Author Archive: iwood

How Does the NY Times Know?

I was struck by this line in the endorsement of Cory Booker for Senate by the New York Times:

[H]e has worked well with Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, on areas of agreement in crime, development and education. That ability to work with the political opposition could be an asset for Mr. Booker if the ice age of a divided Congress ever ends.

First of all, how is Chris Christie the “political opposition” of Cory Booker?  Sure, they’re in different parties but Booker decided early on not to run against Christie, and Christie has done little more than stand next to Booker while Mark Zuckerberg handed over a $100 million check (none of which has gone to classrooms, by the way).  If Booker was really able to work with and convince Republicans to his side, why couldn’t he get the Governor to work with him on gun violence — an issue the NY Times specifically praised Booker for?

Second of all, both Frank Pallone and Rush Holt have worked with Republicans for many issues.  Sandy aid, for which all political benefit accrued to Christ Christie, is one even during the “ice age of a divided Congress.”  Earlier in the endorsement the NY Times called Holt “the most able legislator among them” which is not a possible description for someone who can’t work across the aisle.

But most importantly, Shelia Oliver, Pallone and Holt have spent their careers in legislative positions that require working with Republicans, the “political opposition.”  Each of them has had to get along, has voted with, has co-sponsored bills with Republicans.  

Booker’s entire political career has been in Newark where the Democrats rule completely from the neighborhood to Council to Mayor to the legislature to Congress.  As a legislator on the Council he famously did not get along with most of his colleagues, all of whom were of his party.  Last year he tried to force his own candidate to fill a vacancy and the result was a near riot and the opposition of every progressive on the Council.  

Booker has never had to work with Republicans, and the photo ops with Governor Photo Op don’t count because in truth nothing has come from Trenton to Newark as a result of it.  

But Booker has had to work with real political opposition because in Newark being a Democrat doesn’t mean you’re on the same side as other Democrats.  And Booker has proven that he can beat the political opposition in Newark, but he has also proven that he would rather beat them down than work with them.

And that goes completely against the image portrayed by the NY Times’ endorsement.

Hey, Turncoat Democrats! Christie is a Lousy Leader!

Just about every time a Democrat endorses Governor Chris Christie for re-election they say it’s because of his response to Hurricane Sandy (well, except for losing much of the NJ Transit fleet) or that the state needs a good manager in these tough times.

Interestingly, just as Paterson Council President Anthony Davis endorsed Christie by citing “leadership and solving problems.”

The same day we find out that Christie’s leadership of the state of New Jersey has resulted in massive $405 million budget deficit this year (it’s worse: budget shortfall of more than $700M – Rosi). Christie’s “leadership” solution is to raid the Affordable Housing funds from towns around the state, and to push property tax rebates from this month to August — next budget year.

Oh, and he still wants to cut taxes in the face of the deficits.

You want to know why property taxes are up 19 percent in the past three years, far more than under Corzine? Christie’s “leadership.”  Want to know why our unemployment rate is a full point higher than the rest of the country? Christie “leadership.”

And every policy they like about Christie are things that Democratic candidate Barbara Buono supports as well. So with a poor record of success, tricks to balance budgets and no real policy they can point to as different from the Democrat, WTF are these guys thinking?

Well, the reason these people — from Manville’s state employed Mayor Angelo Corradino to Burlington City Mayor Jim Fazzone to Mr. Davis — all endorse against their own party?  Because Christie is nice to them, calls them, flatters them.  It’s like these guys are sophomores in high school and the star quarterback is nice to them in the hallway.  His star brightens their day.

The proof?  Listen to Davis:

“I know that he cares about Paterson and our unique issues – not as a Democratic, Republican or Independent city, but because he believes in a government that acts for all of its citizens. And I know that because he has built relationships that have nothing do with politics and everything to do with leadership and solving problems.”

Ooooh, I got a high five from BMOC! Sure he took my COAH lunch money, and yeah he hasn’t actually done anything for my city, and I can’t get an after-school job because there aren’t any, but maybe now that cute girl will talk to me!

