Remarkably, New Jersey’s establishment Republicans and Democrats found two things to agree on last week:
1. The Obama Administration did the right thing by ordering a raid to kill Osama bin Laden.
2. Governor Chris Christie “blinked” in his judicial battle with Senate President State Sweeney.
No one would argue with thesis No. 1. I’m not quite as sold, however, on the prevailing “Christie surrendered to the Democrat Senate” narrative as many of my conservative blogging colleagues seem to be. Just consider the source of the “he blinked” talking points. They sure as heck didn’t originate in the conservative blogosphere.
The true culprit in this story is a repeat offender. New Jersey’s leading birdcage liner, a.k.a. the Newark Star-Ledger, bled approximately 20,000 daily readers over the last two years for very good reasons, Save Jerseyans, not the least of which is the poor, petty and partisan analysis of its editorial board under the direction of the notoriously thin-skinned Christie-hater Tom Moran.
Unsurprisingly, Moran is the leading voice celebrating Governor Christie’s decision to allegedly stand-down in the battle over Anne Patterson’s nomination to the New Jersey Supreme Court. As always, Moran’s analysis is motivated by a desire to make the governor look weak instead of the actual attendant facts.
We all know what is at stake. Whether we’re talk about education funding, affordable housing or any number of other gigantic problems facing our state, chances are extremely high that the NJ Supreme Court’s paw prints are all over it. Governor Christie correctly recognizes that he cannot change state government permanently without first transforming the high court. The cruel irony is that he cannot finish the job without a state senate willing to give his nominees a fair hearing.
So why is this latest Christie-Sweeney handshake agreement so unbelievable or offensive, depending of course on who your personal perspective? It gives Christie’s justice-designee a deserve, long-awaited up-or-down vote; Senate President Sweeney, in turn, gets to save face with his caucus by being perceived as standing up to their favorite “bully.” The Governor didn’t lose anything on this one… the “loss,” if you can call it that, happened when the redistricting map was finalized. Now he’s simply the making best of a terrible situation until his next opportunity to win: November 2011.