Monday, October 11, 2010

Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now?

Congratulations to Michael Aron, senior political correspondent at NJN. With the Governor's cancellation of the ARC Tunnel project, Mr. Aron is ready to conclude that Chris Christie is making decisions with national office in mind. According to Mr. Aron, Mr. Christie wants to run in 2016 as the Republican who cancelled the largest public works project in the nation on grounds of fiscal responsibility.

Why 2016? Because the Governor has gone out of his way to make it clear that he is not running in 2012. He may be able to explain away a Vice Presidential bid in 2012, but not a presidential bid.

But here's the thing. 2016 is a political lifetime away. Hell, 2006 was the year the Democrats swept into Washington, and 2010 is the year they get swept out (although I am not convinced that Democrats will lose the House -- I will be surprised if it happens).

In 2016, the economy will be back on track, people will be back to work. And the lack of adequate public transportation infrastructure will probably be seen as a bad thing. And the ARC tunnel will not be 2 years away from completion, if it ever gets started at all. My money says that in 2016 the cancellation of the ARC Tunnel will be seen as penny wise and pound foolish, an act of political cowardice and a failure to invest in New Jersey.

Such is the fate of idealogical demagogues. They are creatures of their times, and as they build track records of accomplishments they prove themselves of limited appeal.

For example, in 2004 the top issues were terrorism and the war in Iraq; swing voters were focused on "values." In 2008, candidate's support for the war in Iraq was a big litmus test. In 2004, you weren't a viable candidate unless you supported the war; in 2008 support for the war was a detriment.

Maybe this all speaks to where Chris Christie expects New Jersey to be in 2016. Apparently, he's not planning on a robust economic recovery anytime soon; apparently, he's planning for 6 more years of recession.

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