Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hey, Wait: I'm the Big Mouth.

Poor Chris Christie.

After five years of berating people on YouTube, telling teachers, members of the armed services and other assorted citizens of New Jersey who just want their voices to be heard to essentially shut up, and after creating this persona of a man who tells the facts as they are (not just as he sees them, but as the ARE), and furiously trying to cash in every available political, economic and questionable chip at his disposal, this guy can't even poll 5% of registered Republican voters ahead of next month's National Night Out Against Crime GOP Presidential Debate.

And he's not even the loudest guy in the room. Donald Trump has taken care of that. And he's still polling near or at the top of the Republican field despite having little, if any, chance at winning any of the primaries. Of course, many have said the same thing about Christie. The main difference is that Governor Christie also has a record he's trying to run on, while Trump will make his headlines, fulminate on FOX come 8/6, then go back to making piles of money in real estate.

Meanwhile, the good governor will run on...what? The stagnant New Jersey economy? Remember that Christie thought he could buff his conservative bona-fides by cutting income taxes only to be met head-on by an economy that was still shedding jobs and a citizenry that still needed social services he had cut during his first years in office. He's also trying to run on the idea that he hasn't raised taxes, but if you live in the Garden State and try to access government services, you know that fees have gone through the roof from everything from new license plates to getting state certification for public jobs.

Now he's being called to task for not approving the railroad tunnels that would have eased the congestion between New Jersey and New York, and in a week where train service was severely affected by the weather (the heat made the power lines sag, so the trains couldn't run), the state's media is again reminding voters what a terrible decision that was. Yes, the governor did say that the project might have cost taxpayers a lot of money, but he then took that same money and used it to fix the state's roads so he wouldn't have to raise the gas tax. Because Republicans cannot ever raise taxes. Even when it's a pretty good idea. Like when gas prices are low. Like now.

Christie's response? Absolutely laughable. He said that if he got elected president, he would push to have the tunnels built as long as all stakeholders paid an even share. Can you see the right wing GOP House approving such a measure? Neither can I. The hypocrisy is thick around here.

And if you thought Bridgegate was the only scandal in Trenton, here comes another one. It seems that a whistleblower has won his case that will force the government to unseal secret grand jury testimony alleging that Christie quashed an investigation into some of his political buddies. It's really a small town issue, but the governor has made it into a potentially problematic case for his campaign. I'm sure the other 86 people running for the GOP nomination will remind voters of Christie's clouds.

If he's in the debates in August, and I'm assuming he will qualify, Christie thinks that policy will win the day. The reality is likely that he'll get a few questions, but most of the attention will go to Bush, Rubio, Walker, Paul and Trump. Christie will be able to tell us all about how we need to slash Social Security and Medicaid, but that won't separate him from the field.

He won't even be the biggest big mouth in the room.

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