Category Archives: Body Politic

Body Politic by Jack Archibald
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Clinton’s Delusional Defense of Email

jack archibald 120Last week, former Secretary of State and prospective Democrat President nominee Hillary Clinton channeled her inner H.L. Mencken.  By implementing his observation that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people, Mrs. Clinton threw out her latest whopper in hopes of keeping her campaign for President alive.

Mrs. Clinton came up with another lame excuse regarding her use of email as a government official and the archiving of those emails on her own home server. By now, and even in her early years as Secretary of State, she had to know that communication in any official capacity is the property of the government. By setting up her own server, Mrs. Clinton was able to set the rules for the storage of the email and control the disposition of her correspondence. It is laughable that Mrs. Clinton said she only wanted to carry one device to handle her communication needs, and therefore needed her own server.  While carrying a single device makes sense, she had an entire entourage that could have carried a second, private device for her.

Unfortunately for her, Mrs. Clinton and her husband couldn’t even agree on their story.  At her press conference, she claimed that the server contained personal correspondence between former President Clinton and herself.  Meanwhile, Bill Clinton has maintained that he has only sent two emails in his entire life!  The White House added to the charade by claiming that few senior officials knew that she wasn’t using a .gov email address.  Anyone that has ever used email has looked at a return email address, and our brightest government officials didn’t notice?

Mrs. Clinton has survived tall tales before- cattle futures and tarmac shootings quickly come to mind, but this one is much lamer.  Almost everyone can relate to email accounts, and no one was buying what she was selling last week.  With this latest caper and delusional defense, Mrs. Clinton has once again reminded the public about the different set of rules that the Clintons play under.  It may not be enough to derail her nomination train, but it adds one more fish story to her long list of unbelievable explanations. But then again, she is obviously a keen student of Mr. Mencken’s teachings. 

Menendez Will Fight to Survive

jack archibald 120A senior New Jersey politician made national news last week and it wasn’t Governor Chris Christie.

This time it was Senator Robert Menendez, and once again, it was not the type of publicity that politicians really want to get.  According to reports, New Jersey’s senior senator will face a federal indictment for wielding his political power in exchange for gifts from a donor.

Unfortunately, none of this is new.  A New Jersey politician under indictment hardly qualifies as “news” and politicians doing favors for their donors isn’t exactly new ground.  However, that is where New Jersey is and it has touched off speculation throughout New Jersey political circles.  Usually, the guessing game starts about when the politician will resign and then who is going to replace the Senator.  In this case, while there has been some talk of replacements for Menendez, it is no sure thing that he will resign.

It says here that Menendez will not go quietly or quickly.  The Senator is known as a feisty politician, and in his public comments, Senator Menendez all but vowed to fight the charges to the bitter end.  There doesn’t seem to be the usual suspects on the Democratic side circling around the controversy, nor have any types of trail balloons regarding his replacement been floated.  Had he been in imminent danger, there would be any number of Jersey Democrats itching to step into the seat.

But stepping into the seat won’t be easy. It does seem a bit retaliatory towards Menendez that shortly after he opposed the treaty with Iran that word of the indictmen survaced.  Menendez was one of the strongest critics of the deal, and an indictment by the Attorney General could be perceived as paying back Menendez for his vocal opposition to Iran negoitiations.  The Senator is a fighter, and one can take the Senator’s word that he will fight the coming indictment for a very long time.   

Monmouth Republicans Have a Bright Future

jack archibald 120If last weekend was any indication, the Monmouth County Republican Party is in very good shape. In the dead of winter, the Monmouth GOP held two events that displayed the party’s strength and unity.  One of the events was a non-e vent, and the other was a gala that was held right here in Atlantic Highlands.

Last Saturday, the county committee members met at Colts Neck High School to nominate candidates for this fall’s election.  While it may seem early to focus on an election that is eight months away, the GOP held its annual convention and confirmed all of the Party’s nominees for higher office.  For Freeholder, the Monmouth GOP unanimously selected incumbent John Curley to stand for re-election. All of the state legislators are seeking re-nomination and in the 13th Legislative district, incumbent Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Amy Handlin were nominated to represent us in the State House.   To the surprise of no one, Atlantic Highlands Prosecutor Christine Hanlon was nominated to run for County Clerk after the retirement of long time Clerk Claire French.

