Promoted by Rosi, who is not as convinced as the writer or the first commenter, of the eventual outcome.
As the dog days of Summer set in (actually, it’s pretty cool out today, now that I think about it), the nearly unbelievable extent of the failures of our strong-willed governor have clearly emerged. Here is a man who was elected to one of the most powerful governorships in the nation, yet, after a full term and then some, he’s achieved nothing.
In infrastructure, he failed us. He vetoed the construction of a long-overdue Trans-Hudson link in his first term. Now he’s illegally shuffling around millions to fund repairs on the Pulaski Highway. Public transit fares remain astronomical, especially for those commuting into New York City. I’d say that all of this is due to his “small government” philosophy, but that’s really the philosophy of the Republican Party. Christie has no philosophy, no guiding set of ideas, no overall goals, at least none that do not relate to his national political career. He does like to yell at people who ask him tough questions
In education, he failed us. He appointed Cami Anderson to be Superintendent of Newark’s Public Schools. Her sadism is legendary, her humiliation of Newark’s most noble and community-oriented principals are well known. Her zany “One Newark” plan is not bold reform; rather, it’s setting the children of Newark up for a monumental disaster that will take the city decades to recover from once the experiment is over. Her idea of having tens of thousands of young children commuting all over one of the nation’s most dangerous cities in an effort to promote “competition” has created confusion but will end in tragedy. Under her plan, students will be taking cross-town busses and walking around the city hours before sunrise in the wintertime, and hours after dark for those who participate in extra-curricular activities. Meanwhile, Newark’s once-great network of magnet schools have been completely abandoned as its teachers are forced to spend hours doing administrative paperwork and conferencing with paranoid administrators while students lack mentors.
In public safety, he failed us. Newark, Paterson, Camden and Trenton continue to see the most horrendous and brazen crime and gun violence. Instead of providing maximum leadership and support as the children of our cities are slaughtered in broad daylight, he campaigns in Iowa, backslapping with local farmers a world away from Newark’s melting Springfield Avenue. His dearth of leadership is so bad, so lacking, so utterly without vision that a sort of “alliance” of Jersey’s urban mayors is coalescing to solve the problem. So instead of a state governor who tackles state problems, mayors are now forced into organizing what amounts of a “shadow state government” to confront real, flesh-and-bone, bread-and-butter issues.
As a communicator, he failed us. Christie’s so-called “Town Hall Meetings” aren’t fooling anyone, and in a way, now work against him. Purposely avoiding areas in New Jersey where his leadership is most lacking and where citizens are most angry, our governor glides around the suburbs and rural areas. But occasionally, when he is engaged in debate, he uses the sheer force of his Stalinistic personality to shut critical talk down. He bullies, but it’s irrelevant now. His game is up. America is a democracy, New Jersey is a democracy. Even if you are a powerful governor, to get anything done you need to work with people, to listen to them, to compromise with them. But Christie clearly doesn’t like Democracy; hell, I’d even venture to say at this point, he probably doesn’t even like people. At least those that honestly want to examine issues – and his lack of achievement – in a thorough, public way.
As a disaster coordinator, he failed us, with the issue of Hurricane Sandy Aid and its administration. Here we are, years after the storm, and people are still waiting on help, still living in hotels and trailers. This utter incompetence is well documented. But more disturbing are the allegations made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that the Christie Administration was using Sandy Aid to promote his own political ends. Now this is where Christie could really anger those farmers in Iowa. Farmers in Iowa might not care about bridges and traffic jams, but everyone in America knows that the issue of disaster aid is a collective one. Mass devastation can and does strike in a variety of forms, from the attacks on September 11th to hurricanes to massive floods. The idea that there could be credible evidence that our governor purposefully mismanaged Sandy aid won’t be overlooked. I, for one, believe Zimmer and consider it the luckiest day of Christie’s life that the mayor failed to record the conversations she wrote about in her journal.
And then there is Bridgegate, where the Governor failed us ethically (with a large measure of incompetence thrown in). Really, he just fired Bridget Kelly? He never bothered to call her in, as the state’s chief law enforcement officer, to even ask her what she was up to? This in light of clear and blatant evidence – not suspicion – that she was abusing her powers as one of his political appointees to bottleneck one of the state’s most essential travel and commercial corridors? He should be impeached for that fact alone. But what really bothers me is that at that moment, if we take him at his word, he was more afraid for his own political career, and valued it beyond the lives of his own constituents. And what about the Office of New Jersey’s Attorney General? Not a single investigation of Bridgegate in light of all of this evidence? If there is a more stark example of political interference in the wheels of state law enforcement in our century, I cannot find it.
A lack of vision. A furious temper. A clear pattern of paranoia mixed in with insatiable ambition. And hanging over it all is a consistent practice of complete incompetence. Unemployment hasn’t eased. There hasn’t been any economic growth. Our urban schools stagger. Our cities witness an epidemic of crime and budget cuts.
At this point, I’m willing to venture that there are two directions Christie and his career will go, and only two. There is the very real possibility that Federal indictments will come down against key members of his administration and against him directly by September. If this occurs, if the Feds really close in, then he’s finished, instantly. And if recent history is any guide, we need to remember that governors have been arrested, convicted and sent to prison for all sorts of offenses. Anybody remember former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich? My point exactly.
In the other direction, let’s say Christie gets lucky. He doesn’t get indicted. Then New Jersey will surely suffer, as he will serve out his second term, inflicting upon us more of the same. The national economy and outlook will continue to improve while our situation continues to fester. And as for his presidential ambitions, forget it. Out-of-state Republicans won’t vote for him in large numbers. Don’t even get me started on that. I could just imagine the commercials now.
I will say one thing in the Governor’s defense. We elected him. We did. By a large margin. He’s a problem, but he’s a problem of our own making. And that – the idea of an entire electorate voting for a man who fundamentally stands at odds with its own interests – is a story for another blog.