In case you missed it, there’s a terrific piece on Governor Christie in the New Jersey media. Written by columnist Tom Moran, it lays bare the basic fact that although Christie has benefited from disaster, he’s actually been a disaster as governor.
Essentially, New Jersey has experienced failure at almost every level by which a politician is measured. And the one area where Christie got help from Democrats, on a pension and benefits bill that weakened collective bargaining and will eventually force public workers from their jobs, the economic effects will be devastating. In fact, many teachers will be bringing home less money three years from now than they are today. I’ve done the calculations: My take-home income will be going down over the next three years despite my actually getting a small raise. If you’re a teacher and you want very bad news, input your salary and insurance premiums on this site. Do not have anything breakable nearby when you do.
But the issues go beyond the eventual devastation of a few hundred thousand people. There are millions of people in this state who cannot find jobs because of the governor’s lack of leadership and the property taxes he promised to lower have actually gone up. Why? In the leafy suburbs where I live and work (for now), the governor slashed aid to schools and municipalities. More money has come from Trenton in the past two years, but the rest of the missing money had to be made up by a rise in local property taxes. For this past year, the district in which I work received one dollar ($1) more in state aid than last year. Meanwhile, salaries, supplies, state mandated testing, public safety and public accommodations still had to be paid for, not to mention basic municipal services.
The net effect of all of this is that people are making less money, costs are rising, jobs are not forthcoming and the governor is against common sense items such as raising the minimum wage, recognizing marriage equality, but he is in favor of protecting the wealthy by not asking them to contribute a little more to alleviate the pain.
And for this, Christie has a 20 point lead in the polls.
That’s because many Democrats in New Jersey have sold their souls for the primary reason that they see Christie as their gravy train. Not for state money, mind you, but for personal gain and power. How else to measure the utter lack of support for Democratic candidate, Senator Barbara Buono?
Here is a terrific, personable, dynamic, focused, humanistic candidate who is on the right side of the issues that New Jersey cares about. She stands up for women’s health in the face of Christie’s cuts to Planned Parenthood, supports marriage equality and has a plan to get the economy moving again. I saw Buono and her running mate, Milly Silva, speak at an event last week and I can say from personal experience that these are two highly intelligent, articulate people who act the opposite of the volatile, bullying, inappropriate antics of the present occupant in Trenton.
But the Democrats are split and President Obama is nowhere to be found. Still, Christie is only polling at 50%. Yes, he’s ahead, but if the left can get its act together and highlight what Moran has written, this race could get closer.
Which then brings us to Christie’s dream of a 2016 presidential run. If he wins with close to 50% of the vote, he can’t claim a mandate as a crossover candidate. Further, he won’t get much anything else done with a Democratic legislature. Where does that leave him? To bloviate and fuss about what he would do if he had the means, and that will force him to move farther to the right. The problem is that any right-wing opponent will only have to play the video of Obama and Christie at the shore after Sandy and the magic will seep out of his campaign. Along the way, he’ll also hurt himself by saying things that sound great to his supporters when you see them on YouTube, but will not play well at all with those who want a responsible adult as their leader.
Mark my words: Chris Christie will never be President of the United States. Let’s also try to make sure he isn’t reelected. We can’t afford even two more years of his misrule.0