Two interview-based pieces in this weekend’s newspapers – by Jenna Portnoy and Melissa Hayes – give us an idea of what’s currently on Gov. Christie’s political mind and insights into priorities he might lay out on Tuesday in his annual State of the State message. Regarding the former, about his upcoming gubernatorial race, he blusters, he won’t be satisfied unless he trounces the opposition by a bigger margin than any Republican in a generation. His priorities include Sandy recovery, signing a tax cut, reducing spending, eliminating payouts to public employees for unused sick time, and preventing towns and school districts from circumventing the 2 percent cap on local tax increases. He states Sandy recovery is a top priority, but he remains faithful to shrinking state government by reducing taxes and spending – an approach that will not stimulate our economy, preserve a safety net, nor meet the needs of a hurricane-battered state.
He has every reason to be cocky about his re-election prospects, and if the voting took place next week he would win in a landslide. However, the election is still 11 months away and a lot can happen by then. Below are matters that can expose his vulnerabilities.
The first three issues above play to a particularly broad audience and will reduce his job approval level and expose chinks in his armor. By taking such a strong position on matters that may not turn out so well, Christie might be hoisting himself by his own petard. Nonetheless, I’m sure that Blue Jersey bloggers and many others will expose those armor chinks with relish.