For Monmouth County Republican Shaun Golden, the convention was a success.  There were no surprise candidates to challenge any of the current incumbents and committee members walked out of the hall unified for the upcoming year.   Golden also highlighted the progress of women in the County GOP, especially the team of in the 11th Legislative District – Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywomen Caroline Cassagrande and Mary Pat Angelini, believed to be the only all- female team representing any district in the State.

While Saturday’s event was satisfying, the Lincoln Day Dinner on Sunday evening was an even larger success for the County GOP.  One of the major fund raisers for the Party, over 500 party loyalists attended the dinner at the Shore Casino.   Despite the cold weather, the turnout was larger than in prior years, and Golden’s team exceeded the 2014 in terms of dollars raised for the GOP.  Highlighting the dinner was a speech by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, considered by many as the GOP front runner for Governor after Chris Christie’s term expires.

All in all, Chairman Golden had to be pleased by the weekend.  The GOP avoided any controversy, there were no challenges from the floor at the convention, and the Party coffers were generously refilled on Sunday evening.  More importantly, the party is together, the candidates are battle tested, and the Monmouth GOP walked lockstep toward a bright future from a busy weekend.  

Christine Hanlon Nominated for Monmouth County Clerk

jack archibald 120The announcement that Christine Hanlon has been nominated to replace Claire French as Monmouth County Clerk is a temporary setback to Atlantic Highlands.   As many residents know, Ms. Hanlon has been the prosecutor in Atlantic Highlands for the past several years and the responsibilities of the new office will not allow Ms. Hanlon to hold both positions.  While there will be no shortage of applicants looking to fill her shoes, Ms. Hanlon did a terrific job enforcing the ordinances and laws of our borough.

While her ascension to the Clerk office is not assured, there should be little opposition to Ms. Hanlon. The County Clerk is an elected position, but when a vacancy occurs in mid-term, it falls on the Governor to appoint a replacement.  Governor Chris Christie, acting on the recommendation of the Monmouth County GOP, and his personal experience working with Ms. Hanlon, acted swiftly in nominating her.  The next test for Ms. Hanlon is the State Senate, where she will have to win a vote of the State Senate.  At this point, it is unlikely for there to be any legitimate opposition to her candidacy.

Besides having   the support of Senators from Monmouth County, Ms. Hanlon should be able to convince a majority of the Senate on her fitness for the job when the nomination hearings start in April.   She is a lawyer by training, and anyone that has had any type of interaction with Ms. Hanlon- from a judicial or political angle, knows that she is a consummate professional.  The County Clerk is not one of the high profile elected offices- like Freeholder, and Ms. Hanlon will have to run for election in November.  As an active member of the Monmouth GOP leadership, Ms. Hanlon will have wide party support from the GOP faithful this fall, and would enter the election in a very favorable position.

Having Christine Hanlon as County Clerk is a huge benefit for Atlantic Highlands.  At some point, each of us has interaction with the Clerk office.  Besides presiding over the elections, the Clerk’s office is responsible for passports, property deeds, ID cards, and other records.  While Ms. Hanlon will now be responsible for the entire county in that department, it is unlikely that she will ever forget Atlantic Highlands.   From a governing point of view, Atlantic Highlands will be sorry to see our Prosecutor

move on, but we know that she will do great things for all of the residents of Monmouth County. 

The Passing of Judge Peter Locascio

jack archibald 120With the passing of Judge Peter Locascio, Atlantic Highlands lost one of its most notable citizens. But more importantly, Atlantic Highlands lost a good man.   Judge Locascio was one of the kindest and fair men that one could ask for.  In fact, he had the right balance to be a municipal judge and like all of our residents, he had only the best in mind for our town.

That is not an easy task when administering justice.  By this writer’s own admission, I do not spend much time in our court system.  For some gadflies, hanging around borough hall and the courtroom can be entertaining, but the courtroom is the Judge’s domain.   And make no mistake, Judge Locascio was a presence in Court and he made it known that it was all business.

And Justice is about business.  You have to be fair, circumspect, compassionate, practical and sometimes even sympathetic.  To know Peter Locascio the man, was to know that he possessed all of these qualities and then some.  We have all met people that carry a twinkle in their eye, and for me, Judge Locascio was one of those people.   He could be charming, tough, extremely understanding all at the same time.   He enjoyed his family and his hobbies, and he never hesitated to remind me that Lafayette was a better school than Lehigh.  While that was one of our few disagreements, it was all in good fun and only proved that the Judge could also throw a needle.

