New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is becoming quite a political star, and for good reason: He’s facing down a terrible state financial crisis and he’s doing it with courage and principle.
Happily, some in the mainstream press are noticing:
Christie is tackling the nation’s worst state deficit — $10.7 billion of a $29.3 billion budget. In doing so, Christie has become the politician so many Americans crave, one willing to lose his job. Indeed, Christie is doing something unheard of: governing as a Republican in a blue state, just as he campaigned, making good on promises, acting like his last election is behind him.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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Upon taking office Christie declared a state of emergency, signing an executive order that froze spending, and then, in eight weeks, cutting $13 billion in spending. In March he presented to the Legislature his first budget, which cuts 9 percent of spending, including more than $800 million in education funding; seeks to privatize numerous government functions; projects 1,300 layoffs; and caps tax increases….
Can Christie succeed? We will find out on June 30, when the Legislature must pass a budget . But no matter the political price, Christie is determined. “You just have to stand and grit your teeth and know your poll numbers are going to go down — and mine have — but you gotta grit through it because the alternative is unacceptable,” he told The Wall Street Journal.
The alternative is unacceptable — words a growing majority of Americans desperately want to hear from their elected officials.
You can read the full column from The Hill here. And if you want more, here’s the video of an entertaining encounter the governor had yesterday with a journalist who wondered if Christie’s tone wasn’t too “confrontational.” (Uh… has he ever been to New Jersey?)
I like the way Christie handled it.