Sunday, February 09, 2014

New Jersey's top newspaper backs away from Chris Christie

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Star-Ledger is now regretting its endorsement of the scandal-ridden bullying blowhard of a governor:

During the fall campaign, the liberal TV hero Rachel Maddow ran a stinging segment ridiculing The Star-Ledger’s endorsement of Gov. Chris Christie. How could we endorse him, she asked, when we criticized him so harshly in the same piece? Had we lost our minds?

Not quite. An endorsement is not a love embrace. It is a choice between two flawed human beings. And the winner is often the less bad option.

But yes, we blew this one...

Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee as a means to pressure the mayor. We didn’t know he would use Hurricane Sandy aid as a political slush fund. And we certainly didn’t know that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was sitting on a credible charge of extortion by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Even before this scandal train got rolling, this endorsement was a close call and a split vote among the editorial board. We regard Christie as the most overrated politician in the country, at least until now, a man who is better at talking than governing. We criticized him for trashing the working poor, for his tea party approach to the environment, for his opposition to gay marriage and a livable minimum wage. And so on.

Yes, and so on. Basically, despite "hesitations" and "deep reservations," the Star-Ledger endorsed Christie because he'd done some good things (and obviously wasn't/isn't a right-wing Republican fanatic) and because his opponent, Democrat Barbara Buono, was a weak alternative. So much for all that.

But, as editor Tom Moran writes, despite everything that's happened, all the new revelations and all that we now know about the governor, Christie is still preferable to the rest of his party, and in 2016 would be better than, say, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz.

Yes, as terrible as Christie is, he's just not as terrible as the rest of the Republican Party.

That tells you a lot about the current state of the GOP.

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