Memo to Tom Kean, Jr: Invite Liz Cheney, Not Kevin McCarthy, as the Special Guest to your Campaign Kickoff 

Tom Kean

Dear Tom, 

I will be endorsing you for election in 2022 to the US House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District, just as I did in 2020, against the incumbent Democratic Congressman, Tom Malinowski.   I would note that since the hostile takeover of the GOP by the neofascist forces of Donald Trump in 2016, you and Congressman Chris Smith are the only New Jersey Republicans I have endorsed for Federal office. 

You are worthy of my support.  You have been an outstanding leader of the New Jersey State Senate Republican Minority, and your ethics and competency are unimpeachable. 

Yet there is an even deeper reason for my continued support of you.  

As a third generation American Jew, I can say unequivocally and without hyperbole that your grandfather, Congressman Robert Winthrop Kean, was the best friend that the American Jewish community has ever had in the United States Congress. 

Bob Kean was an outspoken advocate for the rescue and immigration into America of European Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.  He courageously undertook such advocacy against the antisemitic opposition of Roosevelt administration Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long.  Thanks to the unceasing efforts of Bob Kean, the Roosevelt administration was forced to relent and form the War Refugee Board to facilitate the immigration of European Jewish refugees.  After the war, Bob Kean became a leading voice in the House of Representatives for the creation of the State of Israel. 

His son, your father, Tom Kean, the greatest New Jersey 20th Century governor, admirably carried on this tradition.  During his administration, by executive order, he created both the New Jersey Israel Commission and the Holocaust Education Commission.  I had the honor to work with the latter commission in crafting the legislation that mandated the teaching of the Holocaust in New Jersey’s public schools. 

I had a deeper experience with Tom Kean, however that bound me forever to him.  He may not remember it, but I will never forget it.   

It happened on the first New Jersey Holocaust Education Mission to Poland and Israel during the summer of 1995, on which both your father and I were participants. 

We visited Auschwitz, the extermination camp where three million Jews were murdered.  There is a location at the camp called the White Pond, where the ashes of 750,000 Jews were dumped.  The leaders of the mission asked me to recite the “Kel Mole Rachamim” prayer, the Jewish memorial prayer for the deceased. 

I have led numerous Jewish prayer services during my 71 years of life, but none was as difficult as that.  Most of my paternal extended family who remained in the Polish towns of Pultusk and Rozan had been murdered in the Holocaust, and they were very much in my mind at that moment.  Reciting that prayer left me in a totally distraught state.  I walked away to the bus with overwhelming emotional pain. 

Walking right behind me was your father, Tom Kean.  He came over to me and complimented me for the feeling I showed as I recited the prayer.  We then discussed the Holocaust and whether it would ever be possible for Nazism to come to power in America. 

Your father, Tom Kean, literally felt my pain.  I will never forget that.  

And I know, Tom, Jr., that you feel the same depth of commitment as your father and grandfather to Holocaust education and the survival and security of the State of Israel. 

What a difference there is between Bob Kean, Tom Kean, and Tom Kean, Jr from Donald Trump!  You know, Donald Trump, who told his former chief of staff, General John Kelly, “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.” 

And in a nutshell, that is what makes it so inappropriate and politically self-destructive that you have invited House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy as your special guest for your campaign kickoff.  Last year, you lost to Malinowski due to your being branded by his campaign as a Trump loyalist, in spite of the fact that you had no record whatsoever of any association with him.  By inviting as your special guest Trump’s leading enabler, Kevin McCarthy, you are making it much easier for Malinowski to unfairly tag you as a Trumpist again. 

As Trump’s weak Vidkin Quisling, Kevin McCarthy has earned an ignominious place in American history by his efforts to obstruct any bipartisan investigation into the events of the January 6 insurrection against the United States government, incited and inspired by Donald Trump.   

Trump’s action constituted the worst abuse of power and act of traitorous behavior ever committed by any American president.  McCarthy’s entire focus has been to shield Trump from any accountability for his egregious breach of his presidential oath of office and betrayal of his nation. 

Just as Henry Clay is remembered in history as The Great Compromiser, Kevin McCarthy will forevermore be remembered as The Great Obstructionist.  He echoed Trump’s Big Lie that the Donald was fraudulently cheated out of an election victory.  McCarthy then went on to vote against the creation of an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection.  And he supported removing Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from House leadership due to her vote to impeach Trump and her rebuttal of his false stolen election claims. 

