The Skylands Tea Party claims that it can't help embattled conservative Republican Congressman Scott Garrett, because "under the terms of our reorganization, Skylands Tea Party will no longer be endorsing candidates."
That is b.s. because the Skylands Tea Party is within its legal rights to put together an educational voters guide comparing conservative Republican Garrett with his liberal Democrat opponent, Josh Gottheimer. Gottheimer, who worked for the Clinton White House and is an intimate of the Clinton organization, is ahead in some recent polls.
The situation couldn't be more serious because Clinton apparatchik Gottheimer is trying to pass himself off as a "fiscally conservative" Democrat -- and it is working. Last week, Gottheimer picked up the endorsement of Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway, a Republican who runs Sussex County's largest municipality.
The Skylands Tea Party claims to be conservative -- and yet, while the most conservative Congressman to represent New Jersey in decades is fighting for his political life, what are they doing about it? Are they organizing a door-to-door voter education drive to educate voters about the true nature of Gottheimer's candidacy? No, instead they are holding a rally so they can spread a lie.
Yesterday the Skylands Tea Party sent out an email that asked people to come to a rally this Saturday to protest the recent tax restructuring program that cut five taxes (including the elimination of the estate tax and the tax on retirement income for most seniors) while increasing the tax on gasoline and diesel. In an apparent effort to boost turnout, the Skylands Tea Party email contains this lie:
"But don't be fooled, the gas tax will be on all petroleum products - not just gasoline!"
This piece of nonsense is the personal hobby-horse of Assemblyperson Gail Phoebus who has misinterpreted the legislation in Trenton and who has been corrected again and again by Republican caucus members and staff. Just how Phoebus' misreading of the legislation ended up on a Skylands Tea Party mailing is open to conjecture, what isn't is that it is FALSE.
Instead of using the principled reasoning of America's founders, the Skylands Tea Party is resorting to the BIG LIE approach of the 1930's. They are trying to frighten people with the lie that the tax will be applied to "all petroleum products", including home heating oil. And what makes matters worse is that they urge Tea Party members to bring their children to hear the lie so that they can become unwitting messengers of the lie.
To make people afraid using a lie for a political end is reprehensible. To explicitly involve innocent children in the furtherance of a gross lie is a form of child abuse. A child's integrity should come before the political expedience of a group like the Skylands Tea Party.
Assemblyperson Phoebus, who plans to speak on Saturday, should take the opportunity to set the record straight. We expect the truth, not rumors, from our elected officials.