Barack Obama Is Dead To Me

This graphic, based on the poll tracker at Talking Points Memo, shows Chris Christie’s favorables and unfavorables over his term as governor. I’ve added, in blue, several key events from this period to give some context as to why his numbers may have varied.

Uploaded with

Notice that Christie’s three largest legislative accomplishments — 2% Cap, Pen-Ben, and TEACHNJ — have little if any positive effect on his favorables. I would argue there are only two big bounces: post-Irene, and post-Sandy. What does this mean?

Without natural disasters, Chris Christie’s re-election chances would be much lower than they are right now.

Which means the presumed front-runner in the presidential race of 2016 does not have a lock on winning by a “bigger margin than any Republican in a generation.” And he knows it, which is why he has set his sights far lower in recent months.

So Christie is mortal; in fact, I believe he can be beat. I believe this week’s news that his lead over Barbara Buono has shrunk was inevitable; with a big push by Democrats and smart campaigning by Buono, that lead should, inevitably, shrink even more.

Given all this, you would think our lame-duck president — who has nothing to lose in supporting Barbara Buono — would make at the very least a cursory showing of support. You’d think Barack Obama would show just a little effort and enthusiasm for the only prominent Democrat in New Jersey who had the guts to take on the challenge of running against Christie. Out of respect to her, the state party, and all the people Christie has slimed over this last term, you’d think our “fightin’ for you!” president could take a few hours to get on a plane and stand side-by-side with Buono, lending a fraction of his star power in the cause of at least slowing Christie’s charge at the White House.

You’d be dead wrong:

President Obama is not planning to campaign for Democrat Barbara Buono in her quest to rob Gov. Chris Christie of a second term, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

This year and next, Obama only plans to lend his political firepower to close races where he could help cinch a win for his party, a Democratic official involved with Obama’s political plans told AP. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss strategy and requested anonymity, the wire service said.

Why? Why would Obama do this?

It’s the type of delicate, race-by-race calculation the White House repeatedly will have to make in the 2014, when Obama’s own legacy will be on the line. Next fall, voters will decide whether to elect a Congress that will help Obama achieve his goals for his final two years in office, or whether to elect one that will block him at every turn.

You’re worried about your “legacy,” Mr. President? Well, here’s your legacy, at least in New Jersey:

You’re dead to me. You’re dead to every teacher Chris Christie insulted over these past four years. You’re dead to every public employee Christie broke his promises to. You’re dead to every gay and lesbian couple and their families who want marriage equity. You’re dead to everyone in this state worried that our environment is being raped. You’re dead to every woman seeking health care. You’re dead to the middle class families who suffer under Christie’s inept stewardship of our state’s economy. You’re dead to the students and parents who have to live with the consequences of Christie’s refusal to adequately fund our schools. You’re dead to those who will pay the price for Christie’s politicization of our courts.

President Obama, by refusing to back Barbara Buono, you’re dead to everyone who is appalled by Chris Christie’s unrelenting assault on the values that made this state great.

If, Mr. President, you can’t even muster up a shred of your time and your “legacy” to support Barbara Buono, then I say the hell with you.

ADDING: More from vmars.

Comments (33)

  1. vmars


  2. firstamend07

    What about all this female stuff we always hear from Hillary?

    Obama would be great, but Hillary would have a HUGE effect.

    Where is she?

    Why are people only blaming Obama?

    It is time to call out Hillary also!

  3. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Must be the quo to Christie’s presumed quid.  But it was a pretty one sided deal.  Maybe Obama won NY and NJ by a bigger margin than he would, but I don’t think it mattered for any of the swing states.

    Christie got was the better of the “deal.”

  4. Lesh0317

    Can you cross post this to Daily Kos? There are always Obama wars over there and this could draw attention to Christie’s terrible record.  

  5. bluescat1

    When the DNC or the Congressional fund raisers call I tell them that since the big backers are not supporting Barbara for Governor it is up to those of us in NJ to do it, there for I have no money to donate to national elections all of my donations are going  to help a good Democrat try to get elected Governor.. If they heard that enough times they might get the message.  

  6. ken bank

    Really? I’ll bet he must be rolling over in his “grave”.

  7. Hopeful

    The revealing thing above is that there is no mention of Obama campaigning for Corzine against Christie. If it’s so important regardless of outcome, surely there’d be a thank you for that. Of course, reminding us of it would immediately reveal that a visit wouldn’t make any difference at all.   We all know that

    if Buono makes it close, Obama will visit.  

  8. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    The Democratic Party at both the national and the state level is not invested in defeating Chris Christie and/or helping Barbara Buono.

