By Matt Rooney (reprinted with permission)
The verdict is in: this past Saturday’s NJGOP event in Atlantic City was worth it, Save Jerseyans.
It was very well-attended, too! Especially for a first try.
No, this wasn’t one of those pep rally by day, booze fest by nights social confabs with which we’re all familiar. Frank discussions over coffee, solid panels featuring people who’ve actually won things (including one on media and messaging featuring your favorite conservative blogger, and we didn’t pull any punches believe me!), intimate access to the people with titles who need to hear from YOU… all-around good stuff.
My panel’s big takeaway? Not just the mechanical changes required to advance the GOP’s message (particularly online), but also the NEED for an actual message! Something which found broad agreement from a packed room that shares this audience’s general frustration with the direction of things up until this point.
I found it… refreshing? As did most of the attendees who came from all 21 counties and ranged in political experience from veteran local officials to relatively novice conservative activists.
For those who skipped simply because they prejudged everything and didn’t think it was worth it?
Okay. I get it. The weather was nice
That and yes, the state party hasn’t had a more outspoken *constructive* critic in recent years than me. Likewise, I’ve seen many of those who were absent from Saturday’s summit at Harrah’s Resort complain before about the lack of party-building in our state (with good reason). Here’s what I’ll say: newly-minted NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt is the first guy with a title — in a long time — to actually try to change things for the better on a state-wide scale.
He’s been tough, active, and willing to talk to just about anyone who’s interested in joining the resistance to Phil Murphy’s hard-left turn for New Jersey government. His new team includes some people who have spent MOST of their operative careers OUTSIDE of Trenton and in the trenches.
From my point of view? After years of the NJGOP serving one man’s interests, Steinhardt, unencumbered by the double-edged sword that is a “friendly” governor, is interested in taking his organization in a different, broader direction.
Let’s keep our eyes wide open at all times, absolutely (Christie cured me of bandwagonism), but let’s also resolve NOT to be hypocrites.
I encourage you to consider giving Steinhardt, and his new NJGOP, a real chance in the coming months or you’re going to forfeit your right to complain!
I will as ever be there to remind you.