Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Running for Congress: Getting on the Sabrin Line

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

After already having collected a significant number of signatures, I received a telephone call late one night from someone by the name of George Ajjan, communications director for Murray Sabrin, letting me know that US Senate candidate Murray Sabrin would like me to run for office and be on the ballot with them on a line called “Constitutional Republicans Protecting the Liberty Platform”; interesting proposition. I knew only a little bit about George Ajjan and Murray Sabrin as I had met them once, where I saw Sabrin stump for Ron Paul at a straw poll, and Murray and George both seemed like a nice enough guys with a solid platform and great knowledge of the issues.

Not knowing any better, I agreed to run with Murray on this line, but I had my own questions, that I never asked, that are still unanswered to this day.

First, what does that mean? What is a Constitutional Republican? I had a few people ask me if that was a third party, I too wondered the same thing at times and had, and still have, no idea what this meant. Others wanted to know what this Liberty Platform was. I also have no idea what that meant.

I do suspect, based on common sense, that a Constitutional Republican is simply a Republican who obeys the Constitution. Oddly enough, despite what many of the Ron Paul fanatics might claim, I actually believe that in general, the majority of our elected officials do indeed obey the Constitution. In fact, part of the petition form is even a page where you sign an oath to obey the Constitution. In any case, when someone truly violates the law of the land, we the people, through our judicial and/or voting process can indeed punish these people and based on the number of corrupt NJ politicians we’ve watched go to jail over the past several years, I’d say true law breakers do get caught and punished. Again, I’m not sure what a Constitutional Republican is over just being a Republican, but I suspect based on primary results, many voters didn’t want to vote for this new third party known as “Constitutional Republicans” and stuck with the party they know, the Republicans.

As for the Liberty Platform, I think it has something to do with being pro-life, anti-illegal immigration and maybe anti-war, I don’t really know the details of the platform, besides, I thought the platform to represent was the Republican party platform. By the time I received this phone call, I had about half if not more of the signatures I needed and I even had a website with a few issues online so I assumed these guys had reviewed at least part of my platform, and it was indeed my platform, not the Murray Sabrin platform, and certainly not the Ron Paul platform so I just assumed that my platform somehow met the criteria for this Liberty Platform as well as the Republican party platform, great, people were already getting on board with my positions and now a US Senate candidate was asking me to run with him, I was doing great.
I also suspected that this Liberty Platform was somehow related to the Ron Paul platform, you know, the one that was worth barely 6% of the vote here in NJ? I supported Ron Paul. I still think he is a better choice, for me, than John McCain but I certainly don’t agree with 100% of Ron Paul’s platform, nor do I disagree with 100% of John McCain’s platform. In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say that I don’t agree with 100% of Obama or Clinton’s platforms, but I also don’t disagree with 100% of their platforms either. Overtime, I would get some complaints from the Ron Paul, and Murray Sabrin, fanatics over some of my positions. I think someone even called me a socialist at some point along the way. Imagine that, me as a socialist, or maybe I should investigate what the socialist party and platform has to offer? Maybe I’ll do that some other day, doubtful.

Anyhow, after a short five minute phone call with George, I was now part of this line “Constitutional Republicans Protecting the Liberty Platform” under Murray Sabrin. I suspected that I would have the support of a US Senate candidate and access to some of a Senator’s resources, at list some voter lists, press contacts, maybe help getting speaking engagements, etc and now I was even more determined to make a difference in the political process thinking that I would have a dedicated and intelligent US Senate candidate also working hard to earn votes.

Unfortunately for me, not much support came from the Murray Sabrin campaign. George, the communications director, and Paul, the campaign manager, were both extremely helpful to me personally; I never really had much communication with Murray himself. George and Paul both answered many seemingly ridiculous questions that I had and George even provided some guidance as I designed my flyer. I did all of the design and content work on about three flyers and George noted that one was by far better than the rest and made some layout suggestions, some suggestions I took, some I canned. George eventually provided a “likely primary voter list” and I was invited to a few “press conferences” which just happened to be mid-day while I was at my day job as a software engineer.

By the way, being a software enginer is not some inside joke, I really do sit in front of a computer and write VB.NET code that is used to track cargo containers as they come off of ships in ports around the country and eventually get delivered to warehouses and door locations of your favorite stores, or containers that start somewhere in this country and have to make their way onto some outbound cargo ship. When I claim “I’m not a politician”, I really mean that, it’s not just some gimmick or ploy. When I hear some politician trying to claim “I’m not a politician”, I laugh as I try to think of what other words might describe what it is that these people are then. I’m really not a politician, I mean that, I graduated Rutgers with a degree in Computer Science and have spent the last ten or more years of my life in a cubicle writing computer problems, I’ve never run for an office before and I don’t know “the people”.

I probably could have leaned on Paul and George, along with the other workers at the Sabrin campaign, for more help and resources, and both George and Paul are truly great individuals who helped me very much and I appreciate their help, and I’m sure that if I had asked and if I wasn’t working full time, they would have helped me even more. My “complaint” of not much support isn’t with the people specifically, but rather the campaign as a whole.

Since this might sound confusing and contradictory, let me explain. I find the Murray Sabrin platform to be nearly the same as the Ron Paul platform, slightly different in places, just as my platform is similar to their platforms in some places. I suspect that there should be similarities between any and all Republican candidates so I didn’t think this was a big deal. The similarities in platform obviously made the Murray Sabrin platform attractive to me personally and Murray does indeed understand, regardless of what the “experts” say about him, the details of the economics and policies and Murray can run on the Ron Paul platform word for word if he wanted because Murray understands the Ron Paul platform and all of the theory and economics about it. I personally am just an average working class dope and to understand the economics and background on the number of policies these guys understand would be impossible. Regardless, I do have a decent understanding of the local issues, can balance my checkbook and spend within my limits and I even consider myself an informed voter and taxpayer, good enough prerequisites to qualify me for office; plus I have an opinion and there is a saying about opinions and everyone who has one. More important, unlike the average [person] with an opinion, I was wiling to put my opinions in writing and then go knock on stranger’s doors and tell them my opinions, as if my opinions are what matters. As for the likeness between Murray’s platform and mine, I suppose that Murray is anti-war and pro-youth rights and since he seems to understand the economic crisis and even have some solutions, I was sold on supporting Murray and since those are the “key issues” where we’re different from the other Republicans, it made sense to work together.

When I agreed to run with Murray this is what I knew, and all I knew. As time went on, it became clear that when Murray Sabrin spoke about the issues, Murray Sabrin was going to prove to be the guy best suited to represent me, and probably all of NJ. The other candidates just didn’t speak well in debates, didn’t seem to provide any real answers and in fact had more complaints about what the other party has done rather than solutions and explanations of what they would or could do in the future. It was troubling to think that the other clowns might beat Murray as they just couldn’t talk about the issues the way Murray could talk about the issues.

I had a lot of free time last night, so part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure is about to be posted.

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