Commentary: Morris Township official reflects on ‘vitriol of the left’

Morris Township Committeeman Dan Caffrey
Morris Township Committeeman Dan Caffrey

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.

A Reflection: Political Vitriol finds its way to Morris Township

By Dan Caffrey, Morris Township Committee

The vitriol on the left since the November Election has been stunning. The name calling, personal attacks, and violence have disgusted many, except for those on the progressive left, who feel they haven’t yet gone far enough!

The double standard exhibited by the media, Hollywood, and the left has now come into full focus and simply cannot be denied.

Morris Township Committeeman Dan Caffrey
Morris Township Committeeman Dan Caffrey

I have often disagreed politically with friends, and constituents but have welcomed a professional honest debate. In the end, whatever the outcome, it becomes time to move on and “work with” the victorious candidate or party…..of course until now.

I don’t think it’s any secret that I did not, nor the overwhelming majority of the right, support the policies of President Obama. After 2008, and 2012 election we lost and it became time to move on and voice our opinions in professional debates on chamber floors.

There was no name calling…no protests…no violence…no starting of fires or smashing storefront windows. No likening our next President to the evils of Nazism.

Could you imagine the liberal media and the snowflakes on the left if there was…they certainly wouldn’t be applauding, as they’re currently doing.

There now are generations of millennials, and adults, who feel everyone should win…you know the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. The left feels left out …they didn’t get a trophy in November…losing seats in the House, Senate, and of course the White House.

So hence, they now feel it is time to attack …with name calling and violence because they don’t agree with the new policies. And instead of dealing with it professionally, they feel their current actions are more than justified.

This name-calling was not left on the steps in Washington DC. Unfortunately it has made its way to Morris Township, and as I say that …it is truly unfortunate and sad.

The Chairwoman of the Morris Township Democratic Committee has disagreed with me on my thoughts of what Township Residents are truly looking for from their community, and elected officials.

For the record, it is a fair disagreement, and I have voiced my side, recalling the thousands of conversations I’ve had with residents over the nine years in office.

It is all about community, safety, and being a hawk on keeping taxes low, certainly not what Ms. Wilson claims people are interested in.

Ms. Wilson has repeatedly asked this committee to “take our eye off the ball” on working on the important issues, and focus on ones that the majority of residents are not interested in, and will raise taxes.

Well…that wasn’t good enough…it now came time to personally attack me with name calling…because she didn’t get a trophy!!!

Ms. Wilson, who videotapes our meetings, and has stated publicly that they would be posted in their entirety, and without political comment…unfortunately has gone back on her word.

She posted my public comments from December on YouTube when I spoke about what folks are really looking for…she titled the piece on YouTube as  “Dastardly Dan’s Comments.”

The unprofessional and childish nature of it…I must admit truly makes me question motivation and intent. If I had displayed to that level of unprincipled behavior and coined her with a disparaging name, believe me she would have filed an ethics complaint against me inside of 24 hours…which by the way she did, to one of my colleagues on the committee when she didn’t agree with him.

That complaint, by the way, was immediately dismissed without merit. In yet another example of far left vitriol, Ms. Wilson emailed her constituents, and asked them to attend the Planning Board meeting, and be an obstructionist over an issue…. that once again…… didn’t go her way….once again, no trophy.

It is now time for the left nationally, and here in Morris Township, to realize that the brilliance of our democracy…THE PEOPLE…did not elect them…and it is now time…if you disagree, to engage in PROFESSIONAL conversation.

That’s right…no name calling…no expressing publicly that my ideas are “beneath the office that I hold.” Keep this in mind…. you may not get a trophy….but then again, that’s what elections are for.

