Category Archives: middle-class families

OP-ED: Governor Rex Christie

In light of the big game tonight, Josh Henne sent me a link to this op-ed he wrote on the striking similarities between Rex Ryan & Chris Christie. It appears over at PolitickerNJ:

In a sea of vanilla coaches and milquetoast politicians, Jets Coach Rex Ryan and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have burnished reputations for bluster, bullying and bombast. They’re tailor-made for the attention-deficit, me-first, sizzle-over-substance society we live in. A splashy quote, a bold claim with a curse-word thrown in for good measure…and bickety-bam you’ve got a nice hit on the nightly news or a clip to go viral online. Sure, these two men can be considered refreshing. But so is a colonic. And you certainly don’t want to deal with either on a daily basis.

It stands to reason these two larger-than-life characters stand out – because Christie and Ryan both furnish the media with quality copy and soundbites. However, there’s a fine line between being charming and becoming a caricature of yourself. And leaders are afforded a short rope before folks start realizing the rhetoric doesn’t match the results. In recent months, Christie and Ryan have planted their feet firmly on the wrong side of both accounts.

The beauty of both politics and the playing field is that these arenas are results-oriented. The metrics of wins and accomplishments are the only ones that matter. It’s not just about who can talk the biggest game. And the shtick employed by both Christie and Ryan runs thin once you scratch the surface of their swagger.

No one remembers football teams who never make it to the big game – no matter how many times their coach promises a trip to the Super Bowl. Rex believes if he yells loud enough folks will forget choking in the conference championship or failing to even make the playoffs. If Ryan makes himself the story, perhaps fans won’t notice his team regressing or his quarterback failing to grow.

In politics, its hard to take someone seriously who hogs the spotlight, bashes his own state to pander to Iowa crowds and tosses the word “hell” into public statements like a twelve-year old who just discovered cursing. It’s difficult to believe someone is authentic when they pack taxpayer-funded townhall meetings with partisan backers and care more about generating youtube moments than results. It’s hard to take Governor Christie at his word as he pledges poverty when cutting essential programs, yet miraculously finds funds to give handouts and bailouts to casino execs, mall developers and those at the tippy top of the economic strata.

The words “doing the big thing” are often shouted to the rafters by Chris Christie. Yet if you look at actual results, he comes up small every time. New Jersey lags the nation when it comes to employment. And no matter how many times Christie claims he hasn’t raised taxes, all anyone has to do is hold up a train ticket, scan a tuition bill from a state university or look at their property taxes to see swelling costs.

Both Christie and Ryan have an amazing ability to change the topic following failures. Rex shoots off his mouth after a loss, giving excuses while still calling his team the one to beat – no matter how badly he was outcoached by those who might not be as flashy, but have more substance. When Christie skipped town with an historic blizzard bearing down on his state, the governor refused to take responsibility and even blamed local mayors when he finally came home from his Disney vacation. When New Jersey’s children lost $400 million in Race to the Top funding because his administration bungled a simple application, Christie first blamed Barack Obama and then threw his own Education Commissioner under the bus.

Chris Christie might not share Rex Ryan’s predilection for sucking on toes. But the governor does spend an inordinate amount of time and energy sucking up to the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and corporate lobbyists. And that’s a far more nefarious fetish. Because these one-percenters are seeking to scale back regulations in order to better their bottom line – even if it means poisoning New Jersey’s land, air and water. In Christie’s New Jersey, middle-class families find themselves in harms way time and again.

Like Rex Ryan, Christie’s image as a take-charge guy rings hollow when you see the rudderless execution of plans. Womens’ health, infrastructure improvements and education efforts have all been defunded. Cops and firefighters receive pink slips, while crime escalates. And Christie has no vision for the future – as evidenced by cancelling the ARC Tunnel linking to Manhattan which would have taken cars off the road, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, raised home values and created 6,000 immediate jobs and 45,000 future jobs.

