Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Call to Move Forward

Tomorrow is a dark day for the state of New Jersey. We're about to go from a good progressive governor to one that (in my opinion) wants to bring us back to the Stone Age. To be honest, I am scared for the people of New Jersey. However I know that we will move forward, just as we as a country did after eight years of George W. Bush in the White House. And if he is not effective in moving New Jersey forward, then the progressive grassroots will grow in opposition to him just as we did nationally during the Bush administration.

However it's a call for us progressives to move forward despite where the state government is headed. The Democrats still have a majority in both houses in Trenton and maintain a voter registration advantage in the state of New Jersey. I also don't think that Christie's election means a political shift in New Jersey either. Right now there's a very anti-incumbent attitude throughout the country, and I think that a non-incumbent Democrat with name recognition and the right campaign could have won this election. I have that candidate in mind for 2013 already, and did so before the election (Newark mayor Cory Booker.)

Do I worry about some of the things that Chris Christie will do as governor? Absolutely. Republicans have different priorities than Democrats do. I worry about how Christie will influence the public schools in New Jersey. I worry about Christie easing some of the regulations on businesses. I worry about Christie's socially conservative agenda because his values do not reflect those of New Jersey. As a recent transplant to New Jersey, I do not fully understand the ins and outs of how Trenton works (although I am learning). I am not sure how much the governor can do without the legislature's approval (marriage equality however is not one of them as we learned the hard way.) I am hoping that Christie alone cannot do that much damage.
According to the poll posted The Outspoken Liberal, my own blog, voters narrowly thought that the Democrats in Trenton should work with Chris Christie instead of fighting him. From the beginning, I tended to disagree with my readers there because what bipartisanship entailed in Washington in the last year has been Democrats bending over backwards for Republicans who won't vote for the legislation (watered-down or not) anyways. The Democrats have been willing to work with the Republicans, but in turn they stick their fingers in their ears and start singing. I don't want bipartisanship in Trenton to be like that. A big part of me wants the Democrats in Trenton to give Chris Christie a taste of what the Republicans in Washington did to President Obama.

I think that the Democrats can both work with and fight Christie at the same time. The key is to pick battles wisely. There are several issues in New Jersey that both parties will agree on (such as ending the corruption that is so rampant in New Jersey, fixing budget gaps, lowering property taxes, etc) and several that the parties will disagree on (social issues, the proper role of government's regulatory powers, etc.) Politics is supposed to be about compromise (although lately it seems the compromise has been in one direction). Most people who run for office do so because they want to make their municipality/county/state/country a better place to live and work. How they accomplish or plan to accomplish the common goal is what separates Democrats from Republicans, liberals/progressives from conservatives, etc.

To Chris Christie-I am probably one of your most outspoken opponents and am in no way a voter you would even think of targeting. However I am not going to go all Rush Limbaugh on you and wish failure on you before you take office. I sincerely do wish you luck because New Jersey does need leadership. Throughout my own blog I have called you a lot of bad names, and I really want you to prove me wrong. To Jon Corzine-thank you for serving the people of New Jersey. I hope that you continue to be a progressive voice for New Jersey in your post-political career. You have a unique opportunity to make New Jersey a much better place for progressives everywhere because there are many great progressive causes here. I hope that you find one and sincerely get behind it and help with some much-needed funds. I'll miss you as a governor.

To readers of The Outspoken Liberal , this will be my last blog post here covering state issues. I will continue to discuss state politics (they interest me a great deal, and I hope to one day work in state politics myself) only I will be using Blue Jersey as the forum to do so. As I have done in the past, I will post links to my Blue Jersey on The Outspoken Liberal. Since many of the readers of The Outspoken Liberal do not live in New Jersey, I will use it to discuss issues that matter everywhere, such as health care and the economy.

1 comment:

Eric Reiss said...

Liked your article. However, if Booker still supports merit pay for teachers in a potential 2013 race, he really isn't the outspoken liberal you wish for. Merit pay is a horrific idea that seeks to reward teachers who spend their entire year preparing students for a standardized test. As a former teacher, the opportunities one has to engage students in the messy, frustrating business of examining issues, asking questions and even developing sophisticated writing skills are in great jeopardy when one ties salary to the results of a test. Check out my latest post about Christie and issues facing Newark, NJ at http://newarkjournal.blogspot.com