At the end of lame duck, all kinds of deals get cut every year. With the final bell approaching Monday night, this year is no exception – with important issues around education, economic development, and the environment on the table. The pressure of lame duck, in theory, can lead to good legislation finally getting moved – we got legalized medical marijuana a couple years ago, for example, and of course we should have gotten marriage equality. But it also can lead to deals that seem good under pressure but look worse once the pressure cooker is over.
Republicans apparently have put one such deal on the table today – a very stupid deal offer that Democrats should not accept. There is a fierce fight going on over a wine bill that would legalize shipping wine via the mail and allow the opening of tasting rooms throughout the state. This fight has divided the Democratic Party – with good arguments, and significant interests, on both sides. The supporters argue that it will help New Jersey’s growing wine industry and that people should have the right to order wine online; opponents say it will hurt liquor stores which are often small, immigrant-owned businesses.
Now, Republicans are saying that they will based their votes on the bill on whether other legislation that they want – such as, well, the Police Bashing Act of 2012 that I wrote about the other day. If Democrats vote for that legislation, then Republicans will allow the wine bill to go through.
Let’s break this offer down. The Republicans are offering to pass a bill that already splits the Democratic Party – in exchange for passing another bill that would (a) hurt police and firefighters, who are increasingly fed up with the Governor; and (b) allow Christie to claim another “bipartisan” effort with the Legislature – which makes his poll numbers go up – while he still gets to bash Democratic leadership behind their backs.
Wow, that sounds really good, doesn’t it?