Tales from the #ChamberTrain
BY JAY LASSITER
This is the most crowded train I’ve ever been on. There’s no shortage of liquor options. And it’s really hard to hear.
So to review: loud, crowded, tipsy. What could possibly go wrong?
There was plenty of on-board chatter about Bob Menendez’s future and a possible re-election showdown with GOP Congressman Tom MacArthur. TMac, who’s both rich and popular would present an interesting challenge to an ethically-addled incumbent. But still, it it won’t be easy to dislodge a scrapper like Bob Menendez from his Senate perch. And either way, November 2018 is a long way off, especially in today’s Trumptastic climate. But still, the mere prospect of this juicy matchup was like catnip to several NJ political junkies on this train.
We encountered NJ Senator Raymond Lesniak early in the journey.
Me: having fun Senator Lesmiak?
Lesniak: actually yes! It’s my first time in 15 years on this train. It’s not quite the drinking party it used to be. It’s very cordial atmosphere and I’m getting lots of encouragement (regarding a long-shot run for governor.)
Lesniak commented on the phalanx of Phil Murphy staffers who greeting travelers at every turn.
“When I passed, I asked if they’re making $15/hour,” Lesniak told InsiderNJ.
Their silent reaction suggested lowly Murphy staffers are making BurgerKing money.
But Murphy’s highly paid entourage was there in force as well. No less than a dozen (probably closer to 20!) staffers are on hand to spread Murphy’s Goldman Sach-scented brand of progressivism.
At $700 a pop no less.
Cardinal Tobin, new leader of Newark’s archdiocese is on board. I noticed him doing press interviews just as I ran into my friend Christine from Planned Parenthood. I did tell you this train is crowded right?
“It’s important to be on hand to have a seat at the table when discussions about women’s health occur,” Christine Sadovy told InsiderNJ. “It’s important to interact with legislators to build relationships so they’re aware of our issues and they champion them.”
I’m sure the new Cardinal would say the exact same things only for very different reasons.
By the time Amtrak #ChamberTrain pulled into DC’s Union Station, there were so many people who were so drunk and so loud on this train I was tempted to jump out of the emergency exit.
Thankfully better judgment prevailed and now here I am in the backseat of a cab dutifully filing my column and eagerly awaiting tonight’s next adventure.
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Maybe the schmooze cruise is not the drunken mess it once was, but it is clearly not an appropriate setting for policy making. Keeping the sins quiet is not the same as doing what is right.