Thursday, May 28, 2009

Christie Is The Best Choice For Governor

As these "experts" and Assemblyman Rick Merkt have been saying, neither Chris Christie nor Steve Lonegan can deliver on their promises to New Jersey alone if elected. The eventual GOP gubernatorial nominee is going to need cooperation with many others to get elected, and cooperation, however reluctant, with the legislature and the Supreme Court to fix New Jersey's broken government after taking office.

That is why I am voting for Chris Christie on Tuesday.

Christie has demonstrated that he is a talented leader that can get the job done. He demonstrated as much as U.S. Attorney and he has demonstrated it during the primary campaign.

I was skeptical about Christie at the beginning of this race. That the establishment, and by that I don't mean the county committee members at conventions as Chris said during his first interview with me, I mean the county chairmen, the moneyed interests of the GOP and the members of the legislature, were nearly unanimous in their support of him concerned me.

The NJ GOP failed miserably when it last controlled Trenton. They have been completely out maneuvered by the Democrats since. I feared that Chris was just another Whitman/DiFrancesco/Franks/Forrester/Zimmer type Republican. I feared that he might not have what it takes to win against Corzine's money and Cryan's machine. More importantly, I feared that he might not have the mettle to govern in a way that will break up the status quo that is choking us and implement the badly needed reforms if he did get elected.

Chris has put those fears to rest. I am convinced that he has the qualities needed to beat Corzine. I am convinced that he has what it takes to govern New Jersey, to put us back on the path the prosperity and an extraordinary quality of life.

I believe that Chris has the intellect, temperament, vision and spine to stand up to the special interests on both sides of the aisle and to do so without a bloodbath.

Christie will appeal to Independents and Democrats. That is not a bad thing. Nor does it make him a "RINO."

They way he speaks of education, particularly in the Abbott districts, is what convinces me of that appeal. While the other candidates speak of equalizing education funding throughout the State, Chris is alone in addressing the "moral failure", i.e., the kids are not getting educated, as well as the financial failure of the Abbott experiment. Lonegan and Merkt are correct in addressing the excessive money wasted, but only Christie is sharing a vision of getting good value for our dollars while bringing excessive and wasteful spending under control.

Unlike some other pundits and critics, I don't have a problem with Christie's "lack of specifics." On the contrary, I like that he has used broad stokes to describe the direction that he intends to take New Jersey. I admire his discipline staying on message and in refusing to say things before he is believes it is appropriate to do so.

What good are specifics in a campaign anyway? They arm the opposition and the voters, often correctly, don't believe them anyway. Forrester's "30 in 3" was a sound bite to describe a complicated plan that was faulty to begin with. The math didn't work. Corzine answered with "40 in 4." The GOP has already started hammering him with his old ads.

The specifics of Lonegan's flat tax proposal has been the Achilles heal of his campaign. It is not a bad plan. But the Christie campaign, when it decided it need to engage Lonegan and make him famous, exploited the political weakness of Steve's flat tax plan, i.e. that it raises taxes on 50% of tax payers if you believe Lonegan or 70% of tax payers if you believe Christie.

The other candidates, Steve Lonegan and Rick Merkt have run disappointing campaigns.

I had high hopes for Lonegan. Win or lose, at the beginning of the campaign I hoped he would be positioned to be a meaningful leader within the NJ GOP when the primary was over. But the bridge burning, sophomoric campaign he has waged has made him unelectable in the general election. If Steve is to have a meaningful role in the GOP going forward, it will only be as a result of Christie's generosity. Christie would be wise to be so generous, but no one could blame him if he just let's Steve fade or rant away.

As for Rick Merkt, he's a smart guy with good ideas, but he doesn't want to be Governor. The only thing he's done to even be mentioned is to gather enough signatures to stay on the ballot. I don't know what Merkt's real motivation has been for this campaign, but becoming Governor was obviously not it.

Nominating Chris Christie is the best choice for New Jersey, and the best choice for the GOP.


Anonymous said...

Hey, if you want to endorse the next Chrissy Witless go ahead. Just don't call yourself a conservative again, because you are now just like all of the other RINOs in New Jersey, nothing more than a Dem-lite.

