So I didn’t vote for Chris Christie, but now that he’s been New Jersey’s governor for a while, I have to admit, I’ve developed a begrudging admiration for his style.
I’m not always buying his worldview, nor his draconian solutions in terms of vaporizing the state’s education budget, but when it comes to stating his case, you can tell he’s a former prosecutor. His recent run-in with a teacher sums up his take on why he decimated the state’s education budget, even having you believing at the end that he’s giving an unbiased accounting of the facts.
Christie is the most “New Jersey” governor we’ve had in decades, maybe ever. He’s direct, opinionated, and sharp as a tack. Sometimes he’s confrontational, sometimes congenial, but he is exactly the person he said he was when the populace elected him. This is what he came to do, and that is: shake things up.
Take a look at the governors we’ve had in the past. As a kid, I remember the commercials for New Jersey, announced by our then-governor, Republican Tom Kean. His patrician New England accent (“New Juh-sey and you, puh-fect tuh-gethuh”) just didn’t sound like we do in Joisey.
Years ago, Jim Florio, a Democrat, had an approach similar to Christie’s – rough-hewn, blunt -but after he gave us the largest tax increase of any state in US history, he fell out of favor. “Flush Florio” bumper stickers popped up all over the state.
We had controversy after Democratic governor Jim McGreevey resigned from office, announcing that he had engaged in a gay affair with a man he’d appointed homeland security advisor in the state. At his press conference, his wife stood there with an odd frozen smile as he said to the world, “My truth is that I am a gay American.”
Democrat Jon Corzine, the millionaire accused of buying the office, seemed out of touch as governor, more a professor of philosophy than an answer man.
So we could call Christie Governor WYSIWIG. What you see is what you get. He doesn’t pull any punches, and he never claimed to be a cuddly-muffin-bear. Let’s hope the kind of change he’s bringing will be good for the state in the long run.