Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 3, 2009
POLITICS: Pay No Attention To The Actual Governor

Jon Corzine promises that if he's re-elected, NJ will not invade Iraq. As Jim Geraghty notes, a guy with a 36% approval rating needs something better than "I'm not Bush" to defend the corrupt and dysfunctional status quo in Trenton, where Democrats have ruled unchecked for years with predictably familiar results.

Chris Christie's victory in yesterday's GOP primary is good news. Christie's the best shot the GOP had, and he's had a spectacular record of hunting down corruption in the state (granted, in New Jersey that's like hunting cows).

One of the interesting potshots from Corzine's speech was focusing on John Ashcroft. I know why he did it: Christie is close with Ashcroft and has drawn some fire for appointing him as a federal monitor as part of plea deals with corporate defendants. It's a silly charge; while I agree broadly that the entire monitor concept is something of a racket, it's been used widely by prosecutors of both parties (it was a similar arrangement that got Deval Patrick hired at ExxonMobil), and it's fairly ludicrous to argue that a man who'd served as Attorney General, Governor and Senator was not qualified for the job.

But what makes it politically interesting is the assumption that Ashcroft is universally unpopular with moderates; I'm not so sure that's true anymore. Ashcroft's DOJ was a model of professionalism and aggressive law enforcement, and only looks better compared to his famously inept immediate successor, and if anything moderate voters have heard a lot since 2004 about some of the settings in which Ashcroft's pushback established the outer legal limits on some of the more controversial Bush Administration anti-terror policies (an unpleasant, but necessary role for the AG to sometimes perform). We'll see if using Ashcroft as a boogeyman is effective, let alone effective enough for New Jersey residents to decide that they'd prefer more of the same disastrous tax-spend-steal policies to electing a guy who knows John Ashcroft.

UPDATE: Geraghty also notes that the centerpiece of Corzine's campaign in 2005 was a promise to cut taxes, which - like all such promises from Democrats - he broke, leaving the state with the nation's highest tax burden.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:16 AM | Politics 2009 | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

"Chris Christie's victory in yesterday's GOP primary is good news. "

Could be, if the Republican Party acted like a normal party that is interested in winning elections. Unfortunately, that is not the actual Republican Party. As we saw with the consternation over the Crist decision in Florida, we are now going to be subject to a long period of whining and withholding of support from Christie by "conservatives" (Lonegan supporters) because Christie is a moderate. See, e.g., here.

Looks like the Republicans base - Lonegan supporters - would rather have Jon Corzine as Governor than Chris Christie. The Red State folks are most likely proud of such people for standing up for good conservative principles. They'd rather whine about Democrats in power than elect Republicans.

Posted by: A.S. at June 3, 2009 1:21 PM

Lonegan was immediately supportive of Christie, I think most of his supporters will be as well, that guy notwithstanding.

WTF are you talking about re RedState? We didn't take an official side in that race but most of us are supportive of Christie. New Jersey is not Florida. You seem unable to comprehend that distinction.

Posted by: The Crank at June 3, 2009 1:28 PM

Lonegan has fierce support from pro-lifers, no doubt. But if you think, in a fit of pique, they'll stay home and see another Corzine term, you're high.

Give them (us, really) a little time.

Now whether the hole the Donks have dug us here in NJ can even begin to be filled--by Christie or anybody else--is a different story. I'm afraid so much of the corruption has become institutionalized here that there isn't much to be done short of a taxpayer revolt.

Somewhere along the way, we forgot that state workers work for us and not the other way around.

Posted by: spongeworthy at June 3, 2009 4:06 PM

"But if you think, in a fit of pique, they'll stay home and see another Corzine term, you're high."

Of course they will. The Purists threw away a Republican Senate seat in Pennsylvania (not once but twice, when they threatened Tom Ridge to stay away from the race), they are threatening to throw away a Senate seat in Florida, so why would they not throw away a governorship in NJ?

As a soon-to-be NJ resident (out of Paterson's frying pan and into Corzine's fire), I don't see any difference between the Purists in Pennsylvania and Florida and those in NJ.

Posted by: A.S. at June 3, 2009 8:29 PM

One old Corzien advantage, money, may not be there as readily as previous elections. He was estimated at $175 mil in wealth at the end of 2008. Could he spend another 50 mil on a vanity race? I doubt even 50 mil is goign tomake up for ineffective ledership.

Posted by: son of brock landers at June 4, 2009 9:26 AM

A.S., I think voters are usually less purist and more pragmatic in Governors races than in Senate ones. The Senate, by it's nature, provides more opportunities for ideological purity, whereas Governors need to balance their budgets somehow, so they almost always wind up compromising.

New Jersey has persistently been the place Republican hopes and dreams and money go to die, but I think this time they actually ought to win.

Posted by: Jerry at June 4, 2009 9:35 AM

I don't see any difference between the Purists in Pennsylvania and Florida and those in NJ.

Welcome, A.S.. Now look around your new home and count how many purists surround you. I'll make it easy: The number is Not Enough to Matter Here.

We wouldn't be in this condition if there were. The GOP in NJ has been more than happy to pig out on the Donk leftovers. I doubt if Christie's much different either, but he's better than Corzine.

Posted by: spongeworthy at June 4, 2009 12:31 PM
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