Sunday, November 1, 2009

In New Jersey, Chris Christie for Governor

On Tuesday, November 3, 2009, I will cast my first ever vote as a newly minted, officially registered political Independent … or, in official jargon, as Unaffiliated with any political party. I will be voting in New Jersey, where Republican Chris Christie is opposing incumbent Democrat governor Jon Corzine. NJ will host one of two gubernatorial elections nationwide. The other is in Virginia.

I hereby endorse, and will be voting for, Chris Christie for New Jersey Governor.

My choice of Christie is not based upon any sort of enthusiasm for the candidate. The reason is simple, and is endemic among modern Republicans – he stands for essentially nothing. NJ Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine gives us a good example of this in a recent piece, N. J.’s Republican legacy leaves Chris Christie on the defensive:

"'We’re gonna have preschool for every child in this state,' Corzine shouted to the party faithful gathered at the headquarters of the United Food and Commercial Workers in Little Falls.

"I’ve already made it clear that I believe Christie has run a dreadful campaign. But let me say something in his defense: Anyone running on the record of the New Jersey Republican Party leadership would have been stuck running a dreadful campaign.

"Take that preschool program. It was initiated not by the Democrats in the Corzine era, but the Republicans in the Whitman era. Right after stating that she ‘got the message’ on property taxes after a close call in the 1997 election, then-Gov. Christie Whitman implemented the first preschool program in a deal with her handpicked Supreme Court chief justice, Deborah Poritz.

"It was the Democrats who got the message, though. Once Whitman was out of power, they knew they could keep expanding the preschool program beyond the 31 ‘special needs’ school districts covered in the court decision. They added more than 100 districts in that new school-funding formula. Yet when Christie states the obvious, that we can’t afford to go through with the preschool expansion, the Corzine crowd issues a press release like the one they put out yesterday. 'Christie would turn his back on more than 8,500 kids across New Jersey,' it stated."

If Christie had established his campaign on a principled base of individual rights and limited, rights-protecting republican government, he could have had the intellectual ammunition to blast the Corzine democrats out of the water. He could have countered that the state had turned its back on the rights of every taxpayer who is forced to pay for the preschool of someone else’s children… including the rights of parents and families who pay the bills for their own children’s preschool. This could have been consistent with the preschool tax credit program for all parents he could have made a part of his campaign platform. Why must he have been “running on the record of the New Jersey Republican Party leadership”?

So, Christie is cut from the same, tired old failed liberal-lite Republican mold – no principles, no firm convictions, no political courage, and no consistent platform that sharply distinguishes him from his openly statist, liberal Democrat opposition. On the issues, his vague incoherent agenda leaves no reason for a pro-freedom American to vote for him.

But there is a very strong reason to vote against Governor Corzine. Actually, there are two. One is his obviously statist, liberal, tax-raising, socialized medicine-advancing record. So, choosing the lessor of two evils, a commonplace tradition in American politics, is a valid reason to vote for Christie. Why vote for Christie, when I refused to vote for McCain last year under similar circumstances? Because, the circumstances are not similar. McCain is a virulent national service proponent, an enemy of the First Amendment and of individual rights, and a national socialist whose basic explicit premises are philosophically no different from Obama’s. Based on what I know of him, Christie appears to hold no firm convictions at all, and so is at least open to be nudged toward the right policy direction. In any event, he may at least be able to stall the statist trend in Trenton, and buy some time for the pro-freedom forces to assert themselves.

But local NJ politics is not the main consideration. Nationally, this year marks a so-called “off-year” election. Occasionally, an off-year election carries significance well beyond the local importance of the contests being waged. This is such a year, on steroids.

The two gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia are shaping up to be an unofficial referendum on the wild orgy of statism that the Washington majority Democrats are engaged in. Thus, the second reason to vote against Corzine, and the main reason to vote for Christie, is – to coin a phrase – “to send a message to Washington”.

If both Republicans win by double-digit margins, it could … repeat could … spell the death knell for ObamaCare, Cap & Trade, and other legislative initiatives of the Democrats extreme statist agenda. The already wobbly “moderate” democrats would sit up and take notice as they eye the 2010 congressional elections, and the bipartisan-minded Republican leadership might get the backbone to actually stand up for what they are supposed to be standing up for – free markets. It would signal that the expanding Tea Party Movement has climbed to the next level – the electoral level.

As the campaign season winds down, the electoral outlook is positive. In Virginia, the Republican Robert F. McDonnell has opened up a 13-point lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, according to Rasmussen Reports. The New Jersey election is muddied by what is widely seen as a Democrat strategy to re-elect the wildly unpopular Corzine by the placing of liberal Corzine political ally Chris Daggett on the ballot as a third party candidate with the purpose of draining the “protest” vote away from Christie.

Corzine’s support is stuck in the lowly 40-45% range, which should spell landslide for Christie. But thanks to Daggett, the polls overall indicate a dead heat. The astute Paul Mulshine reports, however, that at least one pollster has detected a late surge for Christie and simultaneous fall-off for Daggett. This is a common pattern with regards to third party candidacies – voters registering their distaste by pledging support for the “maverick”, only to gravitate to one of the major candidates when it’s actually time to “pull the lever”. Pollster Rick Shafton flatly predicts that “Christie will win by at least 10.”

But the polls don’t always tell the whole story, and this year there is a huge wild card that is linked to the Tea Party Movement. What today passes for the “Right” is the highly motivated side in 2009, in exact contrast to 2008. Just as the TP rebellion is marked by hordes of people who have never engaged in any kind of political street protest before (including yours truly, my wife and daughter, others that I have met, and those who wish they “were there”), so this election could draw out a lot of people who have never voted before. The polls, at least the most respected ones, are based upon likely voters – i.e., those who have a history of actually voting. There may, just may, be an undetected anti-Obama, anti-Washington voter surge that the polls just aren’t picking up.

If so, this off-year election could send a huge message to Washington. We’ll see, but one thing is for sure - a vote for the Republican in either state in this off-year election is a vote against rampaging socialism.

Vote for Chris Christie for New Jersey Governor.

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