Author Archive: deciminyan

Credit Where Credit is Due

Let's give the Governor some credit for toning down the rhetoric during his interview on Good Morning America today. He handled the softball questions very well and made New Jersey look good, especially in comparison to the spoutings of some of his other Republican gubernatorial peers. But I wish Stephanopoulos would have asked him why he demonizes public servants.

 

Christie in a Cloud

Word clouds are images representing the frequency of the occurrence of individual words within a text. The more often a word is mentioned, the larger the word appears in the cloud.

Below is a word cloud of Chris Christie’s State of the State address. A larger rendition can be found here. There isn’t a microscope in the world powerful enough to find the word “jobs.”

Democratic Response to State of the State Address

It seems like Governor Christie’s State-of-the-State oration is posted on a gazillion internet sites, while the Democratic response is difficult to find. Bill Orr posted some responses yesterday.

Below are two videos, one from NJN where Michael Aron interviews Senator Sarlo and Assemblyman Cryan right after Christie’s address.  The second video is from the Star-Ledger and is a press conference among several Democratic leaders commenting on Christie’s assertions.

From NJN:

From NJ.com:

Style: 10 – Content: 0

Cross-posted from deciminyan.org

What do you get when you try to emulate the two worst American presidents in my lifetime? The answer is simple – Governor Chris Christie. His recent State of the State address made it clear that he is channelling both Ronald Reagan and George W Bush.

Chris Christie’s rise to prominence was due to his role as a second-tier player in the disastrous administration of George W Bush. As a loyal fundraiser for Mr Bush, Christie was appointed to the post of US Attorney for New Jersey despite his lack of criminal law experience. In an era when US Attorneys who refused to do the political bidding of the President and the Attorney General were summarily fired, Christie thrived.

Like Reagan, Christie is a master orator with limited substance. In his address to the New Jersey legislature, he resurrected the Gipper’s “shining city on the hill” to inspire his audience (or at least those on the right side of the aisle) without any specifics.

But Christie is emulating his two idols in more than substance. He is following their reverse Robin Hood policies to enrich his wealthy cronies while placing the burden on the middle class and the poor. In his State of the State address, Christie’s credibility is stretched when he claimed, “State taxes are lower- for the first time in a decade.” Although this is true if you are a wealthy New Jerseyan, as the Star-Ledger points out, if you are a low-wage earner, your taxes have gone up in the Christie administration.

Christie’s popularity in the state and nation are products of his oratory, a mainstream media which only recently has challenged his half truths, and a persona that is unique among politicians whose waffling on issues is usually done in the public arena. One thing I do believe is his assertion that he is not running for president in 2012. His political calculation is based on the economy’s improving, leading to an Obama landslide, or the economy’s tanking, leading to a more demagogic Tea Partier winning. But I have no doubt that Christie has his eye on the prize in 2016, and as Barack Obama did in 2004, the governor wants to make a splash on the national stage by delivering a rousing keynote address at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Today’s State of the State speech was a tryout for that position, and in that respect, the governor hit a home run.


Postscript

My apologies to Richard Nixon who only came in third as the worst president in my lifetime. Your overtures to China and some of your environmental policies saved you from a more dubious distinction. But your impeachable criminal actions leading to a pre-emptive resignation lock you in as number three.

Jon Runyan on the Issues

As of Monday night, Congressman Jon Runyan’s official web site is pretty clear on his positions on key issues:

On Defense and National Security:

The issues of Defense and National Security are important to our district and to my work in Congress.

On Economy and Jobs:

The issues of Economy and Jobs are important to our district and to my work in Congress.

On Education:

The issue of Education is important to our district and to my work in Congress.

And it goes on and on with similar words for other key issues.

I understand Congressman Runyan has been busy. He’s attended several fundraisers during the first week of the congressional session. And he did cast a vote to advance the bill that denies health insurance to millions of Americans.  But as a constituent of this neophyte congressman, I’d like to see his official positions on all of the issues. With the web being the primary public view into his positions, is it too much to expect that this part of his web site would be populated from Day One?

