Thursday, November 6, 2008
While Barack Obama assembles his cabinet and works on other transition issues, New Jersey already is thinking about another election – the state’s 2009 campaign for Governor.
On the Democratic side, there is little drama. Unless he is offered a cabinet post in the Obama Administration, incumbent Jon Corzine in all likelihood will be on the ballot seeking his second term.
For Republicans, several party members have expressed interest in the Governor’s Office, but U.S. Attorney Chris Christie is regarded as the GOP’s leading candidate. It is easy to see why. As U.S. Attorney, Christie has built a strong reputation cracking down on public corruption, successfully prosecuting some of the most the state’s most powerful political leaders.
All things considered, however, Christie may be better off if he sits out the 2009 race and sets his sites on 2013 instead. Here’s why.
At the moment, New Jersey Democrats are flexing their muscle. Barack Obama carried the state by a comfortable margin on Tuesday and Frank Lautenberg cruised to re-election in the U.S. Senate. Democrats also gained control of a Congressional seat that has been in GOP hands since 1882. And don’t forget that in addition to having a Democrat in the Governor’s Office, the party also holds majorities in both houses of the State Legislature. Add an Obama presidency into the mix and it may not be the most opportune time for a Republican challenger, especially if the Democratic president’s favorability numbers are still riding high next year. Only New Jersey and Virginia will be holding gubernatorial elections next year, so it is conceivable that Obama could come into the Garden State to boost the Democrat cause.
Secondly, at the present time Christie is a one issue candidate and that issue – corruption – seldom resonates with New Jersey voters. It did not work for Tom Kean Jr. when he ran for U.S. Senate two years ago, and Doug Forrester’s attempts to paint Corzine as a candidate created by political bosses failed to take hold in the 2005 gubernatorial campaign. This year, Republicans were unable to win any freeholder seats in Bergen County even though two of the county’s most powerful Democratic leaders were under indictment. Likewise, campaign ads raising questions about John Adler’s connection to a controversial state grant program failed to keep victory out of his hands on Tuesday.
So what does Chris Christie do for the next few years? He should take a lesson from two former Governors.
After Jim Florio lost the 1981 Governor’s election by the narrowest margin in state history, he was considered the frontrunner for the 1985 contest. But with incumbent Governor Tom Kean enjoying great popularity with the New Jersey citizenry, Florio sat out the race and chose instead to run in 1989 when there would be no incumbent on the gubernatorial ballot. The decision proved to be the correct one. He was elected Governor in 1989 with 61 percent of the vote.
There also is a lesson to be learned from Christine Todd Whitman. After she almost upset Bill Bradley in the 1990 U.S. Senate campaign, she used her time wisely to build support for her successful run for Governor in 1993. Hosting a radio talk show (as Whitman did) may not be in the U.S. Attorney’s future, but there are plenty of ways he could make good use of the time between gubernatorial elections.
With a Democratic Administration about to take hold in Washington, D.C., Christie’s days as U.S. attorney are numbered. He can return to private practice with a law firm that will give him the time he needs to sow the seeds for a run in 2013. In the interim, he plays the good soldier in the 2009 gubernatorial race, raising money, delivering surrogate speeches and building goodwill for the GOP standard bearer.
If Corzine wins the election, Christie then has four full years to wage his campaign for Governor. During this time, he can expand his platform beyond the single issue of corruption. He can become a vocal and visible critic of the Democratic Administration, using the populist appeal that has served him well as U.S. Attorney. He can travel around New Jersey and build a stronger statewide identity by speaking at Kiwanis Club luncheons, VFW meetings, county fairs and the like.
From a strategic standpoint, Christie would be at an advantage by not holding a public office where he would be forced to vote on controversial issues. Instead, his public record would be his long list of successful prosecutions as U.S. Attorney. And he gets a few more years to put some distance between a run for Governor and the most serious controversy of his career – the $52 million contract awarded to former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's company to monitor t a criminal settlement.
