New Jersey governor Chris Christie sat down with local newser The Asbury Park-Press to discuss what's he's accomplished so far, and what he's gonna do next. Most of it centered around his steel cage match with various public-sectors unions; and Christie is not backing down one iota. First, his battle with the teacher's union, the NJEU (posted on here and here):
Q: The New Jersey Education Association is very good at whipping up support. Do you have indication their persuasion will not be as effective?
A: (Tuesday), when we passed the most significant pension and benefit reforms we've passed in this state in the last 20 years, with them crowding the hallways.
Listen, it's time to have this fight. They have bullied every political subdivision of this state for decades. No wonder they can. They have a budget of over $134 million a year, by the way, of public money. All the teachers are paid with taxpayer money, and we deduct for them, by virtue of the Legislature, their dues, which are $750 a year, for 185,000 full-time members. So no wonder they can bully everybody around.
I do think something has changed. They spent millions of dollars to try to defeat me in November. They didn't. They spent millions of dollars to try and defeat the pension and benefit reforms. I signed them (Tuesday). I think momentum is on our side.
Now, I'd like them to be cooperative. I don't want to fight. I don't need to fight, if they're willing to be cooperative. But if they're unwilling to be a participant to fixing this problem, then, you know, we'll bring the game to them.
Chris Christie ought to be the fat face of the Republican party right now - a center-right politician, focused on righting the economic ship of state, while not getting distracted by the social issues that fan the flames of the culture war. While Christie is both pro-life and anti-gay marriage, they are not the keys to his governing style or support base. Only sound economic policy is, and for that, he still has majority support in a state with a 600K+ Democratic registration advantage.
He says something further in this interview, one that rings true not just in Dirty Jersey, but across America:
I just think it's time for us to say there can't be two classes of people in New Jersey, public employees who receive rich benefits and members of the public who pay for them
That's the future of this nation under the Democratic party. Two Americas: a private sector, milked dry, to pay for every goodie bestowed upon government workers within the public sector. It's a cause of a lot of the resentment you see out there today (sorry boys, it's not racism, no matter how much you wish it to be) from the average citizen, who sees everything they ever worked for taken away, to be given to Democratic constituencies or federal employees.
The Republican party needs to take Christie's message nationwide. It's simple: The government's business model is unsustainable, it is bankrupting middle America, and we need to take it to those people - unions and politicians - who are digging our graves deeper and deeper. It's time to have this fight. And if they don't want to co-operate with us , we'll bring the game to them.
It's a winner. Just ask Christie, he'll tell you - or Scott Brown, or Bob McDonnell...