Menendez confronts cowardly Republican -- Republican flees

I think we all learned back in grade school that, if you just confront schoolyard bullies directly, they will back down the vast majority of the time.

Scott Shields checks in with a delightful story of such an incident in the New Jersey Senate race that almost brought tears of joy to my eyes -- as it does every time a Democrat stands up and lets the right-wing smear machine know that there's a toll to pay every time they launch one of their attacks.

In his post Kean, Jr. Runs Away (Literally) From The Fight, Scott fills us in on a bizarre tale of Thomas Kean Jr., the Republican opponent of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) behaving like your typical, cowardly, bully and backing down big time when confronted directly by Menendez about the latest round of smears lobbed his way by Team Kean.

Specifically, the New Jersey Democrat was upset about, among other things, Kean's refusal to denounce the following Ann Coulter-like statement by Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson:

"If Bob Menendez had his way, Zarqawi would still be leading a campaign of car bombings, assassinations, suicide attacks, kidnapping and beheadings in order to make Iraq a safe haven from which al Qaeda could continue its war against freedom and the American way of life. If Bob Menendez had his way, Mr. Zarqawi would be alive and plotting the next attack on America, Great Britain, Canada or who knows where."
Here's the weird part: At an event in Atlantic City yesterday in which both men were to appear on the same stage, Kean, according to the Bergen Record, refused to take the stage with Menendez when it became obvious that Menendez was calling him face-to-face on the attacks.

"During the last several weeks, I have stood by silently while my opponent and his team have done nothing but deliver malicious, insidious personal attacks on me," Menendez told the audience. "Well, I wish he was here, but I'll tell you, Tom, I have no intention of standing by silently any longer."

"My record is clear, and I will not stand by another minute and let my opponent malign me or my service to the people I have represented throughout my career. Tom, you may be playing with George Bush’s campaign playbook, but you’re on the field with a different kind of Democrat."

Meanwhile, Kean remained out of the room, took the stage just long enough to give a standard stump speech and then fled the scene as reporters chased him around the hotel.

But this is Scott's story -- please go here to read the rest.

And bravo, Senator Menendez!

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