Art Gallagher said...

That took longer than I expected.

Baba O'Riley said...

haha..if Art's a RINO then I'm a marxist.

Nice endorsement Art.

Specifics are overrated, how did they work everytime before again?

Outside Looking In said...

I don't agree with your reasoning. I think Christie ran a disappointing campaign. But, he may proove you can win with polical speak and not have to put forth a plan.

If he wins, I don't think Christie will make any meaningful budget cuts or tax cuts. He'll make the politically "safe" budget cuts.

He won't make significant changes to COAH. He and the rest of the republicans won't be able to take the political heat. Towns will have to continue to deal with this disaster.

I do like Lonegans per pupil distribution of tax dollars back to the towns. That's real tax relief.

If you ask me, the real problem are the incumbents. They all should be voted out this fall. But, a republican is better than a dem any day. Let's hope if we win in the fall, they'll grow a backbone.

Art Gallagher said...

Outside Looking In,

You might be right. That was my concern about Christie. I hope, for all of our sakes, that my optimism about him is justified.

That Christie alone is talking about getting value for our dollars, i.e., actually deliverying an education for the kids, impresses me. He he applies the same ethos, getting value for tax dollars, to the entire state government, he will be the best governor in my lifetime.

I like Lonegan's equal distribution of education dollars too, and I hope Christie moves in that direction.

As you said, a Republican will be better than a Dem, which is ultimately why Christie is the right choice.

Lonegan can't win, and not because he is too conservative. He has alienated a large part of the GOP base, he can't raise the money, and as the Asbury Park Press pointed out, he really doesn't have a plan, he has a sales pitch.

Ronald Reagan said...

I concur. Great choice Art.

MikeGSP said...

Art, I resect your opinions although, of course, I disagree with some of your evaluations.

Let me see...

You like Christie because he is not specific, yet you believe he will make the necessary reforms. How do we know that if he's not specific? By the way, I find it odd - very odd - for any voter to embrace a candidate who is not specific about what he plans to do.

You think Steve can't win the general, yet the last 2 Rasmussen polls have shown him ahead of Corzine.

You think Christie has demonstrated leadership in the primary, but provide no evidence. Campaign rhetoric does not equate with leadership.

You think his position on Abbott is better because he speaks in platitudes, while not committing to funding on a per pupil basis -- one of the most meaningful ways of reducing our property taxes.

You speak of 'cooperation' - to me that just means compromise, which will mean more of the same, which will mean not really making the real reforms we need. Hasn't Republicans 'cooperating' with Democrats been part of the problem, Art? Isn't it time for someone with the fortitude to stand up to those who have destroyed our state? What do we have to cooperate with them for?

I think your endorsement really just comes down to you think he can win, not that you actually believe he is the candidate with the best ideas. said...

I don't care who wins, so long as the Republican Candidate taps me to head up the campaign initiative on Urban Affairs.

Lonegan and Christie together have nothing in their campaigns to attract Urban voters.

Come November's election night, they'll wish they had.

From Justified Right's Politics 101:

If you are the minority party, you have to attract the other guy's base.

Art Gallagher said...


I respect your opinion too. If Steve had conducted himself during the campaign as you are conducting yourself here, he might have won my vote, but probably not.

Let's discuss...

You like Christie because he is not specific, yet you believe he will make the necessary reforms. ...It's not that I like Christie because he is not specific. I think he is both smart and honest in not being specific. He has broadly laid out the reforms he wants to make, and has honestly said the specifics will depend upon the mess that Corzine leaves him with.

I like Christie because he is selling us on who he is, not just what he will do.

You say that you think it is odd that any voter would vote for a candidate without knowing specifically what the candidate will do. I say it is impossible for anyone to know specifically what they will do until they get there. It is more important to choice the person than to choose the plan.

I've been watching both candidates closely and with personal contact for over a year. Chris has impressed me with his optimism, intellect, discipline, committment and determination. Steve has disappointed me, both in the style and substance of his campaign.

