LAFAYETTE – One of the signs on the wall of the local firehouse said “Trump is our rightful president.”
Another condemned the grooming of children.
This was a regular meeting of the Skylands Tea Party, so Bill Spadea was right at home.
The radio host and likely 2025 gubernatorial candidate didn’t disappoint, imploring a supportive audience to join him in fighting “woke” culture and the “elites.”
Referencing his morning radio show and his stops around the state, Spadea cheered the crowd with this pronouncement:
“There are more of us than there are of them.”
Let’s break that down.
The “us” were the “patriots” in the room, those who proclaim support and love for such American traditions as hard work, family and faith.
But the “them.”
They’re just about everyone else – the corporate elites, the media elites, Democrats (of course) and let’s not forget, the RINOs.
Republicans, in fact, are often condemned by Spadea and the Tea Party for being weak and too quick to compromise.
Jack Ciattarelli by all objective accounts ran a good campaign for governor in 2021, losing in a very “blue” state by just 3 points or so.
Spadea was not impressed. He doesn’t consider the margin close and added that if Ciattarelli won, he would have made things worse. Just like he said Chris Christie did.
And don’t even mention Christie Whitman.
In fact, when Spadea did, the crowd groaned, which is something he says happens every time he says Whitman’s name.
Rhetoric has its place, but so do facts.
We are going back a number of years, but let’s not forget that both Whitman and Christie were elected twice as governor.
Those on the Republican right in New Jersey – think recently of the likes of Steve Lonegan, Phil Rizzo and Hirsh Singh – have been elected statewide to nothing.
Expect Spadea to be undaunted and to push ahead.
He railed against Democrats for creating a society in which police are the “enemy” and where the teachers’ union is out of control.
And then there was COVID. Spadea ridiculed the lockdown, the vaccine and admonitions to stand six feet apart from each other.
In truth, a full accounting of the state’s pandemic response has yet to be written. But from a purely political point of view, it’s hard to see the lockdown being any type of issue in 2025.
It was an issue in 2021 when Phil Murphy won reelection. Not surprisingly, Spadea faults the state’s Republican establishment for failing to use the lockdown to mount a winning campaign against the governor.
“We were betrayed in that election,” he said.
Then again, maybe a majority of voters supported how Murphy handled COVID.
Now we come to schools, which for conservatives is the issue of the day.
Spadea said the teachers’ union is recommending such books as “This Book is Gay” and “Gender Queer” as summer reading.
To him and like-minded souls, this is not merely a case of urging kids to read books some may see as “inappropriate.”
It’s more sinister than that.
It’s a sign the education elites “are coming at you as moms and dads.” He added that they want to “get in between you and your children.”
This is a constant theme – the notion that schools, and by extension the government, have some diabolical campaign to take control of kids’ lives. Or worse yet, “groom them.”
This suggests that this year’s school board elections around the state may be quite riveting. In fact, Spadea and other speakers, including Josh Aikens, who just lost an Assembly primary in LD-24, urged so-inclined conservatives to consider running for their local boards. The filing deadline is the end of July.
Near the end of his address, a woman in the audience brought up the possibility of Spadea for governor.
The radio host was coy, saying only, “The thought has crossed my mind.”