If you asked our residents that appeared before Judge Locascio, they would state overwhelmingly that they received a fair shake.  He was one of those people that said a lot with just a few words, and because of that, when he spoke you listened very closely.  But at the end of the day, Pete Locascio was a caring, family man.  He loved spending time with his daughter Gianna and his son, Peter, and his wife of forty years, Pat and he couldn’t have been any prouder of his family.  Pete Locascio was a great Judge for Atlantic Highlands, he was a great friend to many, and he will be missed by all. RIP, Judge Loscascio.   

New Years Poll 2015

jack archibald 120The year 2014 was full of surprises and next year will be no different. As in past years, the winner of our annual New Year’s poll will receive a free one – year subscription to the Herald courtesy of this writer.

Will Chris Christie run for President?

What will the unemployment rate be in December 2015?

How many Democrats will run against Hillary Clinton for the Democrat nomination?

When will Assemblyman John Wisniewski give up the Bridgegate investigation?

Does the Republican Congress attempt a total repeal of ObamaCare?

Who wins the Masters – Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy?

The Dow Jones will be closer to 19,500 or 16,500 on July 1, 2015?

Will President Obama get a Supreme Court nominee in 2015?

In which month will Bill Bratton step down as NYC Police Commissioner?

Which Monmouth County Democrat will run against John Curley for Freeholder?

In which month does Fidel Castro pass away?

Who speaks first on their role in Bridgegate- David Wildstein or Bridget Anne Kelly?

Will President Obama veto the Keystone XL Pipeline?

How much jail time will former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas face in sentencing?

Gasoline prices will finish 2015 higher or lower than 2014?

Does Rand Paul run for President or re-election to his Senate seat?

Will Matt Harvey win the MLB comeback player of the year award?

Good luck to all and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!

Christmas Concert at St. Agnes Catholic Church This Sunday

jack archibald 120As we roll into the Holiday Season, there is nothing better than pairing some quality entertainment while contributing to a worthy cause. In one of Atlantic Highland’s longest running and greatest traditions, this Sunday marks the annual Christmas Concert at St. Agnes Church. If you find yourself with free time on your hands or if the local professional football teams are suffering another blowout at 3pm, then head over to Center Avenue.

Besides listening to some great Christmas songs, you can help the less fortunate in our community.  There is no cost to the free concert, as each attendee is asked to bring an item for the Atlantic Highlands Food Pantry.  The Food Pantry, as many residents know, is a joint effort by our local religious communities, which provides nourishment to the less fortunate among us. The Food Pantry is a year round effort, and is always in need of replenishment, especially around the holidays.

Continue reading Christmas Concert at St. Agnes Catholic Church This Sunday

Happy Birthday to a Group Very Special to Atlantic Highlands

jack archibald 120This column typically avoids mentioning birthdays, as each of us is special and our birthday is something to be celebrated.  But a recent milestone birthday was achieved and it is only fitting that the celebrant be recognized for such a distinguished life and achievement over many years.  But this is not one individual, rather it is a collection of many, and naming all of the achievements of this collective would take up more space than is allowed.

If you knew that this column is about the 90th anniversary of the Atlantic Highlands Lions Club, then you are a very informed citizen.  See, the Atlantic Highlands Lions Club goes about its good deeds in a very quiet way, and the club’s reach is so vast that our community almost takes its contributions for granted.  But we shouldn’t.  For over ninety years, the Lions Club has served our people in a most honorable manner.  You can’t walk around Atlantic Highlands without seeing the mark of the Lions Club through the years.

Start with the Harbor.  The Lions Club was very instrumental in developing the harbor back in the 1930s. If that isn’t good enough for you, go back to 1927 when the Lions raised over $10,000 toward the construction of a second traffic lane on State Highway 36. They planted the dogwood trees that line Ocean Boulevard, and they helped build the Senior Center down at the Harbor as well as providing significant funding for the children’s playground across the street.  When you see a yellow mailbox at the Harbor, on First Avenue or anywhere in town that is the Lions Club collecting glasses for the visually impaired.

Our policeman have bulletproof vests thanks to the Lions, and for the past 45 years, the Lions have been providing scholarships to Atlantic Highlands students at Henry Hudson Regional.   For the younger children, there is the annual Christmas/Holiday movie that is sponsored by the Lions, free of charge. The Lions have donated funds to the following organizations over the years- Deborah Hospital, New Jersey Eye Bank, Camp Happiness, Camp Marcella (for blind children) and the Marie Katzenbach School for the Death.

