Has Trenton turned Christie upside down?

Jim McGreevey is Governor Christie’s Ethical Compass?

Govenor Chris Christie at his Belmar Town Hall on July 31. photo by Art Gallagher

Govenor Chris Christie at his Belmar Town Hall on July 31. Photo by Art Gallagher

In the summer of 2004, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie had Governor Jim McGreevey on the ropes.  McGreevey was “State Official #1,” an unindicted co-conspirator in a pay for play scheme that nabbed Democratic fund-raiser David D’Amiano.  A few weeks later McGreevey was resigning, purportedly because he was a “Gay American” who gave his boyfriend an important homeland security job that he wasn’t qualified to perform.

Yesterday, a decade later, Governor Christie is hanging his hat, and his orange sweater, on a McGreevey Executive Order that exempts the Governor from New Jersey’s ethics laws against accepting gifts.

Chris Christie marched into Trenton promising to turn the place upside down. Five years later McGreevey is Christie’s ethical compass.   Not the man McGreevey has become over the last 10 years.  Christie’s ethical compass is the man he investigated and probably could have indicted and convicted.  To paraphrase Christie on the stump for Mitt Romney two years ago, something got turned upside down in Trenton, but it wasn’t the culture of government that Christie promised he would impact and overturn.

About the best thing we can say about Christie accepting gifts of travel on private jets and seats in owner’s boxes at NFL games is at least it was family friendly entertainment with the cameras running, unlike the alleged entertainment U.S. Senator Bob Menendez flew off to on a friend’s private jet.

While running for Governor in 2009 Christie promised to govern as a one term executive without regard for politics.  He would do the right thing regardless of the political fallout.  If the people liked the results, he would be reelected. He would make the tough decisions. He would restore order and fiscal sanity to Trenton.  He would remake the Courts and gut COAH.  He would appeal to the people to pressure the legislature if they wouldn’t go along with the reforms he demanded. “Watch me,” he said.  We did and we cheered.  We pressured the legislature and we voted down school budgets when he asked us to.

We can forgive Christie for breaking his promise to govern without regard for politics, if he ever meant it.  Nancy Reagan and Henry Kissinger whispering in your ear that you are the savior of the Republic has to be heady stuff. But the left turn the Governor has taken on the Boulevard of Compromise turned out to be a dead end for New Jersey and dead end for Christie politically.

McGreevey’s Executive Order probably gives Christie legal cover for accepting hundreds of thousands in travel and football seats from Jerry Jones.  But it is another nail in the coffin of a governorship that started with great promise but has had the wheels fall off in the last year.

Christie is not likely to be elected President in 2016.  It was very unlikely that he would have been nominated before this latest ethical failure.  Unless you’re the son of a president, a Vice President or World War II hero, the Republican Party does not nominate candidates on their first try for the presidency.  If Christie is nominated for President next year he will join such historical figures as Alf Landon, Wendell Willkie and Barry Goldwater as Republican nominees who had not previously competed for the nomination.  Each of them were running against an incumbent.

But what hurts Christie’s chances for the presidency more than the fact that he hasn’t earned the gold watch yet is his record in New Jersey.   “The Dr. Kevorkian of Numbers,” as Christie called the Office of Legislative Services Budget Officer David Rosen turned out to be The Amazing Kreskin and Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff turned out to be Pollyanna in their budget forecasts.

The New Jersey Comeback stalled due to high spending, high taxes and onerous regulation.   There is no prospect for the New Jersey economy coming back in the foreseeable future.   So says former U.S. Senator Bob Torricelli.

During his live TV interview with Steve Adubato last month, Christie said that his decision to run for president rested on the affirmative answer to three questions; 1) Is it right for him? 2) is it right for his family? and 3) is it right for the country?   Adubato followed up by asking how former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s candidacy impacts the decision.  Christie said, “That’s not one of the three questions.”

“Is it right for New Jersey?” is also not one of the questions.  It should be, for the good New Jersey’s future and Christie’s.  Because if New Jersey keeps heading in the direction it is heading, Christie will be remembered like Christie Whitman and New Jersey will continue its steep decline.

Christie’s best shot at the presidency is in 2020 or 2024, IF he leaves a positive legacy in New Jersey.

Christie should compete for the Republican nomination this time out, so he can earn the gold watch for the next time, but he should make his national headlines from New Jersey.  He should focus on producing results like Governor Scott Walker has in Wisconsin and Governor John Kasich has in Ohio.  He should produce the reforms he promised in 2009, or fail fighting for them, as he promised he would.

Most Christie followers will remember his famous “sit down and shut up” encounter with former Asbury Park Councilman Jim Keady in Belmar last November.  Few probably remember what Keady’s message was that prompted Christie’s outburst.   Keady was holding a sign that said “Stay Home and Finish the Job.”

Christie needs to finish the job, whether he runs for president or not.

We’ll know soon if Christie is interested in finishing the job.  Early indications are that he isn’t.  I hope that changes, but if it doesn’t, New Jersey’s Republican Legislative Leaders, County Chairs and sane moderate Democrats need to jump out of Christie’s shadow and get serious about turning the economy of this state around by cutting taxes, spending and regulation on all levels, especially the state level.

Otherwise, there is not going to much left to fight for.

Posted: January 6th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Opinion, Reform Agenda | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

20 Comments on “Has Trenton turned Christie upside down?”

  1. Lets See if Monmouth Republicans Still Support Him In the Legislature said at 3:31 pm on January 6th, 2015:

    I supported CC in 2009. That was the last time I did. Every single day I read more and more ethical lapses regarding this man. This man has no ethical boundaries.

