Tag Archive | "Governor Chris Christie"

A Bridge Too Far

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The epic story of the largely unsuccessful efforts of Allied airborne forces to seize control of bridges leading into Germany in an effort to accelerate the end of World War II in Operation Market Garden was recounted in the movie of the same name.  Much of the film’s drama focused on the heroic efforts of British forces to hold a bridge vital to the Operation’s objectives.

 

They say that “what goes around comes around.”  And strangely, in the year 2014, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie finds himself in the same circumstances – feverishly attempting to hold onto his reputation and national profile in the face of a mounting scandal surrounding the circumstances of the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge.

 

Just when everything was coming up roses for the Governor, and it looked like he would be the front runner for the Republican Party’s nomination for President in the 2016 election – something went horribly awry.  News that the lane closures may have been political retribution for refusal by Fort Lee’s mayor to endorse the Governor’s reelection bid began as a spark and quickly fanned into a five-alarm blaze.  As the story unfolded, the liberal news media broadcasts seized upon the opportunity to defame a Republican who might have the ability to appeal to voters in “blue” states.  Democratic stalwarts in Washington smiled, and it was springtime for the Obama Administration that had been plagued by scandals, Obamacare, and political ineptitude since the President entered his second term.

 

Suddenly, the once bombastic Governor, renowned for his blustery, in-your-face style, found himself on the defensive and, in true politician fashion, blamed overzealous staff members – echoing the words of other leaders including President Obama in the face of scandal.  In an attempt at damage control, the Governor fired responsible staff members and met with reporters for more than an hour at the Statehouse during which he categorically denied any knowledge of the actions surrounding the lane closures.

 

There’s an old saying about s–t – “the more you stir it the more it stinks.”  An apology from a Governor perceived by many as a “bully” was tantamount to pouring gasoline on a fire.  And, his denial of any knowledge about the lane closures was a challenge to those who would relish proving him a liar.  Perhaps, the Governor’s course of action since the story broke has not been the right one.  Perhaps, others like Donald Trump or the Duke, John Wayne, could have given him better advice like “never apologize it’s a sign of weakness.”  Perhaps, simply firing the staffers with no explanation would have better served the Governor’s long-term interests.

 

Yet, as innuendo and revelations continue to drip, any hopes that Governor Christie has of rebounding and capturing the Republican nomination for President in 2016 are cast into serious doubt.  These are the hard lessons you learn in the political world, one or which is that honesty is not always the best policy.  Just ask Ozzie Myers, one of the politicians caught in the Abscam snare in 1980.

 

But alas, the damage has been done and there is no turning back.  Governor Christie is left with the same instructions as those given the brave soldiers in “A Bridge Too Far, “hold until relieved.”  Whether or not he fares better than Operation Market Garden remains to be seen.

 

Addendum: The Italian Lesson

 

Those of you familiar with me know that I have been dabbling in the study of Italian for a number of years.  I frequently enter text in Italian or English into Google Translate, often with hilarious results.  Below is an example:

 

Entry

 

Governatore Chris Christie spiega a il  Italiano Americano Associazione nel Trenton, New Jersey, cosa successo.

 

Appena un momento per favore, vorrei spiegare il situazione. non dissi vicino il ponte, Io detto, vicino il fridge, qualcuno fa no capisce inglese, e ottengo in culo!

 

Translation

 

Governor Chris Christie explains to the Italian American Association in Trenton, New Jersey, what happened.

 

Just a moment please, let me explain the situation. I did not say close the bridge, I said, close the fridge, someone does not understand English, and I get it in the ass!

 

Christie Stands Down Heckler

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Regardless of one’s opinion of New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie, he cannot be accused of being a shrinking violet. I offer as evidence this video of a scene that played out this past Tuesday at a campaign event for Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman in Los Angeles.


 

The Revolution Begins in New Jersey

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In what could be the brush fire that ultimately engulfs an entire forest, New Jersey voters turned out in surprising numbers yesterday to defeat proposed school budgets throughout the state.  With reported turnouts of more than double the previous year, New Jerseyans gave a resounding “No” to more than 55% of all proposed budgets statewide.  In some counties, such as Somerset and Hunterdon, virtually all proposed school budgets were defeated.


In a typical year, voters approve approximately 70% of all school budgets.  This year, however, concerned by escalating property taxes (among the nation’s highest) and a continuing economic downturn, voters eschewed the pleas of local school boards and officials.  Additionally, the election results send a clear message to elected officials at the local, county, and state levels that the New Jersey populace agrees with Governor Chris Christie that it is time to tackle the heretofore untamed monster of rising salaries and costs associated with providing benefits and pensions to educators and government workers that threatens to rob future generations of their American dreams.


Pension and health insurance obligations for retirees from school districts, police departments, municipalities, and county and state government loom as drags on future economic growth and shackles on future taxpaying citizens of New Jersey.  To make matters worse, many of these same people may choose ultimately to leave the State after they retire, selecting for their residences low-tax states that have been more fiscally responsible and have not mortgaged their futures on unfunded pensions and other liabilities.


When the bill on these future liabilities comes due, the taxpaying residents and businesses of this State – if there are any – will certainly be less than happy that decades past of elected, appointed, and hired officials and leaders have squandered tens of billions of taxpayer dollars for fear of being branded as anti-education, anti-law enforcement, anti-environment, or any of a number of other “sacred cows” that have been created in this State and elsewhere.  Those future residents will wish that previous holders of the public trust had taken on the unions and entrenched interests that too often dictate policy in our State, reduced expenditures, eliminated excesses, and funded mandates.


The reality is that there is but a tenuous connection between dollars spent on taxpayer-funded programs and results.  If spending money could produce results, the schools in Newark, Elizabeth, and Camden, to name but a few districts, would be producing world-class scholars.  Sadly, taxpayer dollars are to those who spend them nothing more than “other people’s money.”  A significant proportion of school budgets past have been spent on infrastructure including artificial turf playing fields and other athletic facilities that rival those in professional sports.  While such facilities may be desirable, their impact on student education is dubious.  School administrators and government officials at all levels need to treat such expenditures as if the funds used were their own.  Were that the case, we would surely witness a level of fiscal responsibility heretofore unseen in our State.


And so, as taxpayers we can hope with some justification that the 2010 school budget elections may provide the spark to help us begin to retake control of our shared financial destiny.  Sweeping changes are needed, as well as leaders with the fortitude to propose and oversee them.  It is not, however, easy or painless to oppose a “sacred cow,” much less the herd with which we are faced.  If we as a State do not seize this opportunity, however, many of us will be among the retired teachers, police officers, and New Jersey government employees who relocate to Delaware, North Carolina, or another state that has been more diligent with its taxpayers’ money. 

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