The Self Made Pundit
Friday, October 04, 2002
I MET A MAN WHO WASN'T THERE: There is a simple explanation why the New Jersey Republicans are desperate enough to risk alienating voters by depriving them of a choice with a long-shot appeal that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to disgrace itself again with a second Bush v. Gore decision. That simple explanation is named Douglas Forrester, the hapless Republican candidate for Senator.
Forrester has been criticized by some commentators for running a campaign that is based on nothing more than the fact that he is not Senator Robert Torricelli. He proved their criticisms justified in his performance in the hours leading up to the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision to permit the Democrats to replace Torricelli with former Senator Frank Lautenberg on the ballot.
With the Democrats' efforts to replace Torricelli on the ballot creating a media frenzy on Wednesday, Forrester had the opportunity to reintroduce himself to the voters as a man of substance who was more than just the Anti-Torricelli. However, without Torricelli to kick around anymore, the poor man was at a loss for words:
[A]s he left the church, he walked directly past a phalanx of more than a dozen reporters and offered "no comment" several times to reporters who trailed him as he walked briskly to his car.
"I really don't have any comment at this point," he said when asked about the campaign. "I just enjoyed very much being here to worship."
Someone asked what he thought of the selection of former Senator Frank R. Lautenberg to fill Mr. Torricelli's place on the ticket.
"No comment at this time," he replied, still walking.
Were there any new issues that he would like to focus on during the campaign?
"I just enjoyed the time I had worshiping," he said.
What did he think of the Republican effort to keep Senator Torricelli's name [on] the ballot?
"I'm not really in a position to comment," he said as he increased his pace. "I just enjoyed a tremendous time of worship and that's what I'd like to, you know, think about."
By the end of the day, Forrester had composed himself enough to meet with a Washington Post reporter, who asked him what he did that day. Forrester's reply showed that he had decided to let the chips fall where they may and just run as himself -- the Anti-Torricelli:
In the course of his brief answer, Forrester mentions the name "Bob Torricelli" four times.
He clings to his former opponent as a toddler would to a security blanket. Previously, Forrester says, he had framed his campaign as "I'm not Bob Torricelli." New Jersey voters haven't had a chance to get to know Forrester "because of the distractions that Mr. Torricelli's conduct brought" to the race. "When I say I'm not Bob Torricelli, I mean that in a lot of ways," Forrester says, citing his experience, voting record and ethics.
"In other words, when I say I'm not Bob Torricelli, it has a context to it."
Yes, the context is that Forrester has little else to say. No wonder that the Republicans are desperate in New Jersey.