By Matt Rooney
So much of politics and public policy boils down to priorities, Save Jerseyans.
We can debate political theory until we’re blue in the face, but when the rubber hits the road (at least at the state and local levels, anyway), it’s how well politicians manage the things we ALL agree are priorities that make the difference between a decent elected official and a useless dunce.
Garden State residents, commuters, and students found that out the hard way on Thursday night when Phil Murphy got caught flat-footed by a relatively minor snowstorm which quickly turned into a historic traffic nightmare.
“Nightmare” is actually an understatement. NJ Transit is a mess (as per usual). Thousands were stuck for HOURS — some as long as 12, like our friend Erica Jedynak of AFP-NJ — on state roads without a plow or salt truck in sight. Authorities reported 555 motor vehicle crashes (!) on state roads as of Midnight. Young children were even stranded at their schools OVERNIGHT because their buses couldn’t get through the traffic jams. And Governor Murphy had the gall to blame… meteorologists? Notwithstanding the fact that NJ 101.5’s Dan Zarrow had been predicting a likely commuter snow hell for days.
One of this country’s wealthiest, most-densely populated states shut down by a few inches of powder? Which WAS predicted? It’s outrageous.
Predictable all the same, folks.
Why? My friend and yours Bill Spadea said it best this AM on the radio: Phil thinks he’s got ‘a position, not a job.’ The little people will hand the details! Governor Murphy believes he’s free to focus most of his time and energy on weighty issues like (1) who is permitted to pee in which bathroom, (2) whether non-citizens have taxpayer-funded representation, and (3) whatever Donald Trump is tweeting three hours southbound in Washington. In fact, he was arrogantly expounding on his far-left agenda in A.C. yesterday as the flakes and freezing rain began furiously falling; I can speak from firsthand experience since I had to drive back to Camden County on the Atlantic City Expressway late Thursday morning. I witnessed flipped cars, stranded motorists, blizzard-like road surface conditions… unreal. Apocalyptic looking! And totally inexcusable since most of it could’ve been avoided.
Social justice warriors don’t make good governors, Save Jerseyans.
Again, this isn’t even a Democrat vs. Republican thing strictly speaking, or at least it shouldn’t be. Regardless of whether you’re a #bluewave voter and line up with Phil Murphy on some of his pet issues? Or fall somewhere in between the partisan poles? Murphy’s priorities are not OUR common priorities. That’s what matters here.
Most New Jerseyans care first and foremost about (1) paying our bills and (2) making it home alive to enjoy the things (and people) for which we work so hard. Everything else comes much further along down the list.
Limousine liberal gazillionaires like Phil Murphy can’t relate. He’s got the time and money and resources to fret over things which are the luxury of folks who don’t need to worry about where the next quarterly property tax payment is coming from. He’s also got a big political appetite, and wasting time on boring things like snow removal just isn’t enough to retain his attention.
So if you were stuck in traffic yesterday for hours? Worrying about your kids and whether you’d ever make it to a bathroom?
Adopt a more pragmatic posture in the voting booth next November, for your sake and everyone else’s. Governing isn’t an abstract enterprise. Decisions carry serious consequences. You can’t delegate oversight of every crisis. It’s not a debating society; the people who win need to be willing AND able to do the job.
If you DO sincerely believe debating things like ‘who gets to pee in which bathroom’ and ‘free tuition for non-citizens’ constitute the most important public policy issues of our time? Okay. Fair enough. Free country.
But then please don’t complain to me when 3 inches of snow = a 12 hour commute. We vote our priorities and reap the consequences.
MATT ROONEY is the founder and blogger-in-chief of Save Jersey, a regular panelist on FOX/M9’s Chasing News program, and a practicing New Jersey attorney.