Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2012 Contender: New Jersey Governor Christie, RINO?

A lot of people are talking about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a possible Republican candidate for President. And he certainly seems impressive from a distance. But with all politicians, you have to look at the whole record. The more I looked, the less I liked. You won’t like this either.

Budget BlueState
Christie’s biggest claims to conservative fame have been (1) passing a budget he claimed cut $2.56 billion in spending, without raising taxes, and (2) standing up to the unions. Not quite.

First, despite the no new taxes claim, his budget includes $250 million in new taxes. These include taxes on insurance premiums, health care, and new businesses. He’s also taxing $28 million from consumer gift cards. More importantly, he eliminated $1.3 billion in property tax refunds.

He claimed he would cut spending without resorting to gimmicks. He didn’t. In fact, the budget actually isn’t “cut” at all, spending increases by 6%. Christie claims this to be a cut based on reductions in spending the Democrats wanted to add. What’s worse, Christie told “Meet The Press”: “In New Jersey, what we did was we cut spending in every department, a 9% cut in real spending.” That’s a lie.

And despite his assurance that he would not use gimmicks, here are the gimmicks he used even to pull off this non-feat:
● He delayed the payment of $3 billion in pension payments for a couple weeks to push that spending into the next fiscal year.

● At the same time he imposed additional spending mandates on municipalities and local school boards, he eliminated $1.2 billion in municipal aid. Essentially, he pushed the need to tax to the local level. To protect taxpayers, he imposed a 2% cap on the amount municipalities can raise property taxes, but this is 2% per year. Also, because of various exemptions, this can actually be as high as 6% per year.

● His budget relies on $270 million in one-time revenue to balance, and it includes $1 billion in federal stimulus funds.
Christie also swore he would never borrow without voter approval, but he’s already borrowed $750 million without voter approval to build schools in urban districts controlled by Democrats.

As for standing up to the unions, he achieved little. To his credit though, he did require all public workers in New Jersey to pay at least 1.5% of their salaries toward their health care and prohibits part-time employees from enrolling in the state pension system. But he also claimed his budget would cut 1,200 jobs, but in November he backed off that. FYI, salaries go up automatically by 7% per year.
His ObamaCare Dance
Christie refused to allow New Jersey to join the lawsuit against ObamaCare. His ostensible reasoning was that:
“I have enough to do up here. I have to examine how this health care legislation affects the health care system in the state of New Jersey and whether or not it’s in our state’s best interests, and then I’ll decide whether we need to take any legal steps to try to protect the interests of the people of the state.”
Really? He didn't know if ObamaCare was a good thing? Interestingly, after Judge Vincent’s decision, Christie suddenly found that he always opposed ObamaCare:
“Yeah, I did not favor ObamaCare in the first place. I thought it was too big a grab by the federal government for our health care system. It should not have been voted on in the form that it was in the first place.”
This makes Christie the only conservative in the country who didn’t know if he liked ObamaCare until after Judge Vincent's decision made it look likely that ObamaCare would be struck down. Even then, Christie seems more concerned about procedure than substance.
He Favors Gun Control
Christie favors gun control, but won’t say what he supports. He has defended a strict gun control law passed by Democrat Jon Corzine, and he said this to Sean Hannity:
Christie: We have a densely populated state and there’s a big handgun problem in New Jersey. Now, I don’t support all the things that the governor supports, by a long stretch. But on certain gun control issues, looking at it from a law enforcement perspective, seeing how many police officers were killed — we have an illegal gun problem in New Jersey.

Hannity: Should every citizen in your state be allowed to get a licensed weapon if they want one.

Christie: . . . Listen, at the end of the day, what I support are common sense laws that will allow people to protect themselves. But I also am very concerned about the safety of our police officers on the streets. Very concerned. And I want to make sure that we don’t have an abundance of guns out there.
He refused to say exactly what limits he would approve. That’s a bad sign.
He Favors Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants
Christie is on the leftist side of the illegal immigration debate. In April 2008, he stated that being in the country illegally is not a crime:
“Being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime. The whole phrase of ‘illegal immigrant’ connotes that the person, by just being here, is committing a crime. . . It is not.”
He also stated that he supports a path to citizenship:
“What I support is making sure that the federal government plays each and every one of its roles: Securing the border, enforcing immigration laws, and having an orderly process — whatever that process is — for people to gain citizenship. It’s a very easy issue to demagogue and I’m just not going to participate in that.”
He also attacked those of us who disagree with him as demagogues: “certain leaders around the state that have demagogued on this issue” and he called critics “ill-informed.”

Proving his rhetoric, when he was the US Attorney between 2002 and 2007, his office only prosecuted 13 cases of illegal immigration. By comparison, the Kansas US Attorney prosecuted 597 cases.
His Global Warming Dance
Christie says he’s not sure if he believes in global warming as he’s seen evidence on both sides of the issue. Yet, he supports a multi-state cap and trade scheme known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and he put subsidies in his budget for wind and wave farms. He’s also used $65 million in future sales of pollution indulgences under the RGGI to plug the budget gap.
Judge A Man By His Friend
Finally, Christie’s appointments are truly disturbing, as these are the people who make the day to day decisions that make the state run.
● To his credit, he refused to reappoint notoriously liberal Supreme Court Justice John Wallace. So far so good, right? But this shouldn’t be that surprising, governors always appoint people of their own ideology to sit on courts. Here’s the catch. Christie has said nothing about the Senate Democrats’ refusal to conduct confirmation hearings until 2012, or about the selection of a reliable liberal to fill the seat temporarily.

● He appointed liberal Democrat Paula Dow as Attorney General of New Jersey.

● He appointed a global warming enthusiast as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.

● He appointed an ObamaCare supporter as Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services.

● He tried to appoint a Kinseyan (sexual perversion advocacy, masquerading as science) as Director of the Department of Children and Families.

● He fired the only conservative he had in his cabinet (Brett Schundler, his Commissioner of Education) for failing to grab Stimulus money which Christie had previously promised he would not accept.
This ain’t conservatism.

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