Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, is proving that
he will make a great presidential candidate. He knows how to play ball with the establishment and he is
great at exchanging political favors for money.
Of course, in our internet world today of near instant
communication, Christie better be a little more careful in how much he tries to
get away with.
After just coming off of the Bridgegate scandal, there are
now reports that a big supporter of Christie is getting major financial favors
in return. This isn’t exactly a case
of free market transactions, as it involves the use of political power and tax
Charles Baker is involved in two companies – General
Catalyst and Oscar Insurance – both of which have benefited from investments
made from the New Jersey public pension – a decision of the Christie
administration. Baker is on the
board of both companies and has a direct financial interest in Oscar Insurance,
receiving compensation in the form of equity.
Interestingly, Baker is running for governor of
Massachusetts. Yet he has had no
problem in making large donations to the New Jersey Republican State Committee.
Of course, any allegations of trading favors will be denied
by both Baker and Christie. But
this is the way that politics work.
It doesn’t matter the level of government (federal, state,
or local) and it usually doesn’t matter who is elected. Whenever there is power and money
available, it will be abused.
When the Christie administration is determining how to
invest public pension money, is it likely that they are going to pick an
investment firm that is most likely to benefit pensioners and taxpayers? Or is it more likely that they are
going to pick an investment firm that will return political favors and campaign
When Chris Christie first became the governor of New Jersey,
some people within the Republican Party, and even some outside, were attracted
to his seeming bluntness. He
seemed to hold no punches. I think
there was some real hope that he was a politician who would defy the
establishment. People want to
believe that there is somebody out there fighting for them.
This should dispel any notion that you can just elect the
“right guy” into office and then everything will take care of itself. Unfortunately, whether it is voters on
the right with people like Christie or voters on the left with people like
Obama, it seems that some people will never learn that most people running for
political office are seeking power to use against others. And for the remaining who aren’t
running for office for this reason, most of them quickly change once
elected. The power goes straight
to their head.
Christ Christie has not turned out to be the conservative
champion that many had hoped. He
has been lousy on spending, taxes, debt, and a host of other major issues. Now it is becoming evident that he uses
his political power to gain campaign money and to punish his enemies.
I don’t know how many more scandals Christie can go through
before the Republican establishment gives up on him. If he is going to run for president, he needs to learn to be
a little more cautious and to add a few more layers between his campaign donors
and those who receive his favors.
He needs to brush up on his skills as a politician.