I don't believe Steve has a plan. I believe he has well rehearsed and memorized script. He fumbles badly when forced to deal with issues he hasn't rehearsed talking points for. Case in point is his answer during the first debate to the viewers question about healthcare costs for laid off state workers...he said it would be Pennsylvania's problem, and his answer to Chris's question on terrorist detention during the second debate. Evidently he also fumbled when pressed by the Asbury Park Press editorial board about the spending cuts.

Steve is prone to exageration and bombast. He is needlessly nasty to those who disagree with him or do not support him.

Chris is respectful toward those who don't agree with him. He listens and learns. He leaves room in relationships for compromise, and that is necessary to govern.

Art Gallagher said...


You think Steve can't win the general, yet the last 2 Rasmussen polls have shown him ahead of Corzine.If Steve's margin over Corzine was greater than or equal Corzine's upside down approval margin, you might have a point. But given that Steve's margin over Corzine is within the margin of error, Steve would be in real trouble in the general election. Corzine would beat him by 10% spending less than $10 million. Steve would show no better against Corzine than Zimmer did against Lautenberg.

Christie's numbers over Corzine do not make the race a slam dunk for him. Hopefully the RGA spending will be enough to overcome the spending limits the matching funds program imposes. Even as badly as Corzine is showing, Christie faces a tough race.

You think his position on Abbott is better because he speaks in platitudes,...Time will tell if Chris is speaking in platitudes. I hope he is not. If Chris can deliver value for our tax dollars, in education and throughout state government he will be national leader in our party and a potential presidential candidate in 2012 or 2016.

So far he is the only one talking about getting our money's worth for tax dollars spent.

You speak of 'cooperation' - to me that just means compromise, which will mean more of the same...In a perfect world, I would agree with you here. But that is not where we live. We will need to cooperate and compromise because the Dems will control at least one, and probably both houses of the legislature.

I think and hope that Chris has the ability to get better results from dealing with the Dems than Steve does, and I think he can produce better results with the Dems than Whitman and DiFrancesco did when they had both houses on their side.

Unwillingness to compromise, unwillingness to educate and persuade in what is ruining much of the conservative movement. Being right and angry about it doesn't produce change. It produces righteous anger and alienation.

I have radical ideas that I think are right that go beyond anything that Steve has proposed. I think all schools should be private schools with all school age children getting the vouchers for the same amount regardless of where in the state they live. I think the gay marriage debate is bogus because the government should be in the marriage business. Let all unions be civil unions and leave marriage to the relgions. I know that I am right about those issues and many others. Yet, if I insult you and call you names because you don't agree with me, I will never convert your heart or mind. Unitl conservatives learn to respect and relate to those they disagree with, like Reagan did, we will have less and less influence.

I think your endorsement really just comes down to you think he can win, not that you actually believe he is the candidate with the best ideas.Yes and no. I do think Chris can win, though it won't be a cake walk. I don't think Steve can win.

I like a lot of Steve's ideas. I would also like to play center field for the Yankees. There is a great chance of me hitting .300 and winning a gold glove than there is of Steve getting his ideas converted to reality in the short term.

I like the direction that Chris is pointing to. There is a realistic chance of him accomplishing 40% of what he wants to.

I think that is the best we can do at the moment.

ambrosiajr said...

Very nicely articulated Art. Although, you may have to change your tag line to read "The only conservative republican blogger in NJ that talks to Matt Rooney".

Above all the others, yours is more thoughtful and explanatory. Everyone else is just a cheerleader for one side or the other, and you can't really take them too seriously. You, I CAN take seriously since you took your time, laid out your thoughts and presented a great argument.

The said...

Our Prediction (always risky):

Christie - 52%
Lonegan - 41%
Merkt - 7%

Democratic Primary

Corzine - 67%
Others - 33%

MikeGSP said...

Art, thanks. I think we are coming at this from different angles, for sure. I don't just want a Republican in office, I want a conservative committed to true reform. To this point, I have not seen that commitment from Mr. Christie.

What I am hearing from you is you support Christie, in part, because he will get more support from the other side due to his personality and style. Style over substance really.

