Friday, May 16, 2014

Christie, the Shady State of New Jersey, and the Rest of the Crowd

Countdown to the 2016 Presidential Election - #7 in a Series

Big news this week in the 2016 Presidential Sweepstakes. My state governor declared he is thinking about, wants to, and may throw his hat into the 2016 Presidential ring.

Chris Christie wants to be POTUS. Of course everyone knew that.

The George Washington Bridge scandal, he stated, will be forgotten by 2016, or at least very old news.

Maybe, but I have faith in my governor and my state. There will be more scandals and corruption and political intrigue over the next two years. After all New Jersey, otherwise known as the armpit of our country, has a long, distinguished history of:

Moral decline – The 2013 movie American Hustle publicized the Abscam scandal of the 1970s, exposing business and political corruption. A bunch of people were indicted,  including a U.S. Senator (D-NJ) and other New Jersey politicos.

Moral decline and political ineptitude – New Jersey Governor McGreevy resigned in 2004 following a series of scandals involving pay to play, extortion, and sex, declaring he was gay at the same time he announced his resignation.

Moral decline, political ineptitude and financial mismanagement – Ever hear of Operation Big Rig? Me neither, but you may remember the news stories. It is an FBI investigation, beginning around 2002, into political corruption in New Jersey involving politicians (bribery and paying for land development permits just two examples), orthodox rabbis (money laundering), and the sale of organs (body – not musical).

And speaking of financial mismanagement, a financial genius Christie is not. The NJ state budget has a ‘hole’ because the amount of money collected was less than projected.

Collect some money. Spend more money. Result = Debt.

Anyway, two years is a long time in the saga of New Jersey politics. Doubtless additional scandals, political upheavals, financial shenanigans and Christie-isms will make headlines before the Republicans choose their 2016 Presidential candidate.

I believe his chances of securing the candidacy slim. The Tea Party does not like Christie or the currently purple, blue-leaning state of New Jersey.

But in politics, anything can happen…

The Republican wannabee field is crowded. Besides Christie, contenders include (in alphabetical order, an attempt to be objective): Bush, Cruz, Huckabee, Jindal, Paul, Perry, Rubio, Ryan, Santorum, and Walker. Check here for a recent contestant popularity poll.

Unfortunately (not really) the Republican contest may not be as much fun as the 2012 circus. The Republican National Committee established new rules limiting the number of candidates and the number of debates – there were 20 Republican debates during the 2012 primary season; there will probably be 10 next time.

Democratically speaking, Obama referenced Hillary Clinton’s possible candidacy in his speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner a couple of weeks ago, saying,

“Let’s face it, Fox, you will miss me when I’m gone. It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.”

Republicans anticipate a Hillary run also. Karl Rove questioned her health, citing possible issues from a concussion suffered in 2012. Bill Clinton, however, rose to the occasion and in turn skewered Rove.

And think about this. The best is yet to come!