The Trenton Cowboy Rides Again
What Chris Christie will not be saying in his fifth State of the State message this afternoon in Trenton is that he has mismanaged the budget, resulting in the state’s credit rating being downgraded eight times. No New Jersey governor, he can proclaim, has ever presided over that many downgrades. He is setting the record in spending 18 more times on personal security than when taking office in 2010. He’s cut $2.4 billion in pension payments he promised to make, because his budget projections were wacky. As of December 2014, our state’s credit rating is the second lowest in the nation. By 2012, the state had managed to achieve its highest unemployment rate since 1977. By 2012, it ranked 34th in unemployment; our current unemployment rate of 6.4% is still higher than the national average.
All of this is understandable. The man has been busy not running for president since 2010, when all of his troubles began.
Besides, you think it is easy running a state like New Jersey, even if it was a full- time job? I mean, it’s not Florida.
The not-running-for-president race is growing especially thin these days, as the numbers of our Republican notables have been stepping up and saying, “Folks, I was only kidding. I am indeed a candidate.”
First, Jeb Bush stunned the Western world by saying that he has decided to become the latest member of the Bush Dynasty to answer the call to duty. He is running on his record of being on two sides of major issues, what the New York Times called his “emerging evolution” on such things as immigration reform, the environment, improving prisons, and same sex couples, who as governor he once linked to a group with “polluters, pedophiles, pornographers, drunk drivers and developers without permits.”
With his second take on the issues, which might improve his standing with moderates, Bush LXIII hopes to emerge as the only true man of principle in the race.
And yesterday Mitt Romney cast aside the costume of a non- candidate and announced that “yes, it’s true, he really wants to be president.”
In all due modesty, I don’t mind saying that I predicted last year that when the musical chairs party game was over Romney would not only run but win the nomination. His qualifications include his expertise on foreign policy issues, having been involved in outsourcing of jobs. Let’s face it, he could have won in 2012, as supporters believe, if the Chicago thugs hadn’t stolen the election for Obama.
The problem with Bush XLIII is he is on financial thin ice, with the failure of so many of his get-rich-quick schemes.
But Mitt II has the money and staff in place, ready to go. He also has the time, not having to work for a living.
There is the smell of flop sweat in the race. A sign is the early announcements that the charade is over. As shrewd a political operator as Mitt II is-- except when he makes speeches to private donors-- he is making the same mistake as Jeb did. By throwing his mitt into the race so early, Romney now becomes the front runner and the target of the Huckabees and other wannabees.
The only smart one of the leading contenders is Chris Christie. By holding his fire, not shooting until he sees the whites of their lies, Chris is still adroitly above the fight.
Of course, he may just be waiting for an indictment or two to come down on the GWB scandal or other impediments to a record that is as clean as the driven slush of New Jersey politics.
While I have your attention, I can add to my kudos here as a prognosticator by predicting:
- Christie will be the star of the reality TV show, called “The GOP Debates of 2016.”
- He will make mince meat out of the lunatic fringe (Rand, Cruz, Rubio)
- He will win the moderates race, as a former prosecutor capitalizing on Jeb’s shady business background.
- He will lose the conservative base that considers him an anarchist, whatever he says.
- The conservative base will triumph, adopting Romney with his all new, improved, more conservative than thou principles of giving it to the nation’s poor and less fortunate than the 1%, the base that has its hands around the throat of the party as it once again sinks beneath the waves in 2016
Special thanks to American Bridge 21st Century’s research team for statistics on Chris Christie’s crack economic record.
January 13, 2015