Oklahoma Tragedy

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma announced that the only way he’d vote for support for his constituents who lost homes, businesses, communities and loved ones in the terrible tornado is if other federal funds are diverted.

It’s times like this I am glad to have Senators like Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg who are always the first to step up and be ready to fund disaster relief for Americans who can’t take care of it themselves.

Coburn voted against support for northeastern relief after Hurricane Sandy, and still Menendez and Lautenberg will vote to help these people from Oklahoma.  These Americans from Oklahoma.

Does This Sound Like Anyone You Know?

So, there’s a new biography of an angry, cocky, explosive political figure who for all his seemingly disgusting characteristics was amazingly popular even with those who would normally not agree with him.

[He] “found it impossible to debate any issue. He would state his views and then lose his temper if he was systematically questioned or criticized,” and was “the least likely person in the world to change his mind on any issue he thought was important.” [He] specialized in “screams, tantrums, rapid changes of mood, sulks.”

Rees notes, however, that the “overconfidence” implicit in such behavior was widely “perceived as a mark of genius” and persuaded millions-in part because [he] made “in an extreme form” arguments already in the minds of his … listeners. Was that not a canny use of reason? [He] understood, says Rees, that it’s smart to present oneself as “infallible.” [He] may also have thought it effective to appear volatile. Rees writes that [he]  rooted his hatreds in “an emotionality that was given such free rein as to appear out of control. The ability to feel events emotionally and to demonstrate that emotion to others was a crucial part of his charismatic appeal.”

… [L]isteners, according to Rees, thought of [him] as someone who spoke with “conviction” and an “absolute certainty” that they liked.

When I read this I immediately thought of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, as this description is pretty much a dead on painting of the man.

I’m often amazed Christie has such high popularity when he is a bully, often gross in his reactions, abusive to anyone contradicting him and his public record – high unemployment, property taxes still going up, trying to pack the courts, etc. – is so abjectly terrible.

I considered not writing this because of who the original is about, and I’m not comparing Christie to the person described above because that person is one of the most heinous in history and I don’t believe any of that could happen here or that Christie would ever want any of it.  

But this is just an exercise in how a politician’s gross and exaggerated bad behavior can be attractive to a large swath of the politician.

If you haven’t already figured out who it’s about, visit The Dish.

Could Chris Christie be Rex Ryan?

Sports analogy. Not necessarily my area, unless we’re talking sports movies. But promoted by Rosi, anyway. Update: And ha! Great minds think alike. Joshua Henne last year.

Anyone else think Chris Christie might be just like Rex Ryan?  

Rex inherited a Jets team that was full of good players and on the verge of being good.  For the first two years the team he inherited made the AFC championships — one step from the Super Bowl — and the coach’s bluster, aggressive nature with the media and insulting nature was played off as colorful and popular.  While he was winning, he was a big ball of fun.

But in years three and four things started going downhill.  He claimed that the Jets team he had would win the Super Bowl, but didn’t make the playoffs either year.  People got sick of his banter and boasting, and the media stopped fawning over him.  Now many in the media say he should be fired.

Chris Christie came in the same way.  Quick wins with pension reform, property tax “caps”, changes to teachers contracts racked up a good record.  He screamed down a teacher, insulted a veteran and got in a shouting match on the boardwalk while eating an ice cream — all things that were loved as “frank talk” while Christie was winning.

But now property taxes are still rising beyond inflation, the Meadowlands “American Dream” won’t be ready for the Super Bowl (that the Jets won’t be in), our unemployment rate is improving at the slowest rate in the nation and still two percent above the national average, state revenues are way below his own predictions, and the straight-talking Jersey guy routine may be wearing a little thin.

Last week he was caught calling an African American who challenged him “boy” in a way that was belittling and demeaning, though likely not racist.  A year or more ago Christie might have gotten away with it, but if you Google ‘Chris Christie boy” you get some pretty scathing articles.  

An objective review of the state of the state shows that the Governor hasn’t done a great job, or even a passable job.  Unfortunately there isn’t much in the media tying Christie, who hold the most powerful Governorship in the country, to the results of his work.  As a result he has a high popularity rating.