McCarthy’s despicably perverse leadership is also distinguished by his efforts to protect the vile, lowlife, profoundly evil, racist, fascist, antisemitic QAnon acolyte Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene while attempting to destroy America’s leading Republican heroine, Liz Cheney.   It is no wonder that he is even more toxic politically in New Jersey than Donald Trump himself. 

Tom Malinowski has two of the nation’s most highly skilled political media people in Brad Lawrence and Steve DeMicco.  You can be rest assured that they will run commercials linking Kevin McCarthy and you.  The commercials will end with segments from the following New York Times film of scenes from the insurrection: 

I suspect that you have made the decision to invite McCarthy on the advice of your top advisors.  I also suspect that some of these advisors may be on the payroll of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).  If so, these advisors have a serious conflict of interest.  They are being paid to protect the interests of Donald Trump and not you.  You should remove them from your campaign immediately. 

As long as you are linked with Kevin McCarthy, you are a certain loser.  He is a cancer on your campaign, but there is one dramatic action you can take to remove the cancer.  You can disinvite Kevin McCarthy and invite as your special guest for the campaign kickoff, Liz Cheney. 

I have had my difference with Liz Cheney on environmental issues.  She is, however, an admirable smaller, smarter government classical conservative, as distinguished from Kevin McCarthy.   And she has now earned a place in American history as a major profile in courage. 

You will become an instant national hero if you substitute Liz Cheney for the infamous Kevin McCarthy as your campaign kickoff special guest.  

Yes, you will lose the votes of MAGA-types in your district.  Yet you will more than make up for this by the thousands of Democrats and Independents who will cross over to vote for you. 

You will also lose the large funding from the NRCC.  You will be able to make up for this in large part by anti-Trump fundraising sources.  Certainly, you will have sufficient funds to get your message out – and your new, anti-Trumpist message will be much more compelling than anything Tom Malinowski can develop. 

In short, it will be tough, but you will win by jettisoning McCarthy and the Trump enablers from your campaign.  You will become a national leader in the battle to rescue the Republican Party from the neofascist Trumpism that now controls it. 

There is one other thing regarding the legacy of Bob Kean that you will be able to accomplish.  In addition to removing the stench of Trumpism, you can help restore the glory of the Eisenhower legacy that has been eliminated from the contemporary Republicanism.   

Your grandfather, Bob Kean was a staunch backer of Ike.  Last month, the C-Span survey of historians again ranked Ike as our fifth greatest president. 

This rating is richly deserved.  Ike’s accomplishments were towering and historic, including 1) his negotiated ending of the Korean War in 1953; 2) his refusal to intervene in the French colonial war in Vietnam in 1954; 3) his enactment in 1956 of the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act.  which created our present Interstate Highways System, which made possible the growth and flourishing of American suburbia; 4) his enforcement of desegregation of schools in Little Rock in 1957; 5) his enactment of the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction in 1957 and 1960; and 6) his farewell speech, in which he warned of the “military-industrial complex”. 

Ike was both a great president and supreme war hero.  I am an Eisenhower Republican, one of the few left in our country.  Because of that, there is no place in today’s Republican Party for me.  And nor do I want one, for a Jew proud of his heritage can never be comfortable in a neofascist party. 

Dwight David Eisenhower could never be nominated for president by today’s Republican Party.  Neither could another great Republican President, Ronald Reagan, who ranked ninth in the C-Span survey. 

Instead, today’s neofascist Republican Party prefers to the physically fit and heroic Ike and Reagan a fat, gluttonous, orange haired Donald Trump, a corrupt, crooked business fraud and failure, a bigoted, racist low-life, an ignoramus of history, and a cheap and ugly Sonny Liston-like political thug. 

My friend, Tom Kean, Jr., the Republican Party is your historic birthright. Bob Kean was close with Ike, and your father was close with Ronald Reagan.  This is a legacy of greatness, and you can now add to it.  If you join forces with Liz Cheney and reject the political toxicity of Kevin McCarthy, you will gain a place in history in the struggle of the Republican Party to regain its soul.   

Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. 

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