    They are only interested in supporting Democrats who will work with them to move the party further to the right.  Terry McCauliffe in VA satisfies this prerequisite much moreso than Barbara Buono.  He is also a close friend of Bill Clinton, so it works for both the Clintons and Barack Obama to focus all of the party’s resources in VA and away from NJ.  The last thing that anyone in their circles want is for our gubernatorial race to become competitive and draw resources away from their race.

    This is just one more reason why liberals should seriously consider my proposal.  Cory Booker much more a part of this problem than the solution and will undoubtedly play a leadership role going forward in continuing to make the Democratic Party more beholden to Wall Street and other corporate interests.

  9. Jersey Jazzman (Post author)

    After the Kossacks had a meltdown, here was my reply.

    Must say this was quite interesting. I posted here at a request from a commenter at Blue Jersey. “Why not?” says I. Must say I’ve learned quite a bit from the experience.

    I’m so old I remember a time when the Democratic party was run by a man who insisted that every race be fought. And if anyone said otherwise, they were considered the problem.

    I see we’ve… matured since then. How nice. It’s working out so well for the left, don’t you think?

    All those people I listed above: labor, women, LGBT, environmentalists, students, the middle class… things are so much better when they all just accept that a bullying blowhard – who may be talented but who certainly got lucky with the placement of some storms – is the inevitable winner so they can just curl up and die.

    Well, I’ll leave it to the sage, politically seasoned minds here to triangulate and apportion the president’s valuable time to obviously more important concerns. We here in Jersey can just simply fold up our tents and go home without a fight. We’ll just have to learn to live with Christie’s backers running things for another four years. No point in doing anything about it, right? That would just be “whining”…

    And it’s nice of the president’s staff to make it easier for those of us who have to live under Christie to face the inevitable by leaking this story to the press and further torpedoing Buono’s campaign. Because, you know, fighting for a candidate who’s got a slim chance is just so… well, so 1990’s, don’t you think?

    I just hope that all of you who think it’s acceptable for the president to pull out of a tough fight don’t turn around one day and find out your state or your district is going red because sticking up for members of your own party isn’t politically expedient.

    Good night and good luck.

  10. Jersey Jazzman (Post author)

    …hell, yes.

  11. Jersey Jazzman (Post author)

    Can’t say I disagree. But we haven’t had reporting yet that says Clinton is deliberately staying out of this race.

    Let’s see what happens…

  12. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Give her a chance.  It’s still August.

  13. Lesh0317

    Is prohibited from campaigning until she is out of office for one year. January 2014

  14. Erik Preuss

    I understand the “issues” some might take with him not formally endorsing her, but why should he actively campaign? I’m sorry but it seems to me he has a lot more important things to do with his time than campaign for a candidate who is 20 points behind. Namely, there are several major fights coming up with congress in the next three months that are SIGNIFICANTLY more important to the country as a whole than getting Barbara Buono elected.  

  15. Jersey Jazzman (Post author)
  16. ken bank

    I’m invoking Godwins Law of Nazi Analogies to point out the flaw of taking one step backward to go two steps forward. German leaders used the same reasoning as “Liberals 4 Lonegan” to justify appointing Hitler as Chancellor on the theory he would do such a poor job the Nazis would be discredited and moderates would gain political dominance. We all know how that worked out.

    This isn’t an academic exercise inpolitical theory. We’ve all seen the damage even a handful of teabagging wingnuts can do in the Senate. Maybe if “Liberals-4-Lonegan” loses his job he might not be so cavalier about this election when Lonegan joins Rand Paul and Ted Cruz to filibuster against extending his unemployment benefits.

  17. Jersey Jazzman (Post author)

    It would get closer if Obama would visit.

    I’m so old I remember a Democratic Party that fought every battle, and fought hard. I guess we’ve outgrow that quaint notion.

    How nice for us. It’s working out beautifully, don’t you think?

  18. Jersey Jazzman (Post author)

    The cynicism over there is so thick you could spread it on toast.

  19. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    Hindenburg’s German Conservative Party brought Hitler and the Nazis into his governing coalition for the same reason that John McCain tapped Sarah Palin to be his VP.  He wanted the wackos working for him rather than against him.  German conservatives also saw fascism as a buffer against communism and socialism.

    I am not proposing an academic exercise in political theory.  I am proposing a real-world response to the problems that face the Democratic Party both here in NJ and on the national level.  There is no doubt in my mind that if Cory Booker is elected to the Senate, he is going to be a powerful force within the Democratic Party for decades to come and will continue the work that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have done in their efforts to move the party to the right.  This is not theory.  This is fact.

    There is also no doubt in my mind that nothing of consequence is going to get through the Senate as long as Harry Reid is Majority Leader and he and other Democrats are unwilling to pursue the nuclear option.  Cruz and Lonegan can filibuster against the next round of unemployment extensions as much as they want, but this is one issue where there always seem to be enough votes in both the House and Senate simply because there are as many if not more unemployed conservatives as there are unemployed liberals and moderates.

