmatively believes in the inherent right of a person to defend their family and property. Multiple opinions from the Supreme Court have confirmed that the police have no duty to protect the citizen; why hasn’t New Jersey gotten this memo?
3.The police are not a protected class: Since we are on the topic of the police, let’s get rid of the exemptions to firearms laws for retired police. Thank you for your service; you all did a job that I would not do. (I worked with bulk explosives in the Air Force; maybe they’d want to switch?) I’m not coming at this thought from an anti-police perspective, I’m saying that we should not stand for codified preferential treatment. What about your law enforcement background specifically makes you qualified to retain your 15-round magazines? Nothing. This is statist thinking on full display and it needs to disappear.
4.Flatten the curve of government: Strap in kids, this one is going to be a rough ride.
4A. Ban the Borough: I realize this is a local decision; the state cannot force two townships to merge…sort of. Remove the basis for the existence of the Borough by repealing the Borough Act of 1878 and all of its amendments. Boroughs can then opt to join a neighboring township, and/or the county can hold public meetings on the topic. I know what you’re thinking: “Mike, that’s expensive. You’d have to switch everything over to the new logos and such.” Nope, wrong answer – leave the long-life items like road signs in place until they are due for replacement. People will get used to seeing the police cars that don’t look like the other ones; humans are a very resilient species despite the Left’s best efforts to turn us all into sheep. This is New Jersey, after all: I know of no other state that boasts a T-shirt bragging that we are where the weak are killed and eaten. (If only this were true. A guy can dream.)
4B. Share all services: No more of this pilot program garbage. Move everything to the county level and let the chips fall where they may. Standardizing everything from vehicle fleets to uniforms to police weapon loadouts to office supply purchasing will create savings and economies of scale.
4C. Eliminate local school Superintendents: One school board member holds a rotational assignment to the County Board of Education. If you really want to up the fun factor here, designate a seat as opposed to a person and the candidate for the seat gets this assignment as a condition of election.
4D. Move to county police: See 4A and 4B. Camden County seems to have done this in a halfway decent fashion aside from the persistent rumors that Camden City is not paying its share of the total expenses, which should come as a shock to nobody if true.
4E. Contract out the nonessentials: The hardline take here is to only call law enforcement, medical response, and fire suppression essential. Ask if it can be done by contractors, then explain to the crooked unions that we need to avoid becoming California. The good times are gone; we just need to make that abundantly clear.
5.Nothing is off the table: The entire New Jersey Administrative Code is up for grabs. Our desired candidate should approach our problems from a blank slate. Every single statute and every single method of revenue collection and revenue expenditure is up for discussion, end of story. The statute or revenue mechanism should be balanced against asking whether or not the statute or mechanism in its current form is both beneficial to the citizen and if it increases the size and scope of the state government. Does it need to be repealed outright or is it just in need of modernization? Not unlike the CIA hunting terrorists, we need to find, fix, and finish these problems.
6.Public employment reform: I might catch some heat for this, but I’m not opposed to holding multiple part-time public jobs, or a single full-time and a single part-time. (Full disclosure: I’m a Federal employee and I adjunct for a county college. Not at the same level of government, granted, but integrity first.) Where I draw the line and where the taxpayers should draw the line is when multiple suites of benefits at the same level of government are involved. Pick one set of benefits so as not to duplicate costs. Shore News Network recently ran a clickbait piece that talked about a single Assemblyman holding 21 public positions. Um, not so much. The politician in question is an attorney whose firm won bids on municipal legal services contracts. I’d rather have that system than every little town, borough, and village having a bloated legal department eating up salary, benefits, and overhead. Municipal court reform has been debated since the early 1970’s according to this 2018 Asbury Park Press watchdog piece: again, why hasn’t New Jersey moved to take an action that would benefit the citizenry? Oh, right, there’s the high caste in Jersey: well-connected public employees, then illegals, then the lowly third-tier ordinary citizens.
7.Revoke sanctuary status: In our new Jersey alternate universe, all 21 counties would have 287(g) agreements, and there would be not a single accommodation in any way, shape, or form for anyone here illegally. Did anyone else happen to notice that President Trump’s policies on immigration had the greatest benefit to minorities? Did those unemployment numbers come from nowhere? Nope. Democrats claim to be the party of the little guy and the victimized minority – funny how their ideas do the exact opposite in practice.
Bill Maher recently cautioned the mainstream media by saying, “Trump calls you fake news. Don’t make him be right.” We as New Jerseyans are indeed every bit the knuckleheads Murphy says we are if we let this crisis go to waste. Don’t make him be right.
Mike Holovacs is a concerned, angry deplorable that is already planning his exit from New Jersey despite needing to stay here for roughly another sixteen years. His hobbies include writing, volunteering, and finding reasons not to mow his lawn.
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