Surprise! The Inquirer Endorses Christie

There’s an “endorsement” of Chris Christie for re-election in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer. It’s kind of odd.

While they give him credit for embracing President Obama in exchange for Superstorm Sandy aid, they say in the same paragraph, “he has imposed a measure of fiscal discipline.”

Really?

Let’s look at Christie’s record of fiscal discipline.

At the beginning of his term, he unilaterally cancelled the ARC tunnel, a project that was largely funded by federal aid and would have created tens of thousands of economy-stimulating jobs. That’s fiscal discipline?

After the storm, he unilaterally gave the clean-up contract to a politically-connected Republican firm which charged more that twice as much for debris removal as other reputable firms. That’s fiscal discipline?

When the Affordable Health Care act was affirmed multiple times, Christie turned down federal aid for assisting with the sign-up process. Aid that would be spent in New Jersey and would go back into our economy. That’s fiscal discipline?

After what was to be secret meeting with the Koch Brothers, Christie unilaterally pulled the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, killing 1,800 New Jersey jobs. That’s fiscal discipline?

When it became necessary to hold a special election for United States Senator, Christie decided to squander millions of dollars on a Wednesday vote in order to maintain his own placement on the top line of the ballot. That’s fiscal discipline?

When it came time to appoint a superintendent to run Camden’s schools, Christie chose an inexperienced hedge fund manager and waived the salary cap. That’s fiscal discipline?

The list goes on and on. Apparently, the Inquirer interprets fiscal discipline as “balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class.”

The Inquirer does get a few things right in their “endorsement” pointing out


Christie has wrongly demonized teachers and abandoned a school aid formula that attached funding to at-risk children. And he should forget about an income-tax cut that would favor the wealthy and unnecessarily reduce state revenue.

Christie’s opposition to same-sex marriage and Planned Parenthood funding are retrograde. And he should improve his poor environmental record by replenishing open-space funds and setting more ambitious clean-energy goals.

Christie has also shown an unfortunate tendency to be self-serving.

The editorial mentions that Democratic party leaders have failed to embrace the candidacy of Christie’s opponent, Barbara Buono. What they fail to mention is that one of those Democratic leaders is a part-owner of the paper. And while there’s supposed to be a separation between editorial positions and newspaper management, there’s no doubt in my mind that the “old” Inky would have gone with the right choice and endorsed Barbara Buono

Comments (4)

  1. ken bank

    Referring to fiscal discipline the operative phrase is “a measure of”. Naturally no politician, Republican or Democrat, can ever be considered a poster boy for honest cost accounting and fiscal integrity. Just ask the auditors of the state’s pension fund. If we examined “the books” of Christie’s predecessors regardless of party I’m sure we would find even more examples of fiscal irresponsibility than the ones you cited. Probably the worst offenders were the Whitman/DiFrancesco Administration, who borrowed billions off-budget and then spent money, largely on tax cuts for the rich, like drunken sailors on a credit card binge with no limit. Compared to Whitman, whose accountants used blue smoke and mirrors like the Wizard of Oz to balance the state budget, Christie has been fairly tame and modest with his fiscal shenanigans.

    As to the Arc tunnel, as a NJ taxpayer and NJ bondholder I had concerns myself about it, especially the provision that required the state to cover all costs over and above budget. In fairness to Christie, he endorsed the project when he ran for Governor, and undoubtedly confronted with an economy that was in the tank and advised by financial experts that the prospect of cost overruns would damage NJs credit rating, he did try to get NY and the Feds to agree to cover at least some of the excess costs but they refused. That’s when he cancelled it. Christie is open to an alternative that would not require such a heavy financial commitment from the state, and I believe there is a substitute route being considered by the Feds. Hopefully with Cory Booker there will be a better chance of getting federal support for such a project.

    I realize that federal funds for the project would have provided a significant short-term stimulus to the state’s economy, but for other reasons I won’t get into I’m convinced the long-term risks to the state’s financial stability were greater than the short-term benefits of federal funding. And despite the fact the state’s credit rating has dropped since Christie became Governor, it would have dropped even more if NJ taxpayers were on the hook for potentially billions of dollars in cost overruns.

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  2. mmgth

    The Inquirer’s editorial is bizarre. Five positive spin paragraphs for Gov. Christie and three paragraphs criticizing. Two paragraphs addressing Barbara Buono’s lack of support from the party bosses (one of whom is a part owner of the Inquirer) then praise for her capabilities. Then the last “For all his flaws…”endorsement. Almost like after being instructed on whom to endorse, the editorial page team decided to come up with a sarcastic piece.

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