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  1. A well written articulation of all things the conservative experiences upon victory. The tantrums, undermining, personal attacks and loud mouthed deflections of the liberal mentality have garnered too much attention. These individuals need to be sent to principle office and shut down so to speak. Turning every situation into some racially challenged, unfair, inequitable positioned debate is a waste of time. We need more Caffrey’s to retain the silhouette of what makes this town and similar ones with such appeal. Liberal mentality is the destruction of desireable in all areas. I notice the liberal towns have poor real estate value, undesireable schools, higher crime rates, etc. Stop trying to breakdown the conservative structure.. GO to the towns OR countries that lack those high standards amd ENJOY. we dont want anything goes type of area nor the nonsense associated to it. move on. and take your trophies for losing and your loud voices elsewhere. See how it nets out.

  2. Mr. Caffery, I am currently taking a class in which I was tasked with finding an opinion piece/letter to the editor and evaluate its efficacy. Thank you for making this such an easy assignment. Here it is, if you care to read it:
    This rant of Mr. Caffery’s opens with the propensity of snowflakes on The Left towards name calling, personal attacks, and violence. Nationally he cites the liberal media’s conflation of President Trump with “Nazims” (sic) and “starting fires” and “smashing storefronts,” though he does not give specific evidence of these things occurring. Mr. Caffery’s inflammatory language is an example of dog-whistle politics designed to rile up conservative constituents.

    In another unsubstantiated claim, Mr. Caffery states that The Left not only thinks name calling, personal attacks, and violence are “good,” but that they “haven’t gone far enough.” There is no evidence that the majority of Americans who identify as politically left-leaning have praised or called for more name calling, personal attacks, or violence. In contrast, Mr. Caffery assumes that The Right handled their losses in 2008 & 2012 in a more respectful or grown-up way by “moving on” and engaging in “professional debates on chamber floors.” In fact, it has been widely reported that many current liberal resistance tactics have been reappropriated from the Tea Party tactics following the election of President Obama, though Mr. Caffery might dismiss those reports as “liberal media” propaganda.

    It is especially annoying that Mr. Caffery condemns the actions of Ms. Wilson in the same breath he calls The Left “snowflakes” and Millennials “who feel everyone should get a trophy.” In doing so, Mr. Caffery can hardly be seen as the champion of “PROFESSIONAL conversation” or debate. Mr. Caffery’s unsubstantiated rhetoric comes across as hypocritical and incendiary to the independent voters, moderate republicans, and democrats that make up the majority of his base.

    In his letter Mr. Caffery claims that town council meetings, and government in general, are the place for professional debate. However, he states that those who disagree should not state that his “ideas are ‘beneath the office that I hold.’” This implies that dissenters are out of bounds for questioning his opinions and that elections are a zero sum, winner-takes-all game. After watching the video in question, Mr. Caffery repeatedly refers to citizens bringing up any town issues not related to taxes as “just noise,” just as the description of the video states. It is surprising that Mr. Caffery categorizes that (and the singular reference to the unbecoming and admittedly unprofessional nickname “Dastardly Dan”) as vitriol. Even more surprising, Mr. Caffery describes another incident in which “Ms. Wilson emailed her constituents, and asked them to attend the Planning Board meeting, and be an obstructionist over an issue.” It is unclear how attending meetings and opposing issues is being “an obstructionist.” How else could constituents engage in the professional debate Mr. Caffery espouses?

    From his letter, it is clear that Mr. Caffery has no interest in PROFESSIONAL conversations with those who disagree and is more than happy to engage in the mud-slinging and name calling he berates.

  3. Reading these comments, It is clear that the Democrats hated the way Obama was treated by some Republicans. They hated the names he was called and the threats he purportedly faced. So, now, it’s the Democrats who rant, rave, name call, threaten, riot and protest Trump, anyone who supports Trump, and Republicans in general. Where does it end- when we start killing each other?

  4. You claimed to never stoop to name-calling, then almost immediately–in the very next paragraph–you referred to “the snowflakes on the left.”

  5. JJ – so brave to not sign your post. A few questions for you, perhaps you’re on the council?

    Why should I believe anything you have to say about Ms. Wilson or other members of the public? Sounds like hearsay to me. It also sounds like a rehashing of Mr. Caffrey’s rant. Why are the MT Repubs so upset by people attending meetings? Is it just arrogance that anyone dare question the council on anything? Is it a wish that no one would show so you could more easily please any future traffic-clogging developments in the ex-Honeywell/Colgate properties? Is it a guilty conscience?