On the playground, the cardinal rule is that when you’ve got a big mouth you’ve got to be able to back it up. The quickest way to shut up a bully is to call them out. And for all their blunt statements and bold claims, folks are finally catching onto the Christie-Ryan playbook. The coach and the governor have both elevated the bar with inflated achievement to the point that even slight improvements would seem mundane when the tale of the tape is truly told. More and more, their exhortations are being met with eyerolls and yawns.

With his annual guarantees of a Super Bowl victory, yet failing to even make the playoffs this year, Rex Ryan is clearly no second coming of Joe Namath. And Chris Christie…well, let’s just hope he goes the way of Sarah Palin. A one-term governor with a big personality who burst onto the national scene and became addicted to the adulation to the point of diminishing returns and eventual ridicule.

What society needs – in all facets of life – are leaders of substance focused on results, not their own ego or personal gratification. Clearly, Coach Ryan and Governor Christie care more about creating headlines than making a real difference. We should treat them like a parent dropping off a crying kid at nursery school. All they want is attention, so if we just walk away hopefully they’ll get the hint and cut the act.

Josh Henne is a Democratic strategist and a Giants fan.

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Filed under Arc Tunnel, bullying, cops and firefighters, Gov. Chris Christie, Josh Henne, middle-class families, New Jersey, NY Giants, NY Jets, Op-Ed, PolitickerNJ, Rex Ryan, Super Bowl, women's health issues

SENATOR BUONO’S STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR’S POCKET VETOES

TRENTON – Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) released the following statement regarding the Governor’s pocket veto of S-668 and S-3072. S-668 would have provided New Jersey residents who save for their children’s college education through a state-administered college savings plan with a state income tax deduction for their investments. S-3072 would have promoted the establishment of partnerships between institutions of higher education and the business community to increase collaborative research and innovation:

“In these tough economic times , when middle-class families are constantly worried about how they will put food on the table let alone how they will pay for their children’s education, it is indefensible that the Governor has vetoed legislation that would have provided incentives to parents to save for their children’s college education as well as legislation that would have strengthened educational opportunities for the state’s college students, so that they may gain invaluable skills to find good, well-paying jobs.

“By providing families with a tax deduction of up to $10,000 for putting money into their children’s NJ BEST account, S-668 would have encouraged parents to save for their children’s futures. The Governor’s short-sightedness could cost New Jersey’s children and their parents the ability to pay the increasing costs of college, making our future workforce much less prepared for a global economy.

“During Governor Christie’s State of the State address, he touted the need to provide a competitive environment where businesses would choose New Jersey over other states to grow and expand their businesses and to create jobs. His actions speak louder than his words. By pocket vetoing S-3072, he has ignored an opportunity for businesses to partner with academic institutions, such as New Jersey’s colleges and universities, to drive innovation in the state. Not only would this program have helped New Jersey’s students develop skills to prepare them for careers in high-demand sectors, it would also have strengthened our workforce, making the Garden State a more attractive place to start and grow a business.

“As we move into this new legislative session, I hope that Governor Christie puts aside partisan politics, and supports legislation that would truly benefit New Jersey’s children, middle- and working-class families and businesses looking to create jobs that are actually in demand and increase economic security.”

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Filed under college education, Gov. Chris Christie, middle-class families, NJ Best, pocket veto, press release, Senator Barbara Buono, State of the State Address, Trenton NJ

President Obama’s Weekly Address 10/29/11: "We Can’t Wait" to Strengthen the Economy and Create Jobs

WASHINGTON—In this week’s address, President Obama told the American people that we can’t wait for Congress to take action to grow the economy and create jobs, and highlighted the executive actions he took this week to help families save thousands of dollars by refinancing their mortgages, put veterans to work, and lower the cost of student loans. The President continued to urge Congress to do its part and pass the American Jobs Act now, which will put more money in the pockets of middle class families, create jobs and strengthen our economy right away.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/all/modules/swftools/shared/flash_media_player/player5x2.swf

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Filed under American Jobs Act, Congress, Democrats, Job creation, middle-class families, mortage crisis, President Obama, Republicans, student loans, weekly address