However, in my experience of watching politics that never works for Republicans as Democrats will always be ready to bite the hand you have reached out to them with. We need someone who will stand up to them not acquiesce.

I find it perplexing that you can say that Steve has no plan. That is about the LAST thing I would think anyone would say of Steve's policies. The planks of his campaign have been quite clear for quite some time now. He understands the issues facing the state better than anyone I know.

If there's any candidate w/o a plan it is Christie. Certainly, anyone who takes over the governorship will need to understand the fine details of things more, but generally the problems facing the state are quite well known. Saying that you have to wait until office to figure out what the problems are is odd to say the least for someone running for governor.

Regarding the polls, I am not naive enought to understand that Steve would have a real fight against Corzine but the reality is he is ahead and, in this climate, could well beat Corzine.

RE: Abbott - Honestly I'm not sure what you mean by value for our dollar. We've thrown money at Abbott schools for years with no results. Money is not the answer to our education problems. But the least we should be doing is bringing some equality to our education spending and providing property tax relief. Both candidates have voucher plans so the per pupil spending puts Steve ahead on this issue IMHO.

All I can say is if Christie wins the nomination, he still has some convincing to do with conservatives. I am open to listening to him and will wait some time before deciding what to do come November. However, I can not help but fear that this opportunity for bringing true conservative reform to New Jersey, the only reform that can truly fix this state - is slipping away.

I hope, oif Christie wins, you are right and I am wrong.

Art Gallagher said...

I hope, if Christie wins, you are right and I am wrong.Me too!

Outside Looking In said...

I disagree that Lonegan alienated the GOP base. The problem is that the state party picked Christie. It was the lack of a process that alienated the base.

Regardless of the winner on Tuesday, all republicans are to get behind the winner and focus on Corzine.

Anonymous said...

and, swine flu pigs will fly, too!..

Di Marco said...

Will Republicans make another mistake?

With more and more negative revelations about Christie’s past coming to the fore, there is little chance that he could win in a contest against Jon Corzine. Christie’s only attribute that he could point to was his prosecutorial career as US Attorney. Unfortunately, his ethics and judgment are clearly in question now. Many of the cases he prosecuted fall into two categories. Either they served to aggrandize his image and ingratiate himself within the Republican Party or they financially benefitted his family or friends. Over time, who knows if more will be discovered? Corzine, with all his money, will be able to paint Christie as someone who is just as corrupt as those he helped put in jail.

Christie and the so-called leaders within the GOP know this. That is why our answering machines and mailboxes are filled with negative attack ads containing unbelievable distortions of his opponent’s proposals, while at the same time refusing to provide any specifics of his plans.

Not only will Christie not be able to beat Corzine, he will have a negative impact on the entire Republican Party. Because so many in the Party endorsed Christie, they will be shown to have condoned Christie’s actions. They will be found guilty by association. This is how the democrats won back Congress in 2006. They took the Mark Foley incident and a few corrupt Congressmen and made it look like anyone with an (R) after their name was complicit.

Some have supported Christie because they thought a true conservative could not win in New Jersey. Even though moderate after moderate that the party establishment pushed upon us goes down to defeat in a statewide contest, they cling to this belief. The frequent refrain is that they lost because conservatives sat out the November elections. I do not believe this is true. We almost always vote for the Republican because he/she is the lesser evil. What we do not do is show the same enthusiasm for the non-conservative Republican. We cannot effectively stump for the moderate Republican candidate because we frankly do not believe in their message. We are left to beg people to vote for our guy because the other guy is worse. I believe that if you cannot show a viable reason for people to vote for you, you will fail to convince enough people to vote against your opponent.

It is time for Republicans to declare our independence from the GOP bosses and select candidates that stand for something other than maintaining the status quo and their declining grip on power. Doing this now will avoid the destruction of the GOP in New Jersey.

Anonymous said...

I will start to pay attention to what Chris Christie has to say about Abbott districts when Christie promises that he will not re-nominate anyone currently serving on the New Jersey Supreme Court. Until then, anything Christie has to say about school funding reform is not worth my time.