    If I recall when he first ran, he said he would be like no other governor–one of transparency, accountability and disclosure.

    He Lied! He even vetoed a bill making the Port Authority transparent and accountable.

    The bill passed four (4) chambers in two (2) states unanimously in a bi-partisan fashion.

    Now comes the opportunity for our legislators to override him–an opportunity for our legislators to support and defend their original vote.

    Will they do it? Historically, Republicans never did. Why? Are they afraid of CC?

    A failure to override the governor is a vote supporting corruption, non-transparency, and non-accountability.

    We are watching you Senators Kyrillos, Beck, Singer; Assemblypeople, Rible, Casagrande, Angelini, O’Scanlon, Clifton

    We deserve better than this ethical slime ball.

  2. Hopeful APP, Star Ledger, MMM Editorial: "RESIGN NOW!" said at 4:32 pm on January 6th, 2015:


  3. Has Trenton turned Christie upside down? – The Save Jersey Blog said at 6:35 pm on January 6th, 2015:

    […] By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings […]

  4. Name (required) said at 7:50 pm on January 6th, 2015:

    Funny how a person who has something to say on anything anti Democrat has nothing to say now.Bet if Christie was a Democrat and not a Republican he would.What a phony.

  5. Greg Kelly said at 7:54 pm on January 6th, 2015:

    As only Art can do !

  6. Ira Spelvin said at 10:08 pm on January 6th, 2015:

    The Governor’s real character becomes more and more evident. The swagger and sneer will not allow him to hide anymore. At one point he appeared ready to explode. Now a slimmer, healthier governor is on his way toward implosion. The truth eventually prevails.

  7. @Ira said at 10:52 pm on January 6th, 2015:

    I agree with you Ira; however, even with this character becoming more evident, our Republican legislatures here in Monmouth County will not go against him or call him out for his ethical lapses. It tells me quite a bit about them.

    The real test would be their steadfast determination to override this unethical POS regarding the Port Authority Transparency and Accountability veto that governor just signed.

    All legislators–Democratic and Republican signed off on the bill. How can they not override his veto to support their original vote to reform the PA from corruption, waste, and fraud??

    For them not to override–means they are all complicit in Christie’s corrupt and unethical ways.

  8. Kathy Baratta said at 12:12 am on January 7th, 2015:


    That was a good read with some astute observations.

    I used to look at CC and always be put in mind of the toy marketing jingle, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.” Of course that was due to his corpulence rather than his actions.

    However now I have to say that much as John Gotti was the “Teflon Don” who’s charges finally stuck, metaphorically speaking, CC may finally roll over one time too many and be stuck in the crush of his own misdeeds.

  9. In Belmar said at 8:40 am on January 7th, 2015:

    Christie also said when asked a question about dredging the Shark River, “this needs to be done.”

    Nothing is being done.

  10. @In Belmar said at 8:52 am on January 7th, 2015:

    could you say the same thing about his own pension reform law. He refused to stick to his end of the bargain by funding the pension system. The public sector workers fulfilled their share.

  11. @In Belmar said at 9:27 am on January 7th, 2015:

    What needs to be done is that the governor needs to resign. If not, he needs to be recalled!

  12. jrsmith said at 2:41 pm on January 7th, 2015:

    ? why has this site not run the story of freeholder John Curley being passed over for director?

  13. I don't know jrsmith said at 6:08 pm on January 7th, 2015:

    Why don’t you write a story and submit it?

    There are guest authors here.

  14. Greg Kelly said at 7:01 pm on January 7th, 2015:

    Despite it all — if Christie is at the top of the Republican Party in 2016, it’s going to be an easy vote for me over any Democrat.

  15. jrsmith said at 7:09 pm on January 7th, 2015:

    No I just love that the Republican party will be at war with itself here in Monmouth. John is a great man.

  16. In otherwords said at 8:28 pm on January 7th, 2015:

    jrsmith is a coward. Likes to talk the big talk but can’t walk it with an article.

  17. jrsmith said at 8:40 pm on January 7th, 2015:

    o Granelli that hurts coming from a phony like you.

  18. Nowhere is it written said at 8:45 pm on January 7th, 2015:

    that it was anybody’s “turn” to be Director: of this current Board, actually, everyone there now has had a “turn” ( or two) as Director, but Rich and DiMaso. And what does that really mean? You run a meeting twice a month, you sign a lot of documents, and make a whole extra $1,000 for the year. Good grief, so much ado about very little. Before the DEMS started the revolving chairs in 2009, a very few people were director,for many years. Each time the chair revolves, it costs money to put their name on the county check template, largely ceremonial. Don’t worry, a good percentage of registered voters don’t know or care what a freeholder is, let alone cares who the heck got 3, 4, or 5 votes, to be director for a year, and for their own aggrandizement! Gary will be fine, Curley will likely win again anyway, and Serena, who really ought to be the new County Clerk, can be Director,next year.. Let’s move on, now!

  19. Will Sen. Kyrillos Defy the Governor? said at 10:41 pm on January 7th, 2015:

    Looks like pressure and disgust is on Republican lawmakers to override the governor.

  20. Jim Granelli said at 8:58 am on January 8th, 2015:

    You know, I haven’t been around for a few days; don’t see that I have made a comment here on this post.

    So, I find it so sad, actually disturbing that a certain someone has the need to attack me when I didn’t even say anything.

    That’s scary when someone sees demons around every corner and thinks every commentator is me. Is that person so desperate for attention that they have to pick fights for nothing?

    People like that need serious help.