Headlines of the Day: Wisconsin (Scott Walker) & New Jersey (Chris Christie) editions

Scott Walker, please come home

              – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Zzzzzz. As the Christie campaign heats up, the Christie statehouse sleeps

               – Matt Katz, NJ Spotlight

In Wisconsin’s most respected daily, look what opinion writer Ernst-Ulrich Franzen is complaining about with 2016 hopeful Gov. Scott Walker; legislators in his own Republican party that can’t agree, a mess of a budget driven entirely too much by the pet projects and policy wants of GOP members, and serious problems that have worsened back home with him away.

Sound familiar?

Yesterday, Matt Katz, one of Christie’s more alert trackers filed a post suggesting Christie’s front office is actually in sleep mode. With Christie, the problem is there’s been a lot of big talk about “big things” that just aren’t happening; overhaul of the public worker pension system, an inadequately-funded Transportation Trust Fund, vacancies galore, a new tunnel to NYC, Common Core policy that really hasn’t made it out of the study commission stage. There’s less interaction with the public and the press; the ‘town halls’ he promised every week till the budget passed are nowhere, and he’s only had 2 press conferences this year (compared to 8 by this time 4 years ago). Port Authority post-Bridgegate is still a problem, and transparency there an issue but certainly not one he’s on top of.  And the bromance with Steve Sweeney – which was somewhat productive, if also destructive – is so over Taylor Swift should be writing a breakup song about it.

Fact is, Christie’s just not here. He’s off trying to get another job – a bigger one – which means sometimes speechifying in other states that are better run and more economically sound than New Jersey is.

Usually, people who run for president have the gravitas of launching from a platform of success. Christie can’t claim that, and there are signs he’s traded on that past its sale date. Despite his big personality, he’s not generating big crowds anywhere in the early primary states. And at home,  Christie’s at 30% approval (it’s free fall). Nobody here can claim that Christie goes out campaigning elsewhere unannounced like Walker (Christie only disappears unannounced when he goes under general anesthetic for surgery out of state and fails to secure NJ with LG Guadagno).

But let’s face it. There is no stewardship at the executive level in New Jersey right now. Christie, micromanager and attention hog that he is, has not allowed Kim Guadagno to do much of substance or develop much state-level governing muscle (which is frankly insulting to her IMO). Things are bad here, and the governor is literally elsewhere.

Today’s Asbury Park Press, a paper generally friendly to Christie, is now beyond noting the governor’s absence. He’s lost so much support on home territory that APP is questioning whether he can continue to govern New Jersey whether he runs for governor or not.

I did not see that coming, not from them. Are they reading this stuff up in New Hampshire? Iowa? The Garden State?

Note: I owe credit to puddytat at Daily Kos for flagging that major Wisconsin headline; it’s in DK’s daily ‘Recommended’ email.

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