Tuesday, November 10, 2009

the case for fighting Chris Christie

Before I start, again I must mention other matters. However this one is a positive note. My previous post on marriage equality was featured on Blue Jersey's "quick hits" list yesterday (and it's still up there today), and I wanted to thank "Hopeful" on Blue Jersey for sharing my blog. It means a lot to me to see this little blog start to gain some traction. I'm still debating on whether or not to focus more on national issues, as I did before, or state and local issues, which ultimately matter more to me (and anyone) than national ones. I'll probably keep it a mix. If you have a preference one way or another, let me know in the comments.

The subject of my latest poll is one that I've been thinking about a lot lately. I still have very mixed emotions on how we as a party should handle Chris Christie. There are two strategies that the Democrats can take-- we can either work with him or fight him. I'm going to argue for fighting him today-- maybe for working with him in a subsequent post. If you disagree on this, as Rachel Maddow would say-- talk me down (in the comments).

The case for fighting him is rather simple and the Democrats already has a blueprint to work from. Even though in Washington, the Republicans have minorities in both the House and Senate. President Obama chose to emphasize bipartisanship after a very nasty campaign in which the opposition went as far as calling him a terrorist (and to this day continue to use such divisive tactics which endanger his safety). In the year since he's been elected and the 10 months since he's taken office, the Republicans have had a say in the legislation that's come to his desk. In the stimulus bill, there was a good chunk of tax cuts (a Republican idea) in the bill. Yet how many Republicans voted for the bill? None in the house, and three in the senate (one of who has since became a Democrat). The health care legislation in Congress (that passed the House Saturday night-- I am sure there will be more on that coming) is loaded with compromises. Hell the public option *IS* a compromise on the original progressive idea of single payer. And that's being watered down.

Of course fighting Chris Christie does have some drawbacks. The issue is CAN we Democrats as a party fight him? First of all in order to engage in a political fight, one must have a spine. With the exception of guys like Alan Grayson (D-FL), the Democrats in Washington do not show any guts. This has been a problem since they regained Congress in 2006. It's now so bad that when a Democrat does "grow a pair" it makes the news. Until recently, I have not paid much attention to the Democrats in Trenton. Locally we have no Democratic representation in Trenton. However the Assembly Democrats recently started to use Facebook and Twitter, so I'll be able to keep an eye on them that way. If we have a party of Alan Graysons in Trenton, we can fight Christie. If we have a part of Harry Reids, we can't.

Chris Christie is not exactly coming to Trenton with a clean slate. As a Bush US Attorney who kept his job, he took orders from Karl Rove to prosecute Democrats for political reasons. I was not living in NJ at the time, but when Senator Robert Menendez was up for re-election in 2006, Christie brought corruption charges against him that were mysteriously dropped after the election. Christie has already gone on record saying he would love to replace Senator Menendez (who is not up for re-election until 2012). I just hope that the Democrats in Trenton give Christie a taste of his own medicine.

If the Democrats win this fight, we have a victory-- a one-term governor. Christie knows that the great Newark mayor Cory Booker is waiting in the wings, and could energize the Democratic base to get to the polls the same way that President Obama did.

No comments: