Sunday, February 9, 2014

Star-Ledger to New Jersey: Oops.

We'll get right to it.

Tom Moran, the Editorial Page Editor of the Newark Star-Ledger, is now regretting the paper's endorsement of Chris Christie for Governor in 2013. Am I supposed to feel bad? Reassess my political beliefs? Cancel my subscription?

I will do none of those, but I will shake my head and lament the media landscape that deigns to recognize Chris Christie as a politician worthy of a second term. Or a first term for that matter. Many other writers have already pored over Moran's writing, and if you want a blisteringly accurate analysis of his blindness on Christie's educational policies, then please take a detour here.

I have two favorite passages from Moran's article. Here is the first:
Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee as a means to pressure the mayor. We didn’t know he would use Hurricane Sandy aid as a political slush fund. And we certainly didn’t know that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was sitting on a credible charge of extortion by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
With all due respect to Moran, and I do agree with him on many issues, I knew that Christie was a nightmare way before he actually lulled the rest of New Jersey to sleep. He did put people's lives in danger by cutting programs to the poor, the less fortunate, and to schools by making cuts that could have been alleviated with a small increase in revenue. He did treat Sandy as a political event right after it happened and rode that wave all the way to this past November since he didn't have an economic record he could successfully run on. His YouTube videos also showed that he had no patience for anyone who disagreed with him and that he would not take any responsibility for the negative aspects of his policies. I can't speak for Kim Guadango, but she and Christie do make a wonderful team.

So when Moran says that we didn't know, he's wrong. Many of us did know and tried to make it clear what was happening. But the Christie ad machine was too well-oiled and too loud. Blame yourself, Mr. Moran. Leave the rest of us out of it.

And now for the second:
And let’s not forget his opponent, Sen. Barbara Buono. She was not up to the job of being governor — even in the view of many Democrats. She got the party’s nomination because more credible candidates, including Cory Booker, backed out in the face of Christie’s strength.
I have not forgotten Barbara Buono and the ethical, caring campaign she ran. Nor have I forgotten that she spoke about the people who make up the majority of New Jersey; people who need to work for a living and whose lives have not benefited from the governor's policies and, indeed, are being asked to give more while the wealthy are not. She was, and is, certainly up to the job of being governor.  The problem is that Moran cannot recognize the difference between a noise machine and beautiful music. That the Democratic Party did not support her is a problem that I recognized and wrote about. President Obama could have come to New Jersey, and he abdicated his responsibility. But you can't make the connection between Barbara Buono's ability to run this state with the lack of endorsements.

Governor Chrisite has always been an ego-driven bully and he has now been wounded politically. What was going to be one of his main campaign weapons, his outrageously inappropriate berating videos, will now be his greatest liability. He'll need to come up with a different persona in order to reclaim the political middle if he wants to be president, and that will be extremely difficult. Will the core conservative Republican voter shun him? Probably not, but that's not where elections are won.

Chris Christie has won his final election victory. He was always as he appears now, and it was always apparent to those of us who looked hard at his record and actions. That the Star-Ledger is just noticing tells us all we need to know about its myopia.

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