The big question, however, is whether Christie has the patience to wait until 2013. Politics is a world in which people want things now. But Chris Christie has experience at being patient. Among his hobbies and interests outside the office, he is a fan of New York Mets, a team whose last few seasons have tried the patience of even its most ardent followers.
Live coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Mark Halperin, Al Hunt, Bernard-Henri Levy, Jodi Kantor, Seth Lipsky, Charles Ogletree, Orlando Patterson and Connie Schultz.
According to the National Enquirer, Queen Latifah and long time trainer boo Jeanette Jenkins are about to get hitched:
“This week’s National Enquirer states that Queen Latifah plans to marry her partner of five years, personal trainer Jeannette Jenkins, after the groundbreaking ruling in California that legalized same-sex marriages.”
But is this tale believable? We all know how tight-lipped King Latifah can be about her love life:
“So if this is true, it’s a big step for Latifah, who’s never even mentioned Jeannette. She has a lot of high-profile endorsement contracts as well as her movie career, so maybe she fears a backlash if she comes out or just doesn’t think it’s anyone’s business. The Enquirer points out that Jeanette isn’t out, either, and that she ‘previously denied being gay and once claimed to be engaged to a man.’
In September of last year, Latifah bought Jeannette a new car, a Range Rover she had delivered to surprise her at a restaurant where they were having lunch.
The two are said to be ‘planning an intimate ceremony with close family and friends.’ Latifah has said she would like to adopt a child, particular an American baby, and this may be the first step toward showing her commitment to Jeannette and to providing a stable home life.”
It’s about time King Latifah quit denying her Lezzy status. If this ish is true, we’re sure it will be a top secret affair. We’ll have to just wait and see….
A security agent scans the area around Obama with binoculars.
Hate groups believe assassinating Barack Obama can match the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre, an expert in political terrorism says.
Grim fears about the safety of America's first black president-elect continue to build, with the country's most reviled racist group the Ku Klux Klan warning of a "race war" after Obama's election yesterday.
Monash University's Greg Barton said: "Obama is such an iconic figure that in the perverse logic of political assassination or terror he is an immensely attractive target."
Professor Barton said the fears for Obama are justified.
"You can imagine in the minds of some, killing President Barack Obama would be just as powerful, if not more powerful, than bringing down the World Trade Center towers," he told ninemsn.
"Yes, we have to be really concerned — but I think there are a lot of people on the job [to prevent it] … but he will never again have an ordinary life."
Obama received the highest level of security ever afforded to a candidate during the election campaign.
Throughout the 22-month campaign the secret service investigated more than 500 death threats against the 47-year-old African-American.
Two white supremacist skinheads were arrested last month over plans to shoot Obama and kill other blacks.
Twenty-year-old Daniel Cowart and 18-year-old Paul Schlesselman have been indicted on charges of possessing a sawn-off shotgun, planning to rob a licensed gun dealer and threatening a presidential candidate.
The Ku Klux Klan on its website "welcomed" Obama's election because "it could mean an awakening of our spirit and blood".
But the site also claimed that "this is a race war — a culture war — being waged against white people".
Victorious Obama waves to his supporters through bullet-proof glass.
The US government has already started testing new designs for a presidential limousine equipped to withstand most bomb blasts and terror attacks.
While Obama's wife Michelle — a corporate lawyer — has expressed her concern over the threats facing their family, Obama has previously said it's "not something that I'm spending time thinking about day to day."
"I think anybody who decides to run for president recognises that there are some risks involved," he said.
Four US presidents have been assassinated — Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John Kennedy.
Another eight presidents have survived "credible" attempts of their lives.
Obama has paid tribute thoughtout his campaign to Martin Luther King — the leader of the American civil rights movement who was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
Newspapers all over the world yesterday reported that Obama's elect had achieved King's dream.
But many Americans are fearful the election could ignite racist resentment.
"It a great thing but a scary thing," said 28-year-old Cincinnati nurse Natasha Johnson.
"There have already been two failed [publicised] assassination plots… there are still a lot of people who don't agree with this."
As well as the KKK reaction, "Impeach Barack Obama" Facebook groups have already surfaced on the internet, with one attracting more than 700 members.