Elected officials from local townships to county governments and from state agencies to state legislators were indicted, found guilty and arrested. Democrats and Republicans alike, suffered the consequences for wrongdoing rooted out by Chris Christie. And there were many.
Knowing that there is so much corruption in our state is a sad state of affairs. But such corruption is a natural result of a state where the largest source of employment is government. Despite it’s small size in landmass, and being one of the smallest states in the union, it has 21 counties, and 566 municipalities. Some of these local towns consist of as many 274,000 people and as few as 20. On top of that exists the all encompassing, cumbersome state government.
All these governments make corruption quite a lucrative endeavor. The growing amount of governments allows patronage to pile up as so many people have the opportunity to create inconsequential posts that they can hire relatives for. The numerous governments creates the opportunity for numerous contractors to offer so many government officials and employees special favors for the inside track on a “government contract”. The system simply breeds corruption and the people pay for it on top of the price for running the prolific preponderance of governments that make corruption so popular.
Short of mandating a consolidation of governments and reducing the number of “governments” in the state, not much can reduce this rampant scope and popularity of the governmental culture of corruption.
But as the US Attorney for the district of New Jersey, since December 20, 2001, Chris Christie provided New Jerseyans with reasonable justice and a relieving sense of corrective adjustment to a system that is weighed against the working class and in favor of the governing class. On the very day that Chris Christie announced the date of his resignation , a jury found a Democrat State Senator guilty on all the charges that Christie brought against him. The timing only helped to accentuate the positive effects that Christie’s leadership has brought to New Jersey.
But is Chris Christie’s resignation as US Attorney for New Jew Jersey really a loss for New Jersey?
Christie’s leaving one office could mean entrance into another…..the Governor’s office.
With the state in the midst of an affordability crisis that seems only to be worsening, New Jersey is looking for leadership. More than 65% of the population feels the state is on the wrong track and the poll numbers show that only 43% of the state inhabitants approve of Governor Jon Corzine while 46% disapprove of him. In the same poll 51% of respondents feel that Corzine should not be reelected.
This all indicates, that at this point, New Jersey wants “change”.
That makes it seem that the GOP has a great window of opportunity to climb through during the year leading up to next November’s state elections. But such is not the case as of yet.
Having no major media market of it’s own, New Jersey is stuck in between the most expensive and the third most expensive media markets in the nation, New York and Philadelphia. So reaching out to the whole state requires one to go through Philly in the South and New York in the North. This makes running a statewide campaign in Jersey quite expensive and money is something state Republicans don‘t have. This goes especially for the Governor’s race where incumbent Jon Corzine has spent tens of millions of his money in previous races. As a Wall Street millionaire he has the money and doesn’t have a problem trying to raise the funds to compete.
On top of that, state Republicans have not helped themselves. They have failed to provide any believable, appealing alternatives to those offered by Democrats.
They have also failed to provide any leader who inspires a sense of optimism and positive change.
There are a number of Republicans inside and outside of the state legislature who are promising and could provide the party with the infusion of innovative ideas and inspirational voices that we need. People like State Senator’s Joe Kyrillos and Jennifer Beck. Former Assemblyman Paul DeGaetano is another and so is Morris County Freeholder John Murphy. Of those four, I am confident that Jennifer Beck will some day be our Governor or one of New Jersey’s two United States Senators but that is not so for this coming race. Time is needed for Senator Beck to establish herself. But for now, the greatest reason why none of these four will emerge as a likely candidate for governor in ’09 is money and name identification. The disjointed access to media in the state makes their names less than household names in the south and to become well known would take millions of unavailable dollars to their campaigns.
Regardless of the odds stacked against them one little known Assemblyman has declared his candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Assembly Richard Merkt made his intentions known for a few months now and although his voting record is conservative oriented, he still lacks the innovation of ideas that inspires anyone. The same goes for former and potential GOP candidate for the nomination Steve Lonegan.
Lonegan’s ideas are quite conservative and he has a truly consistent conservative approach to government. But that in and of itself is a problem. Openly conservative candidates do not go over well in New Jersey. Especially under funded, conservative candidates. Like many other potential candidates, Lonegan is severely hampered by the lack of financial resources that will be available to him.
That brings us back to the beginning. What alternatives does New Jersey have to the current menage~a~tois between the Democrat governor and Democrat controlled state senate and assembly?
By losing Chris Christie in the corruption busting crusade to change government from the outside, he may now be the best person for Republicans to use to change government from the inside.
He has the name id that others would need to raise tens of millions of dollars to achieve.
He has a reputation of success, taking on government and government officials and for nonpartisanship.
All of this appeals to Jersey’s very large and crucial independent voting bloc and gives him a leg up.
If Chris Christie were to declare his candidacy for governor, for the reasons mentioned above, he would be a figure that people would automatically have reason to rally around.
If he ran on a platform of reform he could be one of the most effective candidates to do so, that the state has ever seen. Christie could discuss reform of the culture of government and corruption. He could call for the outlawing of the dual office holding which consolidates power and increases the opportunity for corruption. He could preach the virtues of reforming many of the practices that have led to illegal conduct in government that he prosecuted. He could promote the consolidation of municipal governments so that we reduce costs and reduce the opportunity for hundreds of governments to be corrupt.
