Another election is over. To the victor go the spoils and also a state hemorrhaging debt and a budget so bloated it makes Kirstie Alley look like an Ethiopian.
Okay, so I made a fat joke. So what? Corzine's campaign attacked Chris Christie because of his weight. A serious-sounding announcer in the Corzine ad said "Chris Christie is throwing his weight around." Why didn't Corzine just come out and say, "Chris Christie is a fat fuck who's connected to special interests and doesn't practice the laws he enforced as a federal prosecutor. And he also so fat that he hasn't seen his penis in years."
Take the low road and see what happens.
Actually, I wished Christie had called Corzine out on the fat ads. I wish Christie began playing the bald card with Corzine.
An ideal Christie ad might have gone, "Jon Corzine. More bald face lies from a Wall Street crook. Oh, and he's also fucking bald."
I covered the election for the paper and spent the entire night at Republican headquarters in Middle Township. The two Democrat Assembly incumbents, Nelson Albano and Matt Milam crushed the Republican challengers, Michael Donohue and John McCann. Democrats usually fare poorly in conservative Cape May County. For two Democrats to win re-election must be a prophetic sign, like the Mayans prognosticating the end of the world in 2012. Two Democrats win in Cape May County? Yeah, we're hopelessly screwed.
Anyway, the Assembly race was nothing compared to the gubernatorial race. Corzine lost big because his solution to a financial crisis was to raise tolls on the Garden State Parkway. In a cash-strapped state, where pensions and benefits for state workers are through the roof, he chose to attack the motorists. He chose to raise money through property taxes and a toll increase. He chose wrong.
History will show that the toll scheme on the Garden State Parkway was Corzine's Waterloo, a misadventure in governance that elicited more outrage and rippled through the remainder of his administration. He'll be known as the Nero who fiddled while New Jersey burned, the well-heeled, well-connected financial egghead of Goldman Sachs who failed to attract businesses to the state and fumbled while the people went broke and suffered under a colossal mountain of taxes.
Ironically, while voters kicked Corzine out, the Democrats still retained their seats in the statehouse. Seems the Republican National Committee's claims of a banner year for Republicans was total bullshit. While voters were pissed off and took out their aggression on Corzine by booting his ass from Drumthwacket, they kept their Democratic legislators.
Now Christie is Governor-Elect Christie. Enter the fat jokes. He's a boon for political humorists, political cartoonists and political writers. Yeah, it's easy to take the low road when poking fun at the new gov's massive paunch, but nothing this guy will ever do will be easy. He's got an awesome responsibility ahead of him, trying to bring New Jersey back from the brink of radioactive wasteland and onto the path of fiscal certainty.
I've heard the usual criticisms from the left, that Christie is an anti-abortion, homophobic buffoon. I suppose he's only toting the party line, after all. I'd be surprised if Christie divorces his wife and marries another man. I mean that's never happened in New Jersey before apart from Jim McGreevey.
No, Christie is not a Renaissance man. He's no deep thinker. He's not attending faculty parties at Rutgers and milling about the cheese tray while discussing Werner Heisenberg. The guy is a lawyer and he sees things in black and white. If you're not for us, you're against us. Basic, childlike logic of good versus evil.
And after years of listening to the rational and intellectual Corzine postulate, blather and analyze, I think four years of rolling up the sleeves and getting to work with Boss Hogg is just the thing the state needs.
Though his campaign was short on specifics, Christie now is in the driver's seat. I don't know how Gov. Christie will do in office, but I think four more years of Corzine would have been an unmitigated disaster.
See, Corzine governed like Doc from the Seven Dwarfs. Clearly the leader, Doc was in charge, but nobody really cared because they were all dysfunctional dwarfs. If they were really productive miners, they'd have hit the mother lode and moved to a swanky duplex instead of a cottage in the woods. Yet every day, Doc and the rest of the dwarves toiled and frittered their time away without clear-focused direction or leadership. Hell, when Snow White crashed at their place, they were all petrified of her. Doc didn't do shit.
Now Christie, he'll govern like Evil Alternate Universe Biff Tannen from Back to the Future. He knows how to transform a quaint, Norman Rockwellesque town into a gambling paradise/toxic waste disposal industrial park. He doesn't mess around. If there's something to develop and if it makes money, he'll do it. And if some kid or a wild-eyed scientist asks any questions - Bam! They're dead.
So the election was a choice for New Jerseyans to become mired in the routine, bumbling around with a bunch of midgets who think wealth is a grueling, back-breaking endeavor, or to take a leap of faith and go with a mean bastard who knows how to get things done and who persuaded Lea Thompson to get a boob job.
Governor Evil Alternate Universe Biff Tannen it is!