New Jersey’s 2019 Powerlessness List

Novick

You may have noticed that this week InsiderNJ again posted their own 2019 Power List ––answering the question on everybody’s mind: 

Who are the most powerful and influential people in New Jersey politics?

And this year, it’s just in time for Thanksgiving!  I’m sure that all of those on their list will sit around with families and friends knowing that this year they have something truly special to be thankful for.

Their list identifies New Jersey’s 100 most influential people in politics––either through their personalities, their professions or their ability to Git-R-Done in Trenton.

People whose phone calls and texts get returned faster than the State Police can drag Sue Altman out of a State Senate hearing. Quicker than Trump can tweet insults to the latest Congressional impeachment witness or Christie can block the GW Bridge. Someone whose counsel people seek more than Doctor Phil’s, whose Facebook/Instagram friend you just gotta be. That special someone who Cory Booker takes a selfie with before anyone else in the room.

People who get interviewed by CNN, Fox News, TapInto, Star-Ledger and News 12 and even Steve Adubato. These are the people who award-winning New Jersey political cartoonists make sure they practice drawing juuuust right. The folks who not only have a seat at the Trenton Power Table but they own all the chairs and the table lamps.

The Ultra-Movers. Uber-Shakers. the Super-Duper Politicos. The Garden State Big Cheeses. 

Well, I’ll have none of that for my Powerlessness List.

My list identifies the most politically non-influential personalities, demographics and all-around unimportant people in the Garden State. We include anyone and everyone whose texts/phone calls not only never get returned but are blocked on every cell tower by Verizon and T-Moble from Bergen County to Cape May. Folks who are unfriended regularly on any and all social media. Those who never get invited anywhere anymore, ever. Those with whom a Facebook photo would be a death knell in any election campaign.  Folks whose mere names elicit the response of “Who?” in the halls of the State House. On my list, I don’t worry about some arbitrary number like “100”. While InsiderNJ eliminated current officeholders, former governors, former senators—we’ve eliminated no one.

If you no longer matter in New Jersey, you matter to me.

Once again, as opposed to the opinion–driven, rumor–mongering methods used by the folks at InsiderNJ for their 2019 Power List, our method was scientific, empirical, data-driven, objective, and algorithmic—and any other super-cool statistical words used by Ben Dworkin, Patrick Murray or the rad-dudes at Eagleton.

And while there are no right or wrong answers, this list does change from nano-second to nano-second—just like the flow of ‘RealPolitik’. As a matter of fact, when you started reading this column, you were on the List. But because you have taken out time to read this very important stuff, you’re now too important to be on the List. Puff, you’re gone.

We welcome your comments. Contact me at joeynovick@gmail.com.  And if you’re un-important and un-influential enough, I won’t respond to your email.

New Jersey’s 2019 Powerlessness List

Hurricane Sandy Victims in South Jersey: After more than seven years since SuperStorm Sandy hit the New Jersey Shore, there are those still waiting patiently for their share of FEMA money. Businesses have gone unbuilt, homes are still washed away. More than 800 grant recipients still have not completed construction and returned home. Supplemental funding announced last year by Gov. Phil Murphy could make a huge difference, but it has yet to be distributed.

GOP political consultants looking to work on Congressional campaigns: In the not too distant past, there were six Democrats and six Republicans representing New Jersey’s almost 9 million people in DC. But that was long ago. Today, 11 Ds and just one lonely R show up to Congress representin’ the Garden State. With Democrats now controlling the Trenton State House and Drumthwacket and very happy to be fighting amongst themselves, GOP political consultants can only get jobs working in the (gulp!) Trump Administration.

Al Gaburo, Chair of the once-powerful Somerset County Republican Committee: Way back in 2013, Somerset County produced a whopping 58,801 votes for Christie for governor – beating Democrat Barbara Buono by more than a 2-1 margin. But today, that’s dust in the wind. Over several election cycles, County Democrats under the leadership of Chair Peg Schaffer (with some help from Trump and changing demographics), now control the Freeholder Board, the Sheriff’s Office, and the County Clerk office. Next up – if Gaburo does not watch – will be the County Surrogate – if anyone can figure out what the Surrogate actually does and why we need to vote on that. 

