Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christie Back From Dallas. Why Is Everyone Else Leaving?

As if the Cowboy kerfuffle wasn't enough of a distraction for the governor, along comes another story where 'Boys owner Jerry Jones condescends to Christie's fandom by saying that having Christie in the owner's box is payback for when the not-governor was too poor to pay for parking. Jones also said that he will support Christie if he decides to run for president.

Which he will. And apparently he will make that announcement by the end of the month. It would certainly be a delicious treat for the candidate-in-waiting to be able to announce his intentions a day or two after the Cowboys win the Super Bowl on February 1, but I don't believe that is in the offing if the Green Bay Packers have anything to say about that. A Cowboys loss this Sunday would clear the news cycle for Christie's announcement, which I assume will come during the week when there's no game scheduled. The man might be unsuitable to be president, but he does have a knack for public relations.

But, oh! the complications. First up is a report that one of New Jersey's marquee employers, Mercedes-Benz, is leaving the state and heading for Georgia, which is cheaper and has lower taxes. This doesn't help Christie with the pro-business crowd and will further reduce the chance that New Jersey's economy has a robust recovery in time for the governor to run on a miracle.

Then comes another story that says that of people involved in an interstate move involving New Jersey, the vast majority are leaving the state--fleeing is the headline word--rather than moving in. This is not a scientific survey as the data is being supplied by United Van Lines, a moving company, but it does attest to what anecdotal evidence has suggested for years. The Governor will probably seize on these numbers to continue to argue against a millionaire's tax because his main argument has always been that more people will leave the state rather than pay. But since people seem to be leaving anyway, it doesn't say much about his improving things in the state.

The real damage, though, comes because these are more negative stories about New Jersey. Christie can go around the country and tell tales about bipartisanship and how he got the Democratic legislature to pass a pension and benefits bill, but his refusal to actually make a mandated payment will also follow him. As will the videos of him yelling at veterans and public employees. Americans do want someone who will fight for them, but they don't want someone who will fight them because he disagrees with them.

Finally, there's that darned Bush family. Yes, Jeb Bush is off and raising money for a White House bid that will directly compete for the same voters Christie needs for support during the primaries. And Jeb's talking about big issues like immigration and income inequality, while Christie is huddling with foreign policy experts to learn what to say in interviews. 

It's clear that Christie will rise above the silliness of the Dallas story, but the pertinent point is that once he declares himself a candidate for president, he will have precious little to run on.

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