Years ago, after escaping the People’s Republic of New Jersey and making the acquaintance of fellow Bucks County Republicans, I mentioned matter-of-factly that the NJ Governor was a homosexual. Everyone in the NJ establishment, and many outside it knew this. The entire press corps knew it as well. The only people in the dark were the New Jersey voters. They usually are. No one here took my observations seriously for a few months until the day when Jim McGreevy called the now famous press conference to anounce that he was a “Gay American,” as he exited the building.
In that spirit, let me tell you about the late Senator Lautenberg. I do this not out of spite but as a further example of how the truth is never allowed to interfere with the agreed upon political narrative.
Frank Lautenberg is universally eulogized as a “Fighter.” This is true. He fought with everyone who did not defer to his constant demands or didn’t recognize him as the “ganzer macher” in the room. Frank Lautenberg had sharp elbows for anyone not on board with any of his causes. You couldn’t disagree with Frank. If you did you were a malefactor opposed to what’s right. But what were his causes?
He characterized himself as always fighting for the little guy. We pol’s found this amusing as he made his fortune putting thousands of little people in payroll departments out of work via Automated Data Processing (ADP). But hell, I suppose most of them were Democrats and appreciated him for it. He also claimed to have the elderly at heart, except when he ran against Millicent Fenwick, all but accusing her of senility. Thereafter, staying in office himself until he was no longer fit to string sentences together.
Let’s review his legislative record.
Frank used to be called Senator Radon. The panic of this naturally occurring mildly radioactive gas seeping into old sellers made a lot of people rich and Frank was their benefactor. A little ventilation was all anyone needed but, the Senator had found a topic to crusade on and he kept the gullible in the mood to spend money on detectors and remediation, with lots of campaign contributions coming in as a consequence.
The rest of the Senator’s contribution to America consisted of prohibitions on things ordinary Americans took for granted. Thanks to Senator Frank you can’t light up on an airliner anymore. You can’t have more than two glasses of wine with your meal while out dining. You can’t own a firearm if your spouse calls the cops on you during a divorce action. Returning troops under 21 can’t get a beer. Frank Lautenberg never saw a gun grabbing law he couldn’t support. And all this from a man who had private security, was driven in a limousine and had access to either government or private aviation whenever he felt like it.
He rammed through a provision in law that admitted thousands of refusnicks into the USA and insisted that the quota be kept up long after the USSR ceased to exist. It’s still there. So in a way, Senator Frank is a patron of the Russian Mafia in America. Thanks Frank!
And finally there is his record on civil liberties. Twice, once in 1995, and again in 2006, Frank Lautenberg voted against any restriction on burning the American flag. Yet last year in reaction to one case of arson against a synagog in Newark, he said “The Germans don’t let a single racist word get out without prosecution.” He then called for the adoption of European style hate speech laws in our country. Lautenberg didn't stop There. He went on to say regarding Tea Party folks, “That’s not what they want. They want-they want other people not to be able to have their own opinions. They Don’t deserve the freedoms that are in the Constitution! But we’ll give them to them anyway” So in Lautenberg’s judgement we may be granted some rights even though in his mind we don’t deserve them.
That’s the Frank Lautenberg we all knew in NJ politics, an unlovable, hypocritical old bully. Forget what you read in the obits, nobody in NJ misses him. Oh, and as for the Fighting Kid from Paterson, his memorial service was held in New York where his friends were.