In 2009, I voted for Chris Daggett for governor of NJ. Jon Corzine lost that election. Daggett was really the best guy for the job and had been endorsed by a couple of regional papers. Didn’t matter. As an independent, his position on the ballot changed from county to county. But Corzine’s governing style reminded me a lot of Obama’s. The property tax situation here in NJ never gets resolved and Corzine commissed a study on the problem, his number one issue, and then just threw up his hands as if to say, “It’s intractable. What do you want ME to do about it? What do you think I am?” He was initially a Hillary superdelegate but sometime early in 2008, someone must have told him the fix was in. So, Corzine, the former CEO of Goldman-Sachs (where have we heard that name before?) switched his allegiance and gave ALL of the delegates from NJ to Barack Obama at the Convention in 2008. For those of you who are new to this story, Hillary Clinton cleaned Obama’s clock by 10 points in this state. Anyway, I really liked Daggett and I want to thank him for running because he made it easy for me to find somewhere else to go. If he runs again, he can count on me.
But we ended up with Chris Christie. I went to one of the candidates’ debates at Drew University and could not figure out what Republicans saw in the guy. It was like he wasn’t even trying. His answers seemed scripted, well, don’t they all? But in Christie’s case, it was like he could say any S^*( up there. It didn’t matter how shallow or simplistic it was, the Republicans cheered like he was delivering the “I have a dream” speech. Daggett won that debate easily. Corzine was being cagey, Christie a buffoon, Daggett was articulate, cheerful and well-prepared.
Since his accession to the throne of NJ, he’s made a lot of enemies. He’s been particularly hard on schools. In his first year, our local school district slashed 70 jobs. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot in a district this size but believe me, it is. Our superintendent quit. He said it was the commute. But I think it was because the guy just wasn’t making enough money in this district where we’ve always managed to keep administration costs low. I can remember one of my Republican former colleagues fuming with righteous indignation that the superintendents were making too much money. It was something like $125,000/year. But try to get some smartass MBA from the corporate office to take a position where he would have to manage the budget, facilities and personnel for a company that serves 40,000 people. That salary is going to look laughable.
But the property tax situation? As bad as it’s ever been. Mine went up. I look at mortgage amortization tables and try to figure out a way of bringing the numbers down. But I can’t. The taxes keep my mortgage stubbornly pegged at a ridiculous number even though the actual amount I owe on this townhouse is relatively little. When I do finally get another job, I will be working to pay off my property taxes. If I lose my house in the next year, it will be because of my property taxes.
Christie’s sturm and drang has signified nothing to those of us struggling with the property tax situation. We’ve simply received fewer services and now have to deal with even more surly school receptionists. I haven’t gone to one of Christie’s TownHalls but I’ve heard that he’s dropped the “I’m just an average jolly fat guy from New Jersey, nowhatImean?” and has adopted the demeanor of a pugnacious and rude bully. If you don’t like it, he just shouts and screams and acts like he’s going to jump off the stage and tackle you. Regular taxpayers are intimidated by his Mussolini routine and back down.
Note to Christie and other Republicans: $83,000 in NJ is barely middle class and most teachers do not make that kind of money. It’s probably a small fortune in Mobile but in NJ? There’s not a whole lot left at the end of the month after the mortgage, the property taxes and federal taxes (for which we receive back 60 cents on the dollar. Enjoy it while it lasts, Alabama)
I will give him this: he stuck up for a Muslim appointee and told his own crazies to STFU. So, even if he works for the wealthy and well connected, he has a diversity program.
But if the Republicans are dissatisfied with their current crop of midgets, I would be more than happy to donate my governor to their cause. With Christie, you get the hardass bully with absolutely no relief to the wallet. Sounds like a Tea Partier’s dream. Except for the ones on fixed incomes who live in high property tax states. Christie will discipline you. You’ll pay your taxes, put up with S^&tty schools and disgruntled state employees and you will LIKE IT. It’s mean and unsympathetic. He doesn’t have the milk of human kindness to those of us who have to live here on less than a couple of million dollars a year. But happiness is not his goal. His goal is to make you accept the way things are. You don’t like it? There’s the door. Don’t let it hit you on the way out. You’re poor if you don’t make more in bonus than salary. Everything is going to cost you and the state’s taxes will continue to be regressive and high. Get used to it.
The only reason I might consider him for president is his committment to diversity. But that won’t go over well with the malignant Christians. But hey, whaddayagunnado? Sometimes, you have to touch the fire before you learn how hot it is.