By Dan Jacobson, Originally published in the July 7 edition of the triCityNews
And people object to the language in this newspaper? Turns out we’re not so out of line.
Check out Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney ripping into Republican Governor Chris Christie last weekend – in a front page story in the Star-Ledger, the biggest newspaper in the state:
He’s mean-spirited. He’s angry. If you don’t like what he says, I liken it to being spoiled…(it’s) I’m going to get my way, or else. He’s a rotten prick.
After all, only a few days before the two stood together at the signing of the controversial pension reform bill. They called each other friends and partners. The Governor hailed this bipartisan cooperation as a national model.
So much for that! Days later Christie vetoed the Democratic budget – and used his power to unilaterally reduce budget items, including funds for some pretty vulnerable people. Sweeney said it was political retaliation against those opposing the Governor:
This is all about him being a bully and a punk. I wanted to punch him in the head…To prove a point to me – a guy who has stood side by side with him, and made tough decisions – for him to punish people to prove a political point? He’s just a rotten bastard to do what he did.
Listen, you can punch me in the face and knock me down, do what you want. But don’t be vindictive and punish innocent people. These people didn’t do anything to him. It’s like a bank robber taking hostages. And now he’s starting to shoot people.
I liken it to being spoiled…He’s just a cruel man.
Hey, even we’ve never used the word “prick” in these pages. (Probably because we never thought of it.) But now that the Star-Ledger says it’s OK, well, let’s face it: Governor Christie can be a prick.
Not that he isn’t right most of the time on economic issues. I’d vote for the pension and benefits reform bill. But there’s just something about the guy I never liked. It’s just a visceral reaction. Of course, no way was I going to vote for that prick Jon Corzine in the last election. What a buffoon. So I voted for Independent Chris Daggett, who may or may not be a prick.
Anyway, I’m running for the state Assembly this year as an Independent. I have a strong libertarian streak on economics and social issues. And I have no interest in being a politician or acting like one. Way too cheesy. I’d simply want to do the job of an Assemblyman. Imagine that.
But if elected, there’s one huge perk I’m going to milk for all it’s worth: The entertainment value of being down in Trenton with all these clowns. It would be outrageous. Just fantastic. I couldn’t help but insert myself right into the middle of it. Who could resist such centrifugal forces of absurdity? And to own a newspaper and be able to write about it all the time! I’m sorry, you people have got to elect me. You’ve got to!
I first went to Trenton in 1984 as an aide to then state Senator Frank Pallone. I got elected to the state Assembly as a Democrat at age 28 and served a term in 1990-91. Even had a physical altercation with the Assembly Speaker, who was a member of my own party, after I led a revolt on a controversial education funding bill. So I’ve seen some action real up close and personal down there. Pretty wild stuff.
But I never saw anything like the drama unfolding between Sweeney and Christie. And the set design in the background is just fabulous: The Democratic Party imploding – tearing itself up as Democratic leaders like Sweeney sided with the Governor on pension and benefit reform, while lower ranking Democratic legislators bitterly blasted their own leadership to suck up to their union sponsors. And now suddenly – out of nowhere – Sweeney and Christie are in a steel caged wrestling match.
What a spectacle! Man, give Governor Christie credit for choreographing the whole show. It’s brilliant. After Democratic leaders stuck their necks out for him on pension and benefit reform – giving him even greater national prominence – the Governor turned on them just days later when he blasted their proposed budget. What treachery.
What a prick!
Of course, Christie was completely right in his comments. But he’s still a prick:
The proposed budget from the Democrats is just more of the same unrealistic, pie in the sky, fantasy budgeting they brought to New Jersey for the eight years before we arrived. Instead of continuing to put New Jersey on strong fiscal footing, this proposal reaffirms the Democrats’ commitment to job-killing tax increases and an unrepentant addiction to spending. New Jerseyans are the most over-taxed citizens in America and they want us to reduce spending and make government smaller. This proposal only serves to denigrate all of the hard choices made over the last year that broke from decades of state government spending money that just doesn’t exist.
Got to say, the level of our political discourse has sunk to new lows with the publication of that Sunday front page Star-Ledger article – with the most powerful Democrat in Trenton calling our Republican Governor “a rotten prick.”
If elected, I promise that you won’t see this Publisher use such language in the state capitol. I’d use it in these pages, of course. But not while walking around in my official capacity as a state Assemblyman.
Then again, I’d tell a reporter that something is bullshit. Although I wouldn’t call any other elected officials assholes. Certainly not “rotten pricks”.
You know, I got to think this through now that the Star-Ledger has totally changed the rules. Got to make sure we keep our standards current so people know what’s acceptable behavior.
After all, we’re the triCityNews. We’re here to help.
(The 11th District where I’m running includes: Asbury Park, Long Branch, Red Bank, Ocean Township, Neptune, Neptune City, Interlaken, Deal, Allenhurst, Loch Arbour, West Long Branch, Eatontown, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls, Colts Neck, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough.)