The Strike Zone and the Dead Zone: Yankees Playoff Baseball Replaces Politics for Junkies in Both Parties

There’s a scene in original The Nutty Professor – and Joe Piscopo would appreciate this – in which Jersey native Jerry Lewis – sitting down in front a piano in a bar – says, “Mood is wrong. Mood is wrong. Innkeeper, got sexy lights? Lay ’em on me.”

The mood is wrong, a Democratic source – just like the late Jerry Lewis – told InsiderNJ earlier this afternoon.

He made the remark just before confessing that he hadn’t seen last night’s gubernatorial debate. Few in either party had, in fact, as InsiderNJ came off its 30th phone call with people in both parties.

“Come on, it’s the Yankees,” was the common refrain.

“Uh, I didn’t watch the debate,” a county party chair told InsiderNJ, unashamed.

We ran to that person’s counterpart, seeking a Shermanseque rejoinder.

“Uh, I didn’t say that,” said the chair on the other side of the aisle. “How was that?”

You almost expected the source – a leader in the party to say, “Good luck with that.”

All the energy coming off that Masahiro Tanaka fastball last night had political animals in both parties glued. As for Phil Murphy versus Kim Guadagno? When it came to the attentions of insiders, the pair of candidates couldn’t find the stroke zone. The reaction to the debate (by junkies!) says something about the larger political atmosphere. “It’s lethargic, dead,” a Democratic source told InsiderNJ earlier today. “I don’t think the Murphy Campaign has engendered any real passion. The only thing we have going for us is the one-two punch of Trump and Christie. The only thing we have in our favor is ‘it’s time to turn the page.’ Other than that, forget it.”

A Republican said the same thing. In a stunning display of interest, he had watched the debate, clicking over with the Yanks up over the Astros and confessing to being bored for the hour long “baseball break” as neither Murphy nor Guadagno suffered a meltdown at his or her respective podium. “It’s flat,” said the GOP source, referring to the broader mood in suburban Republican world, and deriding, the same way many Democrats are with Murphy, the Guadagno Campaign as hardly scintillating stuff.

“Nothing’s really happening,” said the Republican. “No one’s impassioned.”

The source said his only tangible sense of Murphy movement is an attempt by the Democratic candidate for governor to “run up the score in the north.”

“Otherwise it’s dead,” the source opined. “I see a 32% turnout election – obviously with big spikes in certain places. In the third [Senate President Steve Sweeney’s district], Democrats will drag everyone and his brother to the polls.

“But it will have nothing to do with governor,” the source added.

 

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