Some GOP activists who are questioning the record of the former Republican Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. are pointing out that he never voted against a single nominee appointed by ultra-liberal Governor Phil Murphy.
Kean was unusually cooperative with Murphy as well as former Senate President Steve Sweeney, who is pictured above with the son of former Governor Thomas H. Kean.
GOP conservatives are hoping for a more assertive posture from Steve Oroho, the five-term Republican from Sussex County, who was elected Senate Minority Leader to succeed Kean.
To illustrate the liberal GOP leader’s inadequacy, they compare Kean to Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the US Senate.
Critics say Kean did very little to help Republican candidates win in key battleground contests, noting that he and the statewide leadership PAC completely ignored Donald Trump enthusiast Ed Durr, who in November defeated Sweeney, the ironworker’s union executive who was the state’s longest-serving Senate president.
While McConnell has been criticized for using Senate rules like the filibuster—which requires most legislation to secure a 60-vote supermajority to advance— to impose legislative gridlock, Kean has completely avoided obstruction during his timid tenure as the top GOP lawmaker in Trenton.
Conservatives say Kean could have placed a blanket hold on all nominations of executive appointees needing Senate confirmation, use the Constitutional option to make Murphy and other Democrats more accountable.
Republicans are expected to use senatorial courtesy – the unwritten rule that no nomination can advance through the confirmation process without approval of the nominee’s home county senator – far more often after Kean departs the Senate in January.
Republican senators will be able to blackball Murphy nominees who reside in 15 of New Jersey’s 21 counties once the new legislative session begins.
“Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the US Senate, used the filibuster rule enough to be universally condemned as a tough-as-nails obstructionist when Barack Obama was president and he is doing the same thing to President Joe Biden,” said one pundit. “Instead of a tiger fighting against reckless tax-and-spend policies, Tom Kean has been a pussycat in Murphy’s lap.”
In 2009, McConnell faced a newly elected Democratic president who talked optimistically about unity and bipartisanship. Back then, in a less polarized nation, Obama was more popular than Biden is now; early in his first term, his popularity neared 70%.
McConnell was audacious but candid: He declared himself an opponent of bipartisanship.
“When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out and there’s a broad agreement,” he explained in a 2011 interview with the Atlantic. “The only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan.”
The Republican congressional candidate’s father, Thomas H. Kean, who served as governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990, and now sits on the board of directors at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a liberal Washington, DC-based think tank.
Governor Kean is also a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, a group that advocates friendly interaction between America businesses and the brutal communist regime.
Despite his father’s friendly attitude toward the communist giant, Kean is raising money off the message that: “China is the GREATEST threat to our country. Period.”
Here’s another fun fact: Kean University is the only American public university to offer a full campus in China.