    Also your brag about “efficiency” is not really reflected in the taxes I see. Sure, a bit lower than Morristown proper, but still wildly out of line with the rest of the country. You’ve set a very low bar. And the boast about being safe, well, that’s kind of like bragging that Harding is safe. Small town, large, (overly large?) police force. The township brings in over $22M, has over 170 employees. This is for a 15 square mile township. That’s an average of almost $80K per employee (and how many have those sweetheart pensions that ‘normal’ working people lack?). And with all those employees, not even one can figure out how to not have a PDF come out sideways:

    Efficiency would be rolling the township into Morristown to get some economy of scale. The truth is these, small, petty people like their little fiefdoms, they like playing politics, they like bullying, they like thinking that their little piece of the government pie is as important as Trenton (they aren’t by a long shot). I bet no one on the council would ever entertain the concept of shrinking the government by combining with adjacent municipalities. Why, JJ?

  6. Great job igniting controversy where none was needed. As an obvious Trump supporter, what you have managed to do is bring people together with your false tales of republican woe during the Obama years. Its wonderful to see so many posts and actual references counteracting the crap you just espoused. In 2012, Mitch McConnell said he was determined to make Obama a one term president…. That’s his mission as a senate minority leader?? That’s despicable. There aren’t other things he could have be focusing on to better our great nation. At least with that president we weren’t concerned with Russian ties, or blatant discrimination! What did Obama do? Try to give every American healthcare!! Whaaaa, your right what an awful human being. PS Don’t come to Jamfest anymore, bunch of snowflakes host that party.

  7. This entire argument is absurd. First off, Morris Township is one of the most efficiently run municipalities in the state, with excellent services and very reasonable taxes. Yes, the Morris Township committee has been led by a Republican majority for decades, but at the municipal level, who cares? It would be nice to have some other representation on the committee, meaning Democrats, but if they were there to serve, not to obstruct. The local Morris Township Denocrats want to be on the committee solely for the sake of being “not Republican” and have served no purpose other than injecting drama and spite into an otherwise productive municipal government process. If you disagree with me, then you have never been to a committee meeting to watch their antics or you are conveniently blind to it. For several years, we had a Democrat candidate who sat in the audience whispering and stirring the pot, who once elected sat on the dais as a committee member and was consistently and embarrassingly unprepared at every meeting. Then came Ms. Wilson who looms in the audience whispering and gossiping, sucking up to anyone new who appears, trying to dig up dirt or drama. It is really a tired old game, seeking nothing more than to obstruct and embarrass a successful town government. I suggest all of you take your partisan griping somewhere else and leave it out of Morris Township, a well run municipality that I am blessed to live in.

  8. It’s sort of bizarre that in the context of a piece calling for no name calling, he name-calls people on the left snowflakes. Seems hypocritical.
    He can see other people’s name calling but not his own. Alternative reality.

  9. I just looked up the YouTube video to which Mr. Caffrey refers. In addition to giving him a nickname, the opening comments read ,”…since noone is watching anyway…”. Rest assured, as I have learned the hard way that politics “trickle up” from the local level, I will pay more attention to council proceedings going forward. Thank you, Mr. Caffrey, for bringing this wonderful resource to my attention.

  10. Mr. Caffrey:
    This letter, which reveals your thinly veiled authoritarian leadership style, is just an excuse to attack Cathy Wilson. Obviously her years of working to make Morris Township government more transparent have rankled you considerably. Cathy has spent numerous hours on making videos of Morris Township Committee meetings available to the residents and deserves praise for all her efforts.

    Shame on you, Mr. Caffrey. Morris Township deserves better. Hopefully, the electorate will see the light the next time you run for office.

  11. Dear Committeeman Caffrey:

    I read your column in the Morristown Green today with great interest. You cite the vitriol on the left apparently unaware of the birther movement headed by Donald Trump and his statements that he “had heard” that Barak Obama was born in Kenya.

