Thursday, October 01, 2009

Family Viewing: Live-Blogging the New Jersey Governor's Debate

On the way home from school this afternoon, JT casually mentioned what he had read in the Star-Ledger today.  For the uninitiated, the Star-Ledger is a leading newspaper here in the Garden State.  And my fourth grader was reading it as part of his social studies lessons this year. 

Allrighty then.  No excuses for ignorance about local politics will be tolerated at Sassafras House.  Thus it is that we are sitting in front of the telly tonight, watching incumbent Democratic Governor face-off against two challengers: Republican Chris Christie and Independent Chris Daggett.

8:05 pm
JT's opening observation: "If these guys were a cartoon, Christie would be the fat guy, Daggett the really skinny guy, and Corzine the in-between guy."  True that.

And then JT notes, "They're all bagging on Corzine."

Daggett mentions raising the gas tax (NJ's is the lowest in the nation).  The proceeds could be used to repair our roads.  JT's assessment: "good idea."  That's my boy.

8:20 pm
For the non-Jerseyans among you, Incumbent Corzine is facing a bit of an uphill challenge.  For many Democrats, his failure to reform the Jersey political system has been a disappointment.  And governing in a recession hasn't been particularly easy, either.

Christie was a federal attorney in New Jersey and he has record of prosecuting corrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle (and there is no shortage of corruption in this state).  But Christie was a Bush appointee, no asset in blue Jersey.  And he's very conservative, also out of touch with the state.  He led this race for a while, but the August arrival of Independent Chris Daggett, who regularly polls in the 10% range, has closed the window of Christie's lead.

The race has tightened considerably and though Corzine is still behind, it's only by a few points.  Turns out that Christie's support was pretty shallow.

8:25 pm
Christie has been asked to justify his traffic-ticket dodges (there have been a few).  The question: "Is there a different standard for your behavior?"  JT says yes.....Christie says no.

And JT notes that Corzine isn't fit to discuss traffic violations either (Corzine was in a high-profile traffic accident a few years back; it was the result of speeding and the Gov was not wearing his seat belt).

9 year olds have no patience with hypocrisy on either side of the political divide.

8:33 pm
Daggett calls for state employees to accept salary cuts (they already have) and changes to the pension and insurance plans for public employees.  Christie agrees.  Corzine pays lip service to fixing the NJ pension plan.  None of these guys is willing to point out that state employee unions won't just lie back and accept these cuts.

And now we go to questions from the public.  The first one: how will you cut the budget and close our 8 billion dollar budget gap? "That's a lot of baseball  cards," the boy notes.

Christie proposes kicking people out of the state health insurance plan.  JT does not approve.

8:45 pm
And now the topic of abortion comes up.  Because that's what I want to explain to my son on a Thursday evening.   We're pro-choice around here and that's what I explained to JT.

Suddenly talking about property taxes sounds much more appealing.  JT notes that property taxes have been high in New Jersey forever.  He's right.

8:52 pm
Medical marijuana: yea or nea?  Corzine says yup.  Daggett thinks it might be okay.  Christie says he's down with a little pot if safeguards are in place.  JT thinks smoking is bad.

9:00 pm
The debate still has 30 minutes to go but bedtime looms....JT is going to cast his ballot for Corzine.  His second choice would be Daggett and his third choice one of the many other small potato candidates in the mix.  Sorry Chris Christie.


Nichole said...

Anyone named Chris Cristie is not fit for office. He needs to go open a law office or whatever with John Johnson and Bill Williams.

DK said...

I truly enjoyed today's blog. I especially enjoyed your son's opinions! I sent the link to my 12 year old daughter to read. We also watched the debate together.

Shark Butt said...

Daggett calls for state employees to accept salary cuts (they already have) and changes to the pension and insurance plans for public employees. Christie agrees. Corzine pays lip service to fixing the NJ pension plan. None of these guys is willing to point out that state employee unions won't just lie back and accept these cuts.

It's very easy and popular to talk about changes to the state pension plans but since the State of NJ issued bonds whilst raiding it back in the late 90's and ran afoul of the IRS in so doing, as well, has not fully funded them based on the actuarial studies SINCE then about all it is good for is talk.

JT is, not surprisingly, correct that property taxes in NJ have been high forever, mainly due to the legendary insistence on home rule, would that we'd get serious about insisting on thorough and efficient use of tax dollars. But dear lord, let's don't let me hop on that soap box.

Paula said...

JT is smarter than the average voter, gas taxes would annoy me but would be a way to raise much needed money, the NJ state employees will not appreciate giving up money in a state that is way too expensive to live in, state property taxes are way high, chris christie is a prude, i am pro-abortion rights and I like JT's order of voting....I applaud anyone who can fixt the pension plan and I would not be happy to give up my health benefits but would not be opposed to having them taxed if it meant a positive national health care plan...go JT