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Does Obamacare cover political lobotomies? Asking for a friend.
(Evesham) — It was scandalous news when long-time GOP state legislator Dawn Addiego abandoned the Republican Party to join the South Jersey Democratic machine.
Scandalous, but definitely not surprising to anyone tracking Addiegio’s career.
I was there that day in 2010 when she became senator and even mashed up a little video about it. Although she took the oath alongside Linda Greenstein, these ladies took radically different paths to the Senate. Greenstein eked out an actual win at the polls in a competitive district previously rep’d by Bill Baroni. Addiego on the other hand was selected by just one voter: the Burlington County GOP chair Glen Paulson who singlehandedly tapped her to replace Phil Haines who became a superior court judge.
Going from 8- to 10 female members in the NJ Senate was a big deal. I consciously omitted the part about the vastly different routes they took to power and focused instead on the whole sisterhood angle. But that was a mistake. Because Dawn Addiego was never about sisterhood. She wasn’t about sisterhood when she denied lesbians the right to get married multiple times. Or when it came down to a woman’s right to an abortion. Or all the other times she served Chris Christie’s agenda for eight long years never once voting to override one of his many, many vetos.
Instead, Dawn Addiego was a consummate Christie loyalist, ever dutiful and never one to challenge Christie’s selfish impulses. He was the most unpopular governor in NJ history but Christie still had the NJGOP, Addiego included, on a very short leash. He demanded fealty and that’s precisely what he got from the whole lot of ’em.
But with Christie out of office and the NJ GOP brand in the toilet, NJ Senator Dawn Addiego found a new power structure to lean on.
“I have had the opportunity over the course of the last year to work closely with Senate President (Steve) Sweeney on the Economic and Fiscal Policy Work Group. His tireless work ethic and unparalleled success at delivering for the people of New Jersey and particularly South Jersey is to be admired,” Addiego said.
She’s clearly not referring to our property taxes when she says ‘delivering for the people.’ And secondly, a tireless work ethic? Unparalleled success? I’m not sure if that’s the most obsequious thing I’ve ever read in my life but it’s damn close. And it reflects a sort of political lobotomy that I simply can’t relate to. My values and principles are mostly immutable at this point. To me, waking up and voting republican would be like deciding I wanted to date women. I’m just not wired that way. So the idea of flipping parties via press release still blows my mind.
And I’m not the only one.
Turns out, Addiego’s former running mates didn’t even see it coming! They knew nothing of her defection until it appeared online! Can you imagine?! I’m from down south where no matter how selfish or morally depraved or ethically dubious, there’s still this thing called manners. And now everyone knows she lacks the grace and the guts to extend a courtesy ‘heads up’ to her former teammates. I’m embarrassed for her just thinking about it.
As we lay LGBT icon Babs Siperstein to rest this week, let’s reflect on the multiple times Dawn Addiego voted against Bab’s namesake law to protect transgender people. I don’t think Addiego hates gays nearly as much as her atrocious LGBT voting record would suggest. She was serving Christie, whose higher ambitions demanded unwavering loyalty. And so Addiego spent her career sending queer people to the back of the bus because some other man wanted to be president.
That’s why If she runs for reelection as a democrat in 2021, Dawn Marie Addiego, NRA all-star, will lose. So in the meantime, she’ll be goose-stepping to Sweeney’s tune. They’ll collaborate to do nothing about your property taxes. But at least Glen Paulson, Addiego’s original puppet-master, can keep his gravy train going in BurlCo, a county increasingly dominated by (real) democrats.
The NJ Senate is only 25% female – 10 of 40 seats – the same ratio as when Addiego and Greenstein took their oath 98 months ago. I’m still ready to elect more women. And if we can’t elect better women can we at least elect women who serve better people?
Jay Lassiter is a longtime political activist from Cherry Hill. He still can’t even.