    You reference personal attacks that have disgusted many. Well, we DO have a First Amendment and to my recollection these attacks were no worse than was launched at the 44th President.

    I DO recollect statements by Mitch McConnell to the effect that his number one priority in 2008 was to assure that Barak Obama was a one-term President. Not health care; not immigration policy.

    Yes, there are people on the left who go too far. However, there are crazies on both sides and to lump all people left of center in with the crazies is tantamount to saying that all gun owners should be lumped in with serial killers. (I believe in neither.)

    I DO deny that there is a double standard. I notice that you make reference to same without example. Don’t you think that the charge of a double standard without examples is rather empty?

    I welcome any opportunity to discuss matters with people who disagree with me. Hey, I might learn something. However, when a person in your position stoops to hanging the moniker “snowflakes”… Oh, you DID refer in the previous paragraph that there was no name calling. Oops.

    Yes, there are individuals who subscribe to the “everybody gets a trophy” mentality but it is unfair to apply that stance to all people left of center. If this is not name calling it is getting close.

    Frankly, I have few beefs with the Morris Township Committee. Generally I think you and your colleagues are doing a respectable job.

    I understand that you have a disagreement with Ms. Wilson on an issue of which I will confess to being unaware. There is a charge of “name calling”. Then I read that what you find offensive is that she published YOUR public comments. If you made the comments, how does this constitute “name calling”?

    I then see “unprofessional and childish nature”, “unprincipled behavior”, “far left vitriol” and “obstructionist”, all your terms.

    I admit that I was not at these meetings but I DO observe that your posting to the Morristown Green appears that you are talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Again, I welcome an opportunity to discuss the matter in a “PROFESSIONAL conversation.” A cup of coffee or a beer at the Dublin Pub or any other venue of your choosing. You can be sure that I, at least, will not engage in name calling.

    Francis P. Alai

  12. If I lived in your district, I’d support the efforts of your critics. Cudos to the many comments above. You’re going down.

  13. I finally got around to watching both videos. First there’s the public comment portion:

    There you see a number of people get up and ask questions about the two large development projects that seem to be in progress (the old Honeywell site and another I’m not at all familiar with, the Colgate-Palmolive site). The questions seem quite reasonable – I’d want to be notified of demolition activities near my home, and if the developers are looking for zoning exemptions/variances/??? why is that a secret meeting? Why not have it in public if as Mr. Caffrey states in the other video, no one is paying attention to the council meetings? You know a good way to make people think your making some kind of shady deal? Make the discussions and the deal private and deny the public access.

    So basically, for 21 minutes, poor Mr. Caffrey had to listen to constituents ask pretty basic questions. And even in such a small town, there seems to be a bizarre acrimony towards someone who ran against these people – for example, Ms. Wilson had to bow and scrape for the favor of having agenda notes that used street addresses (easy to figure out) rather than block and lot numbers. Sounds like the council has a bit of a passive-aggressive stance towards anyone that dare question them.

    Then after everyone has asked there questions, we have this rambling “speech” from Mr. Caffrey:

    I think perhaps this is the first offense, not calling him “Dastardly Dan” in the title of a video (yes, this entire rant we’re all commenting on was sparked by *the name of youtube video seen by less than 100 people*), was calling public comment noise. No, it’s not noise. Seriously, it’s not even partisan, it’s people asking about a major project where some parts of it are for unknown reasons being discussed in closed session.

    I’m glad Mr. Caffrey wrote this though, I knew nothing about him before, had no opinion, suspected he was just your average mild-mannered Republican. Now I feel much differently. So much entitlement in NJ politics. And hypocrisy. Think about how small Morris Township is. Think about how many tax dollars are wasted on Morris Township police, fire, courts, health department, etc. Just roll it into Morristown proper and see your costs to run the same area of land cut by at least half. Now that’s small government we can all get behind… But people like Mr. Caffrey like their little fiefdoms.