Saturday, October 31, 2009

Does it really matter who wins the election?

Corzine. Christie. Daggett. In the big picture, in the grand scheme of NJ politics and life, I think they are at best a difference of a few degrees. Does anyone believe that any of these three will be able to make any significant difference in the next four or eight years? I think the best we can hope for is that one of them is able to plant some seeds of change, to steer the ship just a degree or two towards the right direction, so that perhaps some day far in the future we might just get pointed back to port.

Every election in my students’ memory, and my own, has been billed as the most pivotal in a generation, and every one has focused on the same issues. Candidates swear they’ll tackle corruption, lower property taxes, and do something good about transportation and something even better about education. Although our candidates tend to come from moneyed towns like Hoboken or Oldwick, they stop for photo ops in ailing cities like Newark and Camden, stand on some benighted corner and make noise about finally fixing the culture of failure entrenched in these places.


  1. last year we had a 30 bill NJ state budget (actually 32 bill incl the obama dollars.) This year there are rumblings of another 5-8 bill shortfall. That makes the budget around $25 billion. 2 years ago it was $36 bill. In 2 years the budget will shrink by $11 bill. Can anyone tell me that this is possible without major pain????????????????? And who will feel the pain of $11 billion shrinkage? The government, the special interests like the CWA/NJEA/Abbotts, or the taxpayers? guess, please.

  2. The taxpayers, primarily. No big surprise there. I'm sure we will see some superficial cuts in government jobs, just enough to for a headline or two.

  3. I actually do think that there's a chance for major change in New Jersey.

    As you point out, the state is on an unsustainable path in many ways: property taxes, brain drain, housing prices, etc.

    I think it would take someone who was neck deep in the details of policy and who understood the black arts of intimidating other branches of government (e.g., the Supreme Court must be reigned in, Mt. Laurel and Abbot must be overturned, etc) in order to reform New Jersey and make it livable.

    In theory, Chris Christie could be that guy. You need someone with a zeal for reform and mind for minutia.

    To be honest, I don't know if Christie is that guy. I pretty much doubt it. I haven't lived in NJ since 2001. Every time I go back, the quality of life is lower and just getting by seems more expensive. I never miss the Garden State.

    I'm sentimental by nature, so I wish New Jersey hadn't turned into such an intolerable hell hole. I want to miss it.

    Until they turn it into a safe and affordable place to raise a family, it will continue to suck.

  4. A vote for Corzine is a vote for more of the same.
    A vote for Christie is just another flavor of failure.
    A vote for Daggett is a vote for New Jersey.

    Yes, campaign promises are campaign promises. But I've spent time with Daggett while he's spoken to voters, and he comes across as smart and genuine.

    Just last night, he spent over 10 minutes in a restaurant talking with a fellow who didn't know him that well. The guy talked about the need for a Public Option in healthcare, and Daggett respectfully explained why he didn't think it was needed at the time.

    The guy asked if Daggett was going to reduce the bloat of municipal spending, specifically the glut of municipalities and overlap of services. Daggett was straightforward in his response. He said something like, "In 30 years, everyone's been talking about it, but in that time there's been just one consolidation. As much as I'd like to, I can't spend my political capital on this issue. There are 5 other issues that account for 80% of state spending, and I'm going to focus on those."

    Was this the answer the guy wanted? No. Did he appreciate the honest answer? Yes.

    And yesterday afternoon at the Jets tailgate, Daggett heard the frustrations of New Jerseyans. I for one didn't hear one person say that they were happy with the choice of major party candidates. They were very receptive to Daggett and his ideas. The state is ready for a change - it just needs the courage.

  5. What? Daggett is a spoiler whose campaign is being funded by the Dems.

    Politicker story on it.

  6. 2X2L-

    Perhaps Daggett is just a spoiler, though I'm not convinced of that. Call me an idealist, but I think what NJ needs is an independent thinker who is not beholden to either the Democratic or Republican mafias.

  7. John-

    That sort of up front honesty is a big part of what I like about Daggett. He doesn't seem like they typical pandering politician.

  8. everyone thinks that the guy that changes every 4/8 years for some, but mostly four, can do anything against the political bigwigs of the political power counties of Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson and others. Corzine, Daggett, Christie will always have their hands tied. Christie will do nothing for property taxes, our biggest issue. Rebates are BS, they shouldn't even be here, first you take the money, then give it back to me, just don't take it from me in the first place.
    Until you get the lifers out of there, you know the guys that are business as usual, codey, lesniak, bruno, and others, it will never change. If it would, they would of changed it already, but guess what, you don't get re-elected when you don't line the pockets or go against the life-ers in the assembly.