Those in New Jersey who’ve lost any influence they once had because of technology and the internet: Politifax used to be the go-to guide for everything New Jersey political – but not even Staples sells fax paper anymore. While cab drivers/limo drivers are still waiting for passengers in airport lines, Uber drivers pick up millennials in cashless exchanges directed by GPS. Today local NJ newspaper owners are as rare as moderate Republicans, while online news sources like TapInto are available with a screen tap on your smartphone. All these used-to-be’s and has-beens are destined for the back-shelf at the Newark Museum or the Crossroads of the American Revolution trail through New Jersey. 

Marian “Skippy” Henderson, Alternate Library Board Representative for Shrewsbury Township – apparently the only Democrat in New Jersey who has never taken a selfie with Senator Cory Booker. “I just don’t like the way I look in pictures on the interwebs,” shared the 87-year-old Mrs Henderson. 

Programming Staff at NJTV: Because more than half the shows feature Steve Adubato, there is not much of a reason to schedule many other creative programs. “One on One with Steve Adubato”, “Think Tank with Steve Adubato”, and “State of Affairs with Steve Adubato” are all shows with – you guessed it – Steve Adubato. In 2020, NJTV shows planned include Dancing with Steve Adubato; the Real Housewives of Adubato, Steve Adubato’s Got Talent and Last Adubato Standing. 

Proving that not only Newark Mayors go to prison: Former The Real Housewives of New Jersey reality star Teresa Giudice went to jail for fraud for eleven months. Maybe she was influenced by the season she spent so close to Trump on the Celebrity Apprentice. Not to be outdone, former Jersey Shore reality star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino was sentenced to eight months in prison for tax evasion. But, since this is New Jersey maybe they both got to spend some facetime with their elected officials. 

Rutgers Football Team – We get it that Rutgers is now in the Big Ten with football powerhouses like Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. And after spending millions in pay to current and former coaches, they’re only 0-7. The team’s biggest accomplishment this season was beating the Las Vegas gigundous 53-point  spread in their loss to Ohio State, 56-21. Come on guys! Can’t you take a lesson from NJ pols and bribe the refs for a couple of extra close calls?” 

The Human Resources Director at the Schools Development Authority – There’s gonna have to be a strong effort to steady the Schools Development Authority reputation after the massive hiring scandal that drew negative attention and multiple investigators to its inner workings. Agency head honchos are quoted as saying they’re trying to go back to when it was a “well-oiled machine.” They’re gonna need more lubricant than use on the set of a porno flick to achieve that.

The Entire Camden County Democratic Committee – Camden County has long been a bastion of strong Democratic majorities. Along with Essex County and Hudson County, Camden can be counted on to produce huge Democratic majorities that help get elect statewide Democratic candidates. But George Norcross maintains such tight control over everything that goes on in the county, the County Democratic Committee itself does not wield much power on its own. This week Norcross gave testimony at a state Senate hearing regarding New Jersey’s controversial tax incentive program – but forgot to wear his top hat and monocle.

Owners of New Jersey diners -With so many corrupt political officials in jail,  New Jersey diners are no longer the hip place to be for FBI agents and corrupt elected officials to meet over a cup of coffee and exchange wads of cash in envelopes under tables. Now, this can be done much more easily over PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or Google Pay without having to leave your oceanfront condo in Cape May. 

Chairs of the Essex, Camden and Hudson County Republican Parties. Pathetic. Not even the Republican State Committee knows who these folks are. There’s standing room only at the courtrooms where Democratic officeholders are being arraigned, and these guys can’t even field a softball team let alone a slate of candidates. The statue of Lou Costello in Paterson wields more influence in New Jersey than this trifecta of Moe, Larry and Curley here.

But there is one person who is the least influential politico in New Jersey politics and that’s…

Me -I’m in Hunterdon County. Getting candidates elected? I can’t even predict who’s gonna win on Dancing With The Stars or Last Comic Standing. There’s an old saying in politics. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, write sarcastic blogs about those who can.

Joey Novick is a stand-up comedian with appearances in Atlantic City comedy clubs, and the Broadway Comedy Club in New York City. He’s opened in concert for Jerry Seinfeld, Robert Klein, Lewis Black and many more comediand much more famous than he is. His solo-show, “Comedian Elected to Town Council in New Jersey” was nominated for Best Comedy Performance at the Capital Fringe Festival in DC and played to packed houses three years running at the Jersey Fringe Festival.

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