New Jersey's Christie Discounts a Run in 2012
by Charles Lemos, Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 03:21:57 AM EDT
Since becoming Governor of the Garden State, Chris Christie has garnered the praise of conservatives for his "blunt" talk that included calling New Jersey "a failed state." His pledges to bring about ""smaller government that lives within its means" in Trenton-- and to do so without tax increases, declaring "I was not sent here to approve tax increases, I was sent here to veto them" led to laudatory reviews beginning back in April by Bill McGurn in the Wall Street Journal who went so far that Christie was reviving "Reagan Republicanism -- Jersey style." And John Fund also in the Wall Street Journal noted back in May that conservatives "were impressed by a rare chief executive willing to tackle his state intractable problems in an unapologetic manner." Fund was especially pleased that Christie was taking on the "malign influence of the New Jersey Education Association" which Christie has described as "an absolutely out-of-control union that is used to getting everything it wants." And bonus points were awarded for comparing New Jersey to debt-ridden Greece. Others who have written celebratory pieces include George Will and Marc Thiessen.
Still it is McGurn's original piece from back in April in the Journal that perhaps best captures the "blunt talk" from Christie that has conservatives aglow over the New Jersey Governor. Here are a few examples that McGurn had culled from Governor Christie's budget address, public meetings and radio appearances:
The children will be the ones to suffer from your education cuts. "The real question is, who's for the kids, and who's for their raises? This isn't about the kids. Let's dispense with that portion of the argument. Don't let them tell you that ever again while they are reaching into your pockets."
Your policies favor the rich. "We have the worst unemployment in the region and the highest taxes in America, and that's no coincidence."
Why not renew the 'millionaire's tax'? "The top 1% of taxpayers in New Jersey pay 40% of the income tax. In addition, we've got a situation where that tax applies to small businesses. I'm simply not going to put my foot on the back of the neck of small business while I want them to try to grow jobs by giving more revenue to New Jersey."
Budget cuts are unfair. "The special interests have already begun to scream their favorite word—which, coincidentally, is my 9-year-old son's favorite word when we are making him do something he knows is right but does not want to do—'unfair.' . . . One state retiree, 49 years old, paid, over the course of his entire career, a total of $124,000 towards his retirement pension and health benefits. What will we pay him? $3.3 million in pension payments over his life, and nearly $500,000 for health care benefits—a total of $3.8 million on a $120,000 investment. Is that fair?"
State budget cuts only shift the pain to our towns. "[L]et's remember this, in 2009 the private sector in New Jersey lost 121,000 jobs. In 2009, municipalities and school boards added 11,300 jobs. Now that's just outrageous. And they're going to have to start to lay some people off, not continue to hire at the pace they hired in 2009 in the middle of a recession."
Isn't your talk of 'stopping the tax madness' just another 'Read My Lips' promise? "[Mine is] much better than 'Read my lips.' I'm sorry, it's just much better. Much stronger. . . . It's gonna be how my governorship will rise or fall. I'm not signing a tax increase."
Today, Governor Christie dismissed talk that he is considering a run for the GOP nomination in 2012. The story from The Hill:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Monday said you could count him out of a 2012 White House run.
Christie, a Republican Party darling since winning the governorship of deep-blue New Jersey in 2009, was virtually Shermanesque in rejecting a challenge to President Obama in two years.
"We're not running for president, under any circumstances. No chance," Christie said during an appearance on "Imus in the Morning" on the Fox Business Network. "Mrs. Christie would kick me out of the house; it would be over."
Christie's name has been bandied about as a dark-horse contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, much like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), another winner last fall whose victory inspired optimism among Republicans going into 2010's elections.
Republican activists have praised Christie for his blunt approach to politics, including his ambitious proposal to cut spending in New Jersey and his willingness to take on the state's powerful unions.
Despite that praise, Christie emphatically denied any interest in running for the White House.
"Absolutely, entirely, no chance. In other words, Don, don't bet the ranch on me running," he said. "I'll give a straight answer: No shot, no chance."
That pretty much leaves Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and South Dakota Senator John Thune to represent the saner wing of the GOP in 2012.