In 1948, underdog incumbent U.S. President Harry Truman scored what was perceived as an upset victory for election in part by beating up on the Republican-controlled Congress as a “do-nothing” Congress.
His attacks on Congress succeeded in shifting the debate away from his relatively unpopular Administration, and energized the Democratic base (the shouts of “give ‘em hell Harry!!” would start resounding at Truman campaign stops.)
It appears that NJ Republicans will have a similar inviting target in the 2011 Legislative Elections, if the NJ Legislature continues to waste its time on pseudo investigations and other trivia that mean nothing to the public, but only serve to contrast it unfavorably with a can-do Governor who is focusing on solving problems people care about.
Governor Christie’s Administration has become a literal policy machine, churning out comprehensive proposals on COAH, gaming/entertainment, ethics, property tax and spending toolkit, and pension and benefit reform. The Governor hasn’t stopped at policy proposals. His strong leadership, as opposed to the vapid talk of his predecessor, has resulted in numerous other successes, including commitments by Fortune 500 companies to re-invest in NJ in part because of Governor Christie’s policies, and the reality of the Bayonne Bridge re-construction, due to strong interstate leadership exercised by the Governor.
The tsunami of strong, specific ideas from the Governor has caught the Legislature like a deer in headlights, which cannot figure out what, if any, of these proposals to consider when.
It is a truism that an Executive proposes, and the Legislature disposes. But this NJ Legislature doesn’t seem capable either of disposing of the Governor’s proposals, or matching them with its own. This Legislature seems content to focus instead on the burning issue of exactly when Bret Schundler allegedly lied to the Governor. Who cares? Trenton burns while the Legislature fiddles.
The Legislature is wasting valuable weeks and months, by refusing to step up to the plate and consider and debate seriously what the Governor has proposed. It will have a lot to answer for to the electorate next year if it lets this time pass without beginning serious debate on the serious issues affecting our state. A “Do-Nothing” Legislature for 2011 sounds more and more likely as a weapon the GOP will wield.