Bader Qarmout, immigrant from Jordan, resident of Sparta, NJ, and CNAV contributor, announced yesterday his run for the New Jersey Republican Senate nomination. New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the United States Senate since 1972 (Clifford Case). Bader Qarmout is confident that he will break that long losing streak.
Bader Qarmout speaks
Bader Qarmout, candidate for the US Senate from NJ, meets and greets well-wishers at the home of Nick Lally in Green Township, NJ. Photo: CNAV.
Bader Qarmout announced his run at Homer’s Restaurant, 18 Sparta Ave., Sparta, NJ.
I want to give my children the country my parents gave me.
Bader Qarmout, in saying this, refers directly to his parents’ decision to emigrate to America from Jordan, with their nine children in tow. In contrast, he told the assembled onlookers that Robert Menendez, the Democratic incumbent,
wants to turn America into the country his parents left.
He spared no criticism, either, for his most formidable Republican primary opponent, State Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-14-Monmouth). Of him, he said:
Senator Kyrillos is an entrenched, career, establishment politician. Senator Kyrillos, as a 20 year politician, has been a part of New Jersey’s problem, and cannot possibly be part of Washington’s solution.
Bader Qarmout knows that his campaign will be difficult. Indeed his campaign staff seem to think that getting the nomination might be more difficult than winning the election. Joe Kyrillos has many close personal and professional ties to Governor Chris Christie, and thus far has the support of nearly every Regular Republican Organization chairman. Kyrillos also has funds, of which Bader Qarmout has little. For that reason he stressed, in his announcement speech, that his will be a grass-roots campaign. He will spend his time meeting and greeting people in their homes, rather than buying expensive TV and radio spots in the New York and Philadelphia markets.
Bader Qarmout came to America shortly after the Yom Kippur War of 1973. CNAV spoke to him at a meet-and-greet party on Saturday, February 18, at the home of Nick and Theresa Lally, near the border of Newton and Green Townships in Sussex County. Growing up Christian in the Muslim country of Jordan was not easy.
When we were driving along the streets, the Muslim motorists would lean out their windows and spit at us and call us Kaffirs. Which means “sinners,” by which they meant “non-Muslim.”
Even so, King Hussein was kind to Christians in his country. Indeed, Hussein wanted Christians around him. Hussein, says Qarmout, did not trust either Sunni or Shia Muslims, and feared that one or the other group might try to kill him for political gain. From Christians the King felt no such fear.
Still, the elder Qarmout decided, on or about 1975, to emigrate to America. Life was not easy for a large immigrant family. The elder Qarmout and his older sons worked in a plastics factory in Moonatchie. The family lived in a motor home parked among the factory trucks. Bader Qarmout told his Monday crowd,
Every now and again, a cop would notice a motor home parked between the trucks and kick us out. But if we were poor, we never knew it!
From these beginnings, the elder Qarmout forged a better life for his family. They saved money and then rented a store in Riverdale. Not long afterward, they owned the store, and then started a chain. Young Bader Qarmout grew up following family rules, observing a strict curfew, and working in the store while in school.
He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in 1991 from the University of Hawaii. At the age of 23, he owned his own building. He also won an adjunct professorship at County Community College in Morris, a post he still holds.
In 1995, his father died. Bader Qarmout bought the family business to keep it in the family. He sold it to his brother in 2009 to devote his full time to earning a PhD.
Where Bader Qarmout stands
The stands that Bader Qarmout publishes on his site, and other things he has said to CNAV and to those closest to him, suggest that he is a hard-core conservative with a slight libertarian leaning. (CNAV got this result by mocking up his positions in the VoteMatch Quiz at OnTheIssues.org.) Menendez, in sharp contrast, is a hard-core liberal.
More specifically, Bader Qarmout would work early to repeal the health care reform bill. He says that it is unconstitutional, from its overextension of the Commerce Clause to the latest “Contraceptive Mandate.” Furthermore, it has not worked as its proponents said it would. Premiums have gone up, not down.
Concerning immigration, he proposes to build a border fence and deploy troops to reinforce it. After that, he would deport any illegal alien who had committed a criminal act in addition to entering illegally. Otherwise he would fine illegal aliens $10,000 and make them wait ten years to apply for permanent residency (not naturalization).
He also believes that:
The Second Amendment guarantees ordinary people the right to keep and bear arms.
Entitlement programs need reform because they waste money and invite abuse.
Members of Congress should serve no longer than twelve years in either chamber. Thus no person should be elected to the House more than six times, nor to the Senate more than twice.
The government should allow more drilling for oil and build the Keystone XL Pipeline. The country needs to do this to become energy-independent.
The Congress and the State legislatures should amend the Constitution to force Congress to balance the nation’s budget from now on.
The United States needs a second-to-none military and should keep Guantanamo Naval Base to detain terrorists.
Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, and need not ask anyone’s permission.
Bader Qarmout also spoke to CNAV about the nation’s economy, and about the banking system. He acknowledged that fractional-reserve banking (in which banks keep far less than the total amount on deposit in reserve) is the greatest weakness in national and financial banking systems. He despaired of an immediate return to the gold standard, saying that the country does not have enough gold to back its currency. But he agreed with the idea of a hard-commodity standard, under which a dollar might have the backing of a quantity of any tradable commodity, including gold, silver, copper, platinum, oil, natural gas, or foodstuffs.
Finally he would replace the “7500 page tax code” with a flat tax. He did not name a particular flat-tax rate.