Vote Whitey!

In New Jersey’s 2005 gubernatorial race, names are not important.

Corzine, Forrester, whatever.

All you really need to remember is: Vote Whitey!

As we stand poised to choose our next governor, the state faces serious problems. Dogged by corruption, grossly inflated property taxes, a hefty budget deficit, a sluggish economy and rising energy costs, New Jersey requires a bold and innovative leader with real vision. Clearly, it is in the best interest of the state to elect a rich, well-connected white man.

But what’s really important in this election? A candidate’s ability to provide palatable solutions to the myriad issues on the mind of New Jersey voters? How naive.

What’s really important is who can sling the best mud. Forget the issues, we’ll have four years to deal with those after Election Day. Now is the time for reputations to be ruined.

Certainly both candidates have displayed an aptitude for that. It seems you can’t turn on the TV anymore without hearing that Corzine is just more of the same or that Forrester is George Bush’s choice for governor.

Not that these advertisements are actually hurting the candidates’ characters. They certainly aren’t hurting their pocketbooks. Both Corzine and Forrester have spent years at the helms of major corporations, amassing personal fortunes in the millions of dollars.

Corzine was employed, and eventually served as CEO, of Goldman Sachs for a quarter-century. He gave $470,000 to a union boss and former girlfriend to help pay off her half of a mortgage on her ex-husband’s home. Then he got the union’s endorsement.

Forrester is the owner of BeneCard Services, Inc., a pharmaceutical benefit firm recently awarded $34 million in contracts from Burlington County after Forrester donated $50,000 to county Republicans. Likewise, Forrester has made more than $550,000 in state campaign contributions from an insurance firm he established in Washington D.C. despite a state law barring insurance companies from making political contributions.

But all of this has been deemed perfectly legal, cause in New Jersey politics, money talks and bullshit walks. Combined from their personal war chests (both candidates declined to use public money to fund their campaigns), Corzine and Forrester have spent a record $46 million. And this figure is from a report released in the first week of October – who knows how much more they’ll shell out before everything is said and done.

But that’s the name of the game in New Jersey politics. Despite the fact that registered Democrats and Republicans combined are outnumbered by independent voters in this state, we do not seem capable of endorsing any candidates who are able to think outside the mechanism of vicious party politics.

We’ve been prey to a long string of rich, white, well-connected New Jersey governors – and no matter who you vote for Tuesday, the streak isn’t going to end.

So New Jersey, your mandate is clear. It’s time for a change, even if that change is just a change of name and countenance.

Get out there and vote like you always have.