Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hillary Joins. Chris Will Have to Wait.

As Hillary Clinton makes the announcement that most people expected, and many more enthusiastically endorse, the main question on my mind today is...

Where's Chris?

After all, we now have Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Hillary firmly and officially in the presidential race and I'm sure that Scott Walker and Jeb Bush will join the April frenzy. But Chris Christie? He is nowhere to be found on the national stage, preferring instead to hold town hall meetings in friendly New Jersey towns where he can argue with teachers and try to defend his ghastly deal with Exxon and be applauded for not hiking taxes on the wealthy.

The governor has some real problems, and they will complicate his expected (at least by me) run for president. These will cause him to delay his announcement until perhaps June, forcing him to miss out on some early money and a good deal of momentum, which, admittedly, he could make up, but it just makes his job that much more difficult.

First up is the Monday announcement concerning the George Washington Bridge scandal that has engulfed his administration and has exposed him and his minions as political hacks (a compliment in New Jersey). There will certainly be a good deal of negative coverage about Christie's handling of the traffic jam which he'll need to defend, then make sure it's all gone away before he can return to national themes.

Next is the sorry state of the New Jersey economy, which continues to lag behind other states
and is foiling Christie's best efforts at acting like a true Republican-supply-side-Reaganite by cutting taxes. One of the things he has decided to cut is the state's required public employee's pension payment. He's presently being sued by a number of public employee unions and a New Jersey court has already ruled that the state must make full payments. The problem is that the state doesn't have the money because Christie's New Jersey Comeback hasn't quite taken shape.

And the issue that contributed the most to his reelection in 2013, the state's recovery from Sandy, is also turning sour as thousands of New Jersey residents are finding that the governor who promised them relief and their homes back in 2013 is not able to make good on those promises. Many shore towns are still devastated and residents are being told one thing by the government and another by their insurance companies. It's not good news.

The upshot to all of this is that Governor Christie will not be able to turn to the business of running for president until the above issues resolve themselves in a manner that's favorable to his political arguments. And then there's the matter of those pesky conservatives who don't like him because he's not their kind of conservative and besides, he hugged Obama in 2012 and the far right will never forget that. He's still a formidable politician, but he's not really part of the conversation at a time when he needs to be in the news.

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