Sunday, April 18, 2010

Collision Course

If Star Ledger Editorial Page Editor Tom Moran is right, the political debate over New Jersey's fiscal crisis is going to get very ugly.

In Moran's NJ Voices piece on today, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver invokes the race card against the Christie administration:

"The governor’s inner circle is full of white men, she (Oliver) says, most of them political neophytes who have no clue how deeply it cuts when they raise bus fares or take away tax credits from working poor families.

“That’s why it’s so easy for them to sit around a table, slash this, put a line through that,” says Oliver, the first African-American woman to hold her post. “How many of the guys sitting around that table have ever even sat on a bus?”

Oliver's comments are more offensive, and more dangerous, than those of the Bergen County teachers union leader who distributed a joke that included a prayer for Christie's death. Everyone new that was a joke, but it was such a political gaffe that it crippled the NJEA's campaign against Christie's cuts in education funding.

Oliver's comments are not a joke.

That New Jersey's highest ranking African American elected official would seek to divide our state along racial lines for political purposes is the height of irresponsibility and recklessness.

Oliver also complained that Governor Christie is acting as an unyielding prosecutor dealing with the legislative leadership as if they are defendants. Many would argue that NJ's fiscal practices over the several years were criminal. Borrowing without voter approval, raiding trust funds to plug budget holes, etc, etc.

We need a principled leader to fix this mess. Oliver playing the race and victim cards is not serious statesmanship. It is petty, yet dangerous, politics.

Oliver and State Senate President Steve Sweeney are looking to employ race and class warfare for political advantage, while Christie is looking to put NJ back on sound financial footing regardless of the political consequences. This battle is all about the so called "millionaires tax", the "temporary" income tax surcharge on those who earn over $400K that Corzine imposed last year and the Democrats let expire before Christie took office. The Democrats let the tax expire so that they could force Christie to break his campaign promise not to raise taxes by reinstating the surcharge.

Oliver and Sweeney will settle for half the surcharge being reinstated. If they don't get Christie to budge, they are considering not submitting a budget to the governor by July 1, thereby shutting down the state government or holding Christie's reform agenda of a 2.5% property tax cap, pension reform and civil service reform hostage.

Sweeney says he has polling data that shows the public is overwhelmingly with the Democrats on the income tax surcharge. I hope he and Oliver believe those polls and force a show down. Shutting the government down for a month or two would be just the medicine we need. We will find out what we can really do without and make real cuts accordingly.


Anonymous said...

Agree whole heartedly with you Art.

Anonymous said...

If you are a legal citizen in the USA, you are an AMERICAN, period.

I'm sick of the racial/ethnic labeling in America. It must stop.

When the race card is played-that in itself is a predjudice move.

stopthesocialists said...

Art - this crap has worked in the past, but people see through this BS. Oliver is an incompetent political hack who is in way over her head and can never win an argument on its merits. When all else fails, drag out the race card. If this is the best they can do, Christie should hunker down and let them implode.

Anonymous said...

I sat on a bus, every day commuting to NYC - and it was usually the back - this idiot doesn't know what she's talking about - but it is very dangerous what she is starting - they must be absolutely desperate to pull this one out of the hat - probably trying to energize an ethnic vote for this November - since BHO won't be on the ballot....

ambrosiajr said...

Art..she has a point here...look at his cabinet.

Not a single African-American in the bunch. In a state as diverse as NJ, this is disgraceful. And why can't she point that out? Although, this is pretty indicative of the republican party as a whole when out of 2400 delegates to your convention, 36 were African-American.

Anonymous said...

Ambro, What do you call Paula Dow the Attorney general?

She does not look like a white male.

Oh and his Lt Governor she isn't a male either. Ohh wait she is white and all those white people are devils so we won't count her.

Anonymous said...

PS, Are we supposed to change our policies just to attract minorities to our party. Screw that

Our policies are good for everyone.
Our policies work. Democratic policies don't.
Not our fault that the democrats have convinced minorities that they are victims and only the government can help them.

Art Gallagher said...

Not our fault that the democrats have convinced minorities that they are victims and only the government can help them.

If you are committed to a free society, it is your responsiblity to educate "victims" that there is a better way, and to offer opportunity..

stopthesocialists said...

Exactly right anon 7:02. People are sick of this race crap when looking at the make-up of any entity. Anbrosiar conveniently forgets the Hispanics and other so-called, "non-whites/non-males" in Christie's cabinet. I guess Shelia Oliver has made such a favorable impression on Ambrosiar, he can't understand why Christie would overlook someone like her in his cabinet. Hey ambrosiar, why aren't most of the players on the N.Y. Giants white to reflect their fan base? Answer - because they take players on their merits, not race. We have a black president, black governors, mayors, CEOs - grow up and stop with the childish bean counting already.

ambrosiajr said...

Also STS...really stupid analogy between a pro football team the people that are supposed to govern.

ambrosiajr said...

Amazing how defensive you all get when all I did was point out the lack of minority inclusion when so many NJ residents are not white republicans.

stopthesocialists said...

Actually, it's a perfect analogy when you consider that sports teams are what society is supposed to be striving to be and what MLK had espoused - that they not be judged by the color of their skin. You libs are stuck in the sixties. Then again, if you acknowledge what great opportunities there are for everyone of every race/gender/ethnicity, then what will people like Shelia Oliver have to whine about when things don't go their way?

ambrosiajr said...

You're wrong again STS...athletes work their entire lives to be the best at their positions. When they are, they get rewarded by being offered a contract to play pro ball.

Christie's cabinet is made up of political friends and payoffs for endorsing him. And, as has been proven, most times they are not the best at their positions. They certainly aren't judged by the content of their character but instead, are judged by who will do Christie's hatchet work for him.

stopthesocialists said...

Oh please, the liberal spin in trying to justify appointments based on race, gender or some other silly qualifier other than merits is old and destructive. By appointing people like Paula Dow, Christie has shown that he is willing to appoint people who feels are qualified and who he feels will be best to promote his agenda. You Dems may work on criteria other than merits, like McGreevey did with his boyfriend or Corzine did with his fundraiser's wife, but Christie has assembled a powerhouse cabinet based on ability, experience and vision.

ambrosiajr said...

LOL...ok, STS...whatever you say.

Anonymous said...

Its the right of the governor to appoint people he trusts to carry out his agenda.

I don't like all his picks but he is entitled to them.

That way may not be as good as a pure meritocracy but it sure beats the hell out of one from each ethnic category.

"it is your responsiblity to educate "victims" that there is a better way, and to offer opportunity" Bull sh-t. Opportunity is there its our responsibility to grab it. nobody needs to give it out.