Of course, what’s happening here is that his staff loaded a standard congressional template with the intent to fill these in at some later time. Maybe someone from his staff monitors Blue Jersey. So if you’re out there, how about posting that information? I suspect we will disagree on most issues. But there are probably some that we will agree on. And I’d like to let you know that, too.

News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, January 10, 2011

Governor Christie Delivers his State-of-The-State Message on Tuesday

Our New Next-Door Governors

Advertising on New Jersey’s School Buses

Tucson Terrorism

“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”

Doling Out the Assignments in the 112th

Prisons

The Standoff Continues

Gambling with our Future

Christie leaves the state again

Snow Roundup & Open Thread – Friday, January 7, 2011

Rosi is under the weather today – here’s an abbreviated roundup.  Feel free to add more links in your comments.  Get well soon, Rosi.

Republicans Worship and Ignore the Constitution

Maybe they should have stuck with the party’s agenda instead of partying. Or maybe they are trying to emulate South Jersey’s new congressman, Jon Runyan.

Trimming government…

…starts at home.

Double Dipping

The LG is not walking the talk these days.

Our “Pass the Buck” governor passes the buck(s)

Quiite literally. While advancing his political agenda at the expense of commuters.

He’s a Rocket Scientist

And a rock star in congress. He knows what he’s talking about. Will the TSA listen?

Republican Infighting?

Is “to schundler” the newest verb in our vocabulary? Will the new GOP chair be able to herd the (Tea Party) cats?

What do Chris Christie and Joe Biden have in common?

Ask a blue hen.

Dumbing Down

Governor Christie’s War on Education has taken another step in his race to the bottom.

You’ll recall his amazingly arrogant single-handed abrogation of the agreement that was negotiated between the teachers’ union and former Education Commissioner Bret Schundler. Not wanting to show any hint of compromise with the union he vilifies, Christie botched the federal funding application at the last minute, resulting in a loss of $400 million to New Jersey taxpayers and more importantly lost opportunities for our state’s children.

The governor’s ego is such that he resents the fact that any state employee can garner a salary greater than his, regardless of market conditions. So he’s directed his county executive superintendents to reject any district’s superintendent salaries that are higher than the governor’s. This, despite the fact that the governor has been in office for one year while many of these education professionals have advanced degrees and have served their districts over the course of a career. For someone who believes in small government, it seems inconsistent that Christie usurps the hiring decisions from local school districts.

Now, the governor is taking the next step in dumbing down our school systems and promoting his cronies into jobs for which they are unqualified. His administration is proposing to reduce the required credentials for appointment to a superintendent position. The new threshold for appointment would be only a bachelor’s degree (in any field), some management experience, and no criminal record. (Current requirements include having a master’s degree and certain educational credentials and experience.)

This opens the door to enable those in political power to continue to appoint individuals with dubious qualifications to important posts. While the guy who runs the coffee bar at my WaWa down the street is a wonderful person and has the credentials that Christie requires, I don’t think he would be the best candidate for my district education superintendent. Nor, I fear, will be the Christie cronies with their for-profit privatization agendas either.

Jon Runyan – Career Politician

One of the things new Congressman Jon Runyan constantly harped on during his campaign against one-term Democrat John Adler was that Runyan was not a “career politician.” To me, a career politician is one who puts his own well-being ahead of those of his constituents, one whose top priority is re-election rather than service.

By this definition, Runyan crossed the line from your average NFL offensive tackle to career politician even before he was sworn in. He recently held a fundraiser where the price of admission was up to $50.000. Now, I wasn’t there, so I can’t say for certain, but I’ll bet the folks who attended were wealthy corporatists, bankers, oil interests, and insurance executives from across the country.

I’d also bet that there were no schoolteachers, firefighters, or any representatives of New Jersey’s thousand of unemployed citizens at the event.

During the campaign, Jon Runyan promised to serve the people of his district. With hundreds of thousands of dollars coming into his campaign coffers from outside the district, this promise rings hollow.