The list of the Lions good deeds could go on and the best part of the Lions Club is that anyone can join.  Over the years, many have served the Club with distinction and recently Gardiner Marek celebrated his fiftieth year as a member of the Lions Club.  That is not a typo – the man has volunteered for this organization in our town for 50 years.  Gardiner is a true Lion, a man that gives back to his community without asking for anything in return. It is because of Lions (and Leos- the Lions Youth Group) like Gardiner Marek, which make our community a great place to live.  When you see Gardiner or any of the Lions around, wish them a Happy 90th Birthday, and thank them for their service to our community. Atlantic Highlands is a better place because of the Lions Club, and we wish them many many more Birthdays to come.

Republicans Must Show They Can Govern

jack archibald 120Now that the GOP has gained control of Congress, with both the Senate and House safely in Republican hands, the question turns to- what next?  The Republicans have been down this road before, most recently in 2010 with the takeover of the House, but that didn’t turn out so well.  The party lost its way, and its credibility with the shutdown of the government, and the perception grew that the Republicans were the party of no.

To make last Tuesday’s election meaningful, Republicans have to show they can govern.  And that starts with soon to be Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.  McConnell was known for his stated goal of making President Obama a one term President, and perhaps going beyond being the loyal opposition. If the GOP wants to keep the Senate, and show Americans that they can get good things accomplished, Senator McConnell must take the lead.  Fortunately for McConnell, it appears that the incoming Senators are serious, consensus builders that are there to do business as opposed to pursuing a personal agenda.

Some of those with agendas are sure to make a run for President.  His fellow Kentuckian Rand Paul, is a likely candidate for President as is Texas Senator Ted Cruz.  McConnell is going to have to make sure that those two Senators in particular, do not stray too far from the GOP reservation.  Florida Senator Marco Rubio could also be a candidate, but Rubio has shown that he has some thoughtful positions on immigration and foreign policy, and is far less likely to hijack the Senate to promote a political agenda.

In the House, Speaker John Boehner has a very solid majority.  After the primary defeat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor this past spring, the leadership posts were realigned and no major change is expected. While there are some significant political figures in the House, including Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Boehner has proven that he can lead a diverse group and put legislation forward.

Getting legislation passed should not be too great of a problem.  Republicans have the ability to pass bills and stake out their positions for the American people.  If they can remember that this is their chance to get something accomplished in Washington, they can show the public that they are worthy of holding power and changing the direction that the country is heading.  They will have to compromise with the President on some issues, and the public will understand.  The GOP has been given a chance to show America that government can work and Washington doesn’t have to be a place of endless gridlock.  The opportunity is there for Republicans, let’s hope its leaders recognize its time to put their agendas and presidential aspirations aside, and show that voters were right last week in handing the keys back to the GOP.  

Election Repudiates President’s Policies

jack archibald 120As is the usual practice, this writer will leave the analysis of the local election to the First Avenue pundits. Before turning our attention away, a sincere thank you from myself and my running mate for the confidence that the voters have shown in us.

While there wasn’t much intrigue in the New Jersey Senate race, which Democrat incumbent Corey Booker won handily, the happenings around the country were downright riveting.  In the last 24 hours, the Republican Party has handed President Barack Obama and the Democrat Party an epic defeat. The Republicans have increased their majority in the House and have gained control of the Senate.

Across the country, Democrats could not have run fast enough away from President Obama.  The Republicans capitalized on his unpopular policies and the hard left direction that Obama has chosen to lead our country.  While sitting Presidents often lose seats in their sixth year, the overwhelming size of the loss is remarkable.  Republicans won the Senate fairly easily, and they also picked up the Governor’s office in reliable Democrat states like Illinois and Maryland.

Closer to home, Congressman Frank Pallone survived the purge and beat challenger Anthony Wilkerson.  Wilkerson ran an honorable campaign, and New Jersey may not have seen the last of him.  Monmouth County remained reliably Republican but the Freeholders had a closer race than expected.   Voters wisely re-elected Lillian Burry and Gary Rich, but clearly the nasty campaign put forward by the Democrats roughed up the incumbents.

It was a remarkable evening for our country.  Just six years ago, there was talk of a permanent re-alignment that would favor the Democrats and the optimism that the new President would bring.  Last night, the country buried the belief of the new majority and repudiated the policies of the President. His record was on trial and the voters have passed judgment on his agenda.  With two years left in his Presidency, Barack Obama now finds himself in a position as one of the lamest ducks in Presidential history.