New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on June12, 2014, has drawn criticism from the New Jersey Democratic State Committee who accuses Christie of using the appearance to distract from his own short comings and the current problems and issues facing the Garden State.
Committee Chairman John Currie stated that “the governor's scandalous behavior has already made the Garden State the laughing stock of the country, so this late night comedy booking only adds insult to the injury his failed economic policies have caused to middle class families." Currie adds “in addition to the ongoing investigations into how and why the world’s busiest bridge was blocked by the governor's political appointees and citizens were put in harm’s way on the first day of school, the Christie administration has neglected Sandy survivors struggling to rebuild their lives, allegedly misused and misdirected public resources, and taken cronyism to “a whole new level.”
Currie paints a hard look at the state’s current economic woes stating “New Jersey is also enduring record foreclosures, anemic job growth and falling credit scores. And, because of Christie’s conservative priorities and excessively optimistic revenue projections, the state is facing a large budget shortfall, meaning it literally doesn’t have enough money to pay its obligations. The Christie administration’s proposal, for which he has no alternative, is to withhold promised payments to New Jersey's pension fund for public workers, a move that may well be unconstitutional.
“Meanwhile, New Jersey’s deepening budget crisis has not inhibited the Governor from rewarding his political team. Despite the state's lagging economy, a Bergen Record report found that in recent months “nearly all of the state employees responsible for helping Governor Christie craft and promote his image got raises that averaged 23 percent. This may explain why the governor is booking television appearances instead of addressing policy concerns.”
While Currie is on point about the issues you have to also factor in the political nature of his pre-emptive strike. The press release was sent out even before the show was taped as opposed to afterwards, which you can bet there will be one to follow for whatever is said on the show.
Let’s be realistic, if that were a Democratic Governor appearing on the show, the situation would be reversed, the release is nothing but politics as usual and a maneuver to keep Christie on the ropes.
Appearing with Jimmy Fallon is the hottest ticket in town for politicians and celebrities. Fallon has single handedly resuscitated late night television and started his own revolution, the old guard of Leno and Letterman has been replaced with new blood that caters to a younger demographic, a voting block that politicians with high ambitions salivate over.
Agree with him or not, Christie commands an audience, his “Jersey style” and self-effacing humor makes him a natural for the camera. How many Governors do you see on the late night stage unless they have a national appeal?
New Jersey is not used to having a Governor who has a national fan club and for that matter neither did the Democrats in Jersey when they led the state. Jon Corzine is in hiding, Jim McGreevey did make national headlines but was the butt of the joke.
The timing could also not be better for Christie, the sudden demise of House Majority Speaker Eric Cantor has the GOP running for the lifeboats and creates a power struggle within the party for the position of the House Speaker, a topic that will no doubt be brought up and gives Christie a chance to promote his own agenda and his sense of direction for the party.
The bottom line is that this is just jealousy from the Democrats in Jersey and let’s call it what it is, taping an hour show is not going to make or break the State but it might help Christie's image, and that is what the Democrats are really concerned about.
Perhaps the State Democrats should get the seedless grapes, they are not as sour and easier to swallow, and they wont choke on the pits.