So, is there enough time in the next seven months or so for Christie’s act to wear thin and become as unpopular as Rex Ryan?  

QOTD: Star Ledger on AshBritt and “Politicization”

Star Ledger gets all snarky on Senator Joe Kyrillos and the Republicans who can’t stand people questioning our King, Chris Christie.

Here’s what Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) said after Friday’s hearing by the joint oversight committee: “There are some who, in their relentless campaign to criticize the governor, will even politicize a natural disaster. That is perhaps the most important lesson from today’s political theater, and it is disgraceful.”

Really? Pardon our skepticism, but this is a $150 million no-bid contract with giant political fingerprints all over it. And this is New Jersey. By what strange calculus is that not worth a hearing or two?

This Shows How Bad the NJ GOP Senate Bench Is

promoted by Rosi

Bob Menendez has had a rough month or so, and it shows in his poll numbers, with disaprovals at a negative five, 41-36.  But what’s truly amazing is who Quinnipiac University polled as the GOP’s 2014 Senate standard-bearer and how it’s being reported.

Here’s Bob Ingle:

In a look at a potential 2014 Senate race, Newark Mayor Cory Booker leads TV personality Geraldo Rivera 59-23 percent. Booker gets a 59-11 favorability rating. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who is retiring, gets a 48-32 job approval rating.

Either the only GOP person they polled was fricking Geraldo Rivera, or the only person the media — this is true in the other three reports I saw — bothers to write about is the guy who opened an empty vault on national TV.

They’ve got nothing, folks. Chris Christie is the Republican Party in New Jersey, and the reason he has no coat-tails is there’s no one to stand on them.

New Jersey Loves The Big Dog

promoted by Rosi

So, apparently New Jersey has soured on Ronald Reagan enough to push President Bill Clinton to the top of the heap.

Bill Clinton is New Jersey’s favorite president of all time, according to a Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll, released this Presidents Day…

Ronald Reagan held the top spot in 2010, when 24 percent of respondents said the nation’s 40th chief executive was their favorite. But that support has eroded to 16 percent this year, according to the poll.

I dunno what Reagan did since his death to piss people off, but losing eight points is amazing.

This whole thing amazes me, that people pick presidents who haven’t been out of office that long.  I mean, Clinton over Lincoln? Washington? Jefferson? A guy who saved the country, a guy who created the country, and a guy who bought three-quarters of the country get short shrift above a guy who pretty much presided over a good economy and weathered terrible partisan attacks.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Bill Clinton too.  He’s definitely my favorite President of my lifetime.  But not of all time.

Just Sayin’, Our Bench Blows Theirs Away

Promoted by Interested Observer: What do you think?

Looking at the roundup for Sunday I was struck by the incredible bench we have in the New Jersey Democratic Party for state-wide national office.  And how thin a bench the Republicans have.

For an open US Senate seat we have: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Congressman Rush Holt, State Senator Shelia Oliver, Congressman Frank Pallone, Congressman Bill Pascrell, State Senate President Steve Sweeney.

The GOP has mentioned running Joe Kyrillos again, or maybe Tom Kean.  Tom Kean’s district mate Assemblyman Jon Bramnick gets a mention, but everyone says, “Who?” Geraldo Rivera even put his hat in the ring, though polls tossed it back at him.

It’d be nice if we were that strong for House seats that should be competitive, especially with the allegedly moderate GOPers here in NJ voting to back crazy Tea Party bills and budgets.  Why can’t we find strong candidates for those seats, fund them well and take back our House majority?

Bob Ingle Takes His Claws Out on Rush Holt

I don’t know what’s up with Bob Ingle and this catty attack on Rush Holt, but it’s a lot of steam without any heat.

With Sen. Lautenberg’s announcement he’s not running again, they’re coming out of the woodwork to test the water and say they may be interested in his seat. One of them is Rep. Rush Holt. Really? Before Holt runs for the Senate he might try to establish a record of accomplishment in the House. Just because his father was a senator from West Virginia doesn’t qualify him.