"I've seen Chris Christie be magnificent" ~ Montclair University Professor Brigid Harrison
"Me too" ~ NJN reporter Michael Aron
"Me too" ~ Monmouth University Poll Director Patrick Murray
All of the above speaking during the post debate analysis show on NJN.
Specifics will not win the election for Chris Christie. The Wall Street Journal, Asbury Park Press, Star Ledger, and numerous pundits and pollsters are warning that Chris could lose the election because he has not laid out a specific plan for reducing government spending and taxes in New Jersey. As Chris would say, "They're wrong."
Giving specifics would be both dishonest and politically stupid. Dishonest, because as Chris said before the Star Ledger editorial board today, the size of the problems that whoever is governor come January will have to deal with is unknown. Politically stupid, because Corzine would use his millions to distort Chris's position in order to scare people, as he has done with Chris's health care proposal and mammograms.
Christie should give specifics in his budget address in March.
Chris could probably keep doing what he's doing and eek out a narrow victory on November 3. As Alan Steinberg said in the post debate analysis, it is very unlikely that Chris Daggett will get 11 or 12 percent of the vote. Corzine can't get over 40%. Corzine only wins if 11+% of the voters waste their vote on Daggett.
Eking out a victory would be a missed opportunity and would make governing more difficult for Christie than what it needs to be.
If I were running the Christie campaign, I would stop talking about Jon Corzine and his failures. I would spend the next four weeks giving New Jersey voters something and someone to vote for. I would create an honest and optimistic message about New Jersey's future. I would introduce New Jersey to the "magnificent" Chris Christie that Harrison, Aron and Murray say they've witnessed. The gracious, charming and hopeful leader with back bone that I met when the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Public Servant of the Year Award in 2008. The optimistic and determined leader I witnessed at Democrat Kate Mellina's home on Labor Day.
New Jersey voters are cynical for good reason. Christie won't break 50% with specifics over who has a better plan to fix New Jersey or by talking more about what a failure we all know that Jon Corzine has been. He can break 50% by leading from the heart as well as from the head. He can break 50%, not by only reminding us how bad things are, but by instilling hope and optimism for what our lives will be like when we are once again the leading economy in the country, when our cities are thriving and our children are learning. He can break 50% by letting people know that he is the guy who will turn things around so that they don't have to flee to North Carolina or Georgia.
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