    And as an unemployed person, I have personally experienced the impact of Obama’s willingness to compromise, particularly the nonsensical sequester, which cut my weekly payment by 20%.  That same willingness to compromise also reduced the number of weeks in the most recent extension, so I am no longer receiving anything.

    But my personal situation has nothing to do with the fact that enabling Steven Lonegan to defeat Cory Booker will result in a more liberal Democrat being elected next year.  As much as I would prefer Rush Holt or Frank Pallone, even Rob Andrews or Bill Pascrell, Jr. would be better than Booker, because neither of them will have the same kind of negative and outsized impact on the direction of the party in the years to come.

  20. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    After reading the comments on your DKos diary, I have an even higher level of respect for the commenters at Blue Jersey than I already did.

  21. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    They don’t even give someone a chance to defend themselves before assuming that they are a Republican troll and silencing them.  It is no wonder that we aren’t ever able to accomplish anything.

  22. ken bank

    Of course you’re a troll. If you really had no job and no income you would have more important things to do with your time than pontificate on the dubious strategy of voting for Lonegan.

    I’ve posted elsewhere that if Shaftan was running the Buono campaign she’d be within single digits of Christie by this time, and that’s without fundraising. I said in my diary post that Shaftan would have tricks up his sleeve, and your comments and posts are right out of the same playbook Shaftan used in previous campaigns.

  23. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    …at electing Democrats than Republicans.  

    Between the Sabrin for Governor campaign that enabled Jim McGreevey to lose narrowly to Christie Whitman in 1997 instead of getting demolished worse than Peter Shapiro and the Schundler for Governor campaign that simultaneously took out both Donald DiFrancesco and Bob Franks, either of whom would have probably defeated McGreevey in 2001, I believe that Rick Shaftan is more to blame for McGreevey’s election than any Democrat.

    I don’t know if you have ever been unemployed or underemployed, Ken, but if you have been, you would know that you can only spend so many hours a day, job-hunting and need to take a break from time to time.  Blue Jersey is one of the sites that I visit when I take a break.  You can agree or disagree with my arguments or my logic, but please do not insult me and call me names.  It is very simply rude.

    I don’t know what I can write to prove to you that I am truly a liberal Democrat who is more concerned about the damage that Cory Booker will do to the Democratic Party over the long haul if elected to the Senate than I am about the ridiculously embarrassing things that Steven Lonegan will do and say during the year-plus that he would be Senator.

    Having witnessed what eight years of Bill Clinton brought us, followed by eight years of Barack Obama, the idea of eight years of Hillary Clinton followed by eight years of Cory Booker is really scary to me.

    As the Republican Party continues to immolate itself, I find it increasingly frustrating that the Democratic Party doesn’t use this opportunity to become bolder and more progressive.  Instead, as the Republican Party moves further and further to the right, the Democratic Party does the same.

    It is only a matter of time before another Ralph Naderesque, 3rd Party candidacy from the left brings the whole house of cards crashing down upon itself as it did in 2000, and we both know that the next time that the Republicans take control over our government is the last time that we will have a democracy of any kind, even one as dysfunctional as the one that we have right now.  Excuse me for having the hubris to try to imagine a different direction for our country and party to take.

  24. ken bank

    I think if you had posted this you would have gotten a better reception.

    Whoever “leaked” this did the President a disservice. Like I said, folks need to let the President and his staff know he needs to go to New Jersey (as well as Virginia) if for no other reason than as the head of his Party he has a moral obligation to do so when these are the only two statewide elections this year. And I really would be shocked if he didn’t come to New Jersey to campaign for Cory Booker, assuming that Barbara Buono would be included in such an appearance as well.

  25. Erik Preuss

    I understand there being some anger toward no endorsement, but it is absolutely absurd to be upset that he won’t come to New Jersey to campaign for Buono. Do you really believe that would be the case if she was within single digits? Or if her fundraising hadn’t been so anemic? Or if she hadn’t created a Romney-esque PR disaster by picking a State Chairman, then fighting her party about it, and then changing her selection? I’m sorry, but while Buono is right on all of the issues, and would probably be a good governor, she has run a fairly poor campaign up until now. The president’s job is to promote the welfare of the country as a whole, not to attempt to bail out floundering candidates with minimal chance of success.  

  26. ken bank

    Shaftan’s troll said, “I don’t know what I can write to prove to you that I am truly a liberal Democrat”:

    For starters you could post your real name, resume, link to your facebook page and LinkedIn profile. It’s called networking, and it’s what people do when they are unemployed/underemployed.  

