You’ve got to hand it to Chris Christie. His taxpayer-funded communications team is top-notch. Their ability to portray their boss as a bold, fiscally responsible everyman would be the envy of the best of the KGB propaganda machines.
By all accounts, Christie will coast to victory against his Democratic opponent, State Senator Barbara Buono, this November.
Not only would this be a disaster for New Jersey, but by vaulting Christie into the front-runner spot for the GOP nomination, it also would be a disaster for America.
Because Christie is painted as a moderate Republican by his communications machine, there’s a good chance that he will receive the presidential nomination as his party tires of the tribulations of their right-wing extremists in national elections.
Caveat suffragator. Let the voter beware. Christie is no moderate. And he’s no fiscal conservative.
What his handlers have been relatively successful in hiding is his track record as U.S. Attorney and as Governor.
As U.S. Attorney, he was complicit in the political shenanigans that led to the firing of prosecutors who would not tow the George W Bush line.
As New Jersey Governor, he is in lock step with the right-wing agenda. He vetoed marriage equality. He vetoed a women’s health program that would have cost about half of what he’s wasting with a politically motivated special Senatorial election in October. His environmental record makes James Watt, Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, look like a tree hugger. Yet, his crack communications team has been effective in making Christie look like a jocular “everyday guy” with his celebrity appearances on late night talk shows and his over 100 taxpayer-funded political “town hall” meetings. They are masters at social media in propagating the Orwellian view of Christie’s deeds.
Christie’s fiscal record is also portrayed through rose-colored glasses. Property taxes have exploded under his reign while aid to education has been decimated. He has met the constitutional mandate of balanced budgets by stealing funds that are supposed to be dedicated to transportation and environmental protection.
The emperor has no clothes.
To make matters worse, factions within the New Jersey Democratic Party have been enablers of the Christie right-wing agenda. Many sat on their hands in the last election, implicitly allowing Christie to narrowly defeat Jon Corzine in a three-way race. This year, they are doing the same thing, but more overtly.
Which brings us to Christie’s opponent – State Senator Barbara Buono. Buono is a progressive Democrat who has been shunned by the power brokers in her own party for the past several years. She was stripped of her important committee positions and her role as Senate Majority Leader in an internecine struggle two years ago.
Yet, Buono was the only one who had the cojones to stand up to Emperor Christie. Cory Booker opted for an easier U.S. Senate run. Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, both mentioned as possible candidates, decided to sit out this election. Former Governor Richard Codey, who was also a victim of the power brokers’ putsch, decided to remain in the Senate.
Right now, Buono is way down in the polls. But she’s a smart, tough politico, and with some luck and lots of effort, she can topple the emperor. She is pro-equality, pro-union and pro-students, and a champion of women’s rights and the middle class.
It’s important that she defeat Emperor Christie. Not only for New Jersey, but also for America. Keeping this charlatan off of the 2016 presidential ballot will help stem the decline of the middle class and the evisceration of the environment and civil rights that the GOP has been promoting over the past generation.
If you’re attending Netroots Nation this year, you can hear Senator Buono at the Candidate’s Forum on Friday, June 21 at 5:00 PM.
Disclosure: I am an enthusiastic unpaid volunteer for the Buono campaign.