How fittingly ironic that Christopher Christie, a man of operatic proportions, is presently the governor of a state in which the number of residents receiving food stamp assistance has doubled in the past four years. In all fairness, Mr. Christie has been chief executive of the Garden State for only half that time and has been saddled with a Democrat-controlled legislature that early this month was not only returned to office en masse by the New Jersey electorate, but actually gained a seat in the Assembly.
That’s a pretty crappy political poker hand by anyone’s estimation and yet, true to his moderate RINO programming, Mr. Christie played that hand, well…crappily.
New Jersey has seen large annual increases in food stamp participation rates each month since late 2008, according to the state data. The Department of Human Services releases monthly reports comparing the enrollment in the food stamp program with the same month in the previous year. Since November 2008, the number of households enrolled has grown by double digits year over year and peaked in March when the number of households receiving food stamps was 28.6 percent higher than it had been 12 months earlier. In July, the increase dropped to 18.2 percent before moving north once again to 19.4 percent in September.
Unfortunately for New Jersey, we are saddled with a governor who conflates chest-thumping bravado with strong leadership as part of his broad – and, at this point, failing – strategy of Potemkin Village conservatism that has both sides of the ideological chasm scratching their heads wondering whether this political creature is fish or fowl.
The Left would love nothing more than to tar brush Governor Zeppelin as a rabid, right-wing union buster and puppet of the now-infamous One Percent by virtue of his prolific YouTube Moments. The Right? Those of us who know anything factual about Mr. Christie’s actual record of governance can only shake our heads when we watch those precious YouTube Moments because they are nothing more than political Kabuki theater for the uninformed.
In truth, Governor Christie is a go-along-to-get-along New Jersey Republican Player who made bold, Reaganesque promises (“I’ll cut taxes across the board”) at campaign time, only to roll over like the beta dog in a wolf pack while blaming the intransigence of a Democrat controlled state legislature for the ongoing decline of this once great state. He promised to make ample use of the veto pen and take advantage of the opportunity to replace liberal Supreme Court justices with conservative justices. On both counts he has been found wanting and when it comes to strong, impassioned, conservative leadership, the Drumthwackit Dirigible has manifested himself as nothing more than another hot air balloon and little more than a blustering, bullying, super-plus-size version of Tom Kean.
What does this portend for the Garden State? Only this much: unless Gov. Christie suddenly grows a pair of Reagans and starts acting like the conservative he claims to be, the residents of this once great state can expect more of the Titanic deck chair shuffle on the part of the GOP establishment.
As for the Conservative Movement in this state, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess what the future holds. For a brief period of time late last year and early this year it seemed as though the individual torches of conservatism borne by myriad Tea Party organizations throughout New Jersey would unite to create a bonfire of Reaganism that would fill our moribund state with the heat and light necessary to disinfect Trenton and alter its self-destructive course – all of this under the careful guidance of the Conservative Leadership Caucus – a loose confederation of conservative Republican leaders that includes State Senator Mike Doherty and Assemblywoman Alison McHose – informally allied with Steve Lonegan, director of the NJ chapter of Americans for Prosperity.
All that came crashing down after I exposed Doherty as an unprincipled political hack, Lonegan as a venal, vindictive, self-aggrandizing fraud and Conservative New Jersey (the political blog that acted as an attack dog for Doherty and Lonegan) as a nest of Jacobin useful idiots.
If Movement Conservatism is to gain any traction in New Jersey and enjoy anything remotely resembling a renaissance, it will have to do so (a) through the efforts of the Tea Parties and (b) away and apart from Steve “Please ride my bus to Washington, DC” Lonegan and the snarling pack of knee-jerk Jacobins that infest Conservative New Jersey.