    I have been unemployed/underemployed and have waited in line for hours to get unemployment benefits. I assure you that when I was in that situation the last thing on my mind was thinking about political strategy. Yes, I took breaks from job hunting, like sleeping, eating and other everyday household tasks. Whatever spare time I had I used in other ways to make connections and improve my prospects. The last thing I would be doing is engage in esoteric political debates with internet trolls over the merits of electing a reactionary racist and religious bigot to the United States Senate.

    BTW, give my compliments to Rick when you see him.

  27. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    That said, for the last time, I am going to say that I am not a troll.  I am not employed by Rick Shaftan or anybody else for that matter.  I simply believe that Cory Booker will do far more damage as a Senator (and then maybe Governor and/or President) over the next couple of decades than Steven Lonegan will do over the next year-plus.  You can disagree with that calculus, but you do not need to be rude about it.

    For the same reasons that others here do not write comments and diaries under their real names or post their resumes or link to their facebook pages or LinkedIn profiles, I do not and will not.  People are allowed to anonymously write controversial opinions here without any question of their associations or motives.  I do not understand why I cannot receive the same benefit of the doubt.  As I have said elsewhere, you can disagree with my arguments, but there is no need to be so disagreeable.

  28. Jersey Jazzman (Post author)

    Rather than getting in there, turning around the campaign, fighting hard even though the odds are against Buono…

    The president and his staff have made a political calculation regarding his “legacy” and said: “Nope.” Even though, in your words, Buono “would probably be a good governor.”

    I think we all agree a Buono term would be far better than another Christie term. Yet how quickly we lay down our arms as Democrats — even in one of the bluest states in America.


  29. ken bank

    . . . as I see them. And I am disagreeable when it comes to anybody, regardless of their motives, who promotes a candidate for US Senate who I know to be a reactionary racist and religious bigot as any Ku Klux Klansman or neo-Nazi.

    But don’t fret, I’m putting you on my “ignore list” and leave it to others to draw their own conclusions.

  30. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    Clearly you have already ignored the possibility that having a “reactionary racist and religious bigot as any Ku Klux Klansman or neo-Nazi” as our state’s United States Senator for a year-plus could have a positive impact on the 2014 elections for Democrats, emboldening the Tea Party movement to continue to nominate unelectable Republicans like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Christine O’Donnell and inspiring Democrats to work even harder in every state to retain and maybe even expand OUR majority.

    Conversely, electing Cory Booker is only going to enable him to continue the work of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in moving the Democratic Party further to the right.

  31. Erik Preuss

    Obama would make a visit. But I think you are being unfair to him to act as if he has “failed” Democrats by not coming here. There is a lot going on in Washington, especially in the next three months. Ensuring that the debt ceiling is raised, the country has funding for the next year, and that the sequester is lifted are all more important than campaigning for a candidate that is a long shot at best.

    I have no problem blaming NJ bosses for part of the reason she is trailing, but blaming either the DNC or Obama is very nearsighted in my opinion. The DNC only have a finite amount of money to dump into races, how much money makes this a race for Buono? $5 or 6 million? Maybe, but we don’t know that for sure. They target close races for a reason, to maximize the money they have. If this got to single digits I’m sure they would spend. Similarly, Obama only has a finite amount of time to campaign while running the most powerful country in the world. I agree that it’s shitty he hasn’t issued an endorsement, but again if this race tightens, I believe that will change. Also, if Obama is dead to you, are Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton as well? If not, than you’re a hypocrite.

    We can’t blame Obama for Christie retaining the statehouse, if we want to find a scapegoat look inward: The party bosses, every well known elected official who decided not to run, and to some extent the Buono campaign itself.

  32. Jersey Jazzman (Post author)

    Obama did more than not come to Jersey; his staff leaked they won’t be coming.

    That is a huge blow to Buono, writ large across the front pages of the Sunday Star Ledger.

    It’s a lousy thing to do to her and it makes me angry. It should make all Dems in NJ who want to fight Chris Christie angry as well.

  33. ken bank

    First I read he is not “planning” to come, that does not mean he definitely will not come under any circumstances. Maybe it’s semantics, but I really wouldn’t jump to conclusions. I really would take this story with a grain of salt, especially since the sources are not cited and we do not know who they are.

    Second, does this mean he won’t campaign for Booker either? If he campaigns for Booker, wouldn’t Buono be included with any appearance just as a matter of courtesy?

    Third, is Obama going to Virginia to campaign for Terry McAuliffe, who stands a much better chance of winning than Buono has? If so, then there will be pressure on him to campaign for Buono as well.

    Fourth, thered is plenty of time before Obama has to make a final decision. In the meantime you and others are free to make your feelings known, not just to the White House, but the DNC and DGA as well.

    I’m going to wait and see what happens, but I will really be shocked, and very disappointed, if Obama does not come to New Jersey at all, not even to campaign for his good friend Cory Booker.  


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *