New Jersey Politics the Same as the Rest

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 money.

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.

Power Will Be Abused

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 donations?

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.