Add to this other reforms such as those to our state’s economy, it‘s contract negotiation process, future pension plans, property taxes, education funding, infrastructure development and you have an agenda of reform that offers real hope to a state populations that wants change.
I do not know where Chris Christie stands on these issues. As a Republican I would hope that he believes in many of the ideological principles that make me a Republican. I would hope that he would want to reform New Jersey’s anti business atmosphere of over taxation which reduces job opportunities and growth. I would hope that he is willing to cut spending by reducing ineffectual programs, the size of government and it’s overabundance of government employees. I would hope that he understands that New Jersey is unaffordable to live in and that taxes must be cut in order to alleviate that problem.
Until I know where Christie stands on these issues, I can not say that he has my support. Besides he has not yet made his intentions known or announced his candidacy. If he does make such an announcement and runs for the Republican nomination, I hope he makes his ideological philosophy clear. Part of the reason for the failures of other recent statewide Republican candidacies is due to their unwillingness to distinguish themselves from Democrats. They have felt a need to go along to get along and it has not worked. There are plenty of Democrats to choose from in New Jersey and given the chance, residents of the state will choose a Democrat acting like a Democrat over a Republican acting like a Democrat on any given day.
With the reputation that he has already established, Chris Christie can offer conservative oriented initiatives and they can be well received. Unlike Steve Lonegan whose conservative philosophy is shadowed by a right wing image problem, Chris Christie has a more independent, nonpartisan image that can make any right leaning initiatives, that he offers up as reform, more palatable and acceptable to a liberal oriented electorate. Chris Christie is the only possible candidate who can do that at this point in time.
There is another potential candidate out there though.
John Crowley has a remarkable story. One so compelling that books have been written about it and actor Harrison Ford will be playing John Crowley in a movie about him.
Crowley started his own bio tech business here in New Jersey. He started it not for profit but for survival. Survial of his new born children who were diagnosed with a rare and fatal disorder called Pompe disease. There were no treatments for the disease and since it was so rare, the pharameucitical and science industries did not bother with trying to find a cure. So began Crowley’s creation of a bio tech company that raced time to discover a cure. To date the company he statred to keep his children alive has done just that and his childrens lives have been extended as the treatments so far established have allowed John Crowley’s kids to ward off the worst of the disorders effects. There were many ups and down that the Crowley family took to get to this point but determination and clear thinking got them this far.
Now a multimillionaire, Crowley has pockets almost as deep as Governor Corzine. This gives him the chance to develop name id and possibly mount a competitive race against Corzine. He almost ran for US Senate against Frank Lautenberg but passed that up. Now he has expressed some possible interest in the race for Governor.
Although his financial situation might make Crowley viable, and his story is remarkably inspirational and proof oh his determination, where he stands on the issues is yet to be known.
The unknown positions of both Christie and Crowley prohibit me from leaning to one or the other and it should also prohibit others from doing so too. The way it currently stands, conservative Steve Lonegan has my initial philosophical support. But philosophical support is meaningless. It means as much as a Governor who has the right philosophy but can’t implement that philosophy into the application of government. My philosophical support must translate into tangible support. So should Crowley or Christie articulate ideological lines of thinking similar to Lonegan and an ability to implement them, they could easily win my physical support.
This makes declaring their candidacies as soon as possible, quite important.
New Jersey Republicans need to choose our gubernatorial nominee carefully and we need to close ranks around that nominee as quickly as we can. So the debate must begin and in order for that to happen we need to know who the debate is between and what the players stand for.
The most important declaration of candidacy happens to be Chris Christie’s. Many other potential candidates are awaiting his decision. If he runs, many others will bow out. If Chris Christie does not run, the field will fill up fast. Promising candidates like former candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Freeholder John Murphy may just go for it again. His spirited, fresh faced, energetic, Trenton outsider image could shake things up quite a lot.
In any event, Chris Christie is holding the greatest promise of hope for New Jersey. His crime busting reputation could be the making of New Jersey’s version of what Tom Dewey was to the state of New York and what Rudy Giuliani was to New York City………squeaky clean politicians who are reform minded, and inclined to creating prosperous governments that improve the quality of life for all it’s citizens.
That’s how it could be and if it is to be so, Chris Christie must first make intentions known quickly. The first week of the new year should be the latest for that decision.
Should Chris Christie decide to go for it then he must not be afraid to preach the Republican principles that have, more often than not, reformed government for the better.
Republican defeats have forced Republican candidates to sound like Trenton Democrats. Doing so has only helped to increase Republican losses at the ballot box. Chris Christie is poised to turn that all around but only if he leaves no doubt about his Republican inclinations and no doubts about his desire for the job.
A little girl asked her father, “Daddy? Do all Fairy Tales begin with ‘Once Upon A Time’?”
He replied, “No, there is a whole series of Fairy Tales that begin with ‘If elected I promise’.”