: Way back in May, I said that New Jersey could become a swing state. So did John Podhoretz. I heard the cracking sounds of being out on a limb then but it’s turning out to be quite true. Hell, George Bush is coming to my turf today to give a big speech on terrorism, which will play here, considering how close we are to the action (my neighbors died… and terrorists are also my neighbors).
Jason Chervokas is worried about my state. Conventional wisdom is that the winner has to take two of three — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida — but now it appears NJ is in the mix. Chervokas nominates me as a poster boy for the problem:
New Jersey may be the biggest problem of all. The northern part of the state is full of upper middle-class suburban voters who are center-left socially but who think Kerry is soft on terrorism, voters like Jeff Jarvis. Also, the nation’s wealthiest state is densely populated by the C-level managers and small businessmen who are among the Republicans most loyal bases. There is also a big base of Wall Street employees who stand to benefit from the flood of money into the markets that will come with the privatization of social security. Then there’s McGreevey’s implosion. While it may not be having a profound impact on Kerry’s numbers, it has taken away what would have been Kerry’s number one surrogate campaigner in the state. (I bet the Dems wish they had Corzine on the ballot in a special election now!) Kerry needs to do something quick in New Jersey because he can’t win the presidency without winning New Jersey. (Theoretically he could, if he took Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, but c’mon!).
But I’m not sure what Kerry can achieve. My guess is that his biggest problem is a loss of traditional support among upper middle-class women from the northern suburbs. Not so much the soccer moms, more the corporate wives. There’s little Kerry can say to them at this point that be a difference maker. Still, at least he should show up in New Jersey. Spend a day. Show the Jerseyites some love. Maybe it helps get out the vote.
This time four years ago, this Garden State was growing campaign signs like corn. Not now. One rabid Bushie in my neighborhood has a sign up. Nobody else does. Driving around less Republican neighborhoods, I see nothing. That tells me we don’t want either of them. We’ll hold our noses like we do going through the Elizabeth refineries when we vote.
Tom Watson (the American) agrees and says that Jason “targets uber-blogger Jeff Jarvis, reliably centrist and stubbornly (even annoyingly) on the fence so far, as emblematic of NJ voters Kerry needs.”
Technically, I’m not on the fence. I’m soft.
Tom prescribes a dose of Clinton Viagra: “So saddle up Bubba, and get him to NJ.”
Bubba: Let’s lunch.