Wednesday, November 04, 2009
New JerseyRepublican Chris Christie won the governor's office in New Jersey, and this morning the media buzz is all about how this amounts to a rejection of Obama's policies and the policies of Democrats in general. As a lifelong resident of New Jersey, I feel obliged to call this out as nonsense.
Jon Corzine, a multi-millionaire from Goldman Sachs, bought his seat in the Senate and then in Trenton (following the McGreevey collapse). He had the great misfortune to be an incumbent during a deep economic downturn. His Goldman Sachs resume didn't help. He is also a bit of an ass. All of this was more important to the outcome of the election than anything Barack Obama or Reid/Pelosi may have done, or failed to do.
Chris Christie made his name prosecuting political corruption in New Jersey. The good people of New Jersey are bone-tired of corruption. This too was more important than the policies of the national Democratic Party.
However, this is not to say that the Democrats in Washington didn't contribute to Christie's win.
I will admit that Obama has been bold in his response to the financial crisis and to the near-collapse of the automotive industry, but the stimulus legislation fell far short of meeting the short-term needs of state and local governments. Even as Obama was stimulating the economy, state governments have been laying off workers, putting other workers on furloughs, and cutting spending. Obama was too timid in his response to this recession - no doubt influenced by the resistance of Republicans in Congress and their allies, the so-called blue dogs in his own party.
Bottom line, when times are good, even mediocre incumbents do well. When the economy sucks, people vote for change.
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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