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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In 2009, decisions, decisions

Gov. Jon S. Corzine's future gubernatorial aspirations could hinge on whether or not the legislature passes a slew of bills called for by the governor earlier this month in an effort to seriously restrict pay-to-play and wheeling, which continue to hamper public opinion of New Jersey government.

It could be a showdown - between the value of real ethics reforms versus control of the governorship - that would certainly be interesting and quite telling for New Jersey residents, who have revealed in recent polls that the corrupt perception of their government weighs heavily on their minds.

Of course, the only real reason that the party in power, the Democrats, might actually face such a conundrum is because of the man Gov. Corzine will likely face off with in 2009.

Whether he means real reform or not, current U.S. attorney and likely Republican candidate for governor Chris Christie will have the support of many a New Jerseyan.

That's because many of us have become quite tired of the endless tales of corruption, whether it be actual cases of criminal activity or the disproportionate influence of money and political bosses on what is supposed to be a democratic process.

People see the corruption cases that Mr. Christie has so successfully prosecuted, and equate that record of success with some sort of unfounded judgment that the ugly practices and dirty government going on right now will somehow stop with Mr. Christie's ascension into Drumthwacket.

But in reality things will probably continue in much of the same way, as they did when Republicans were last in power.

That's why all these calls for blood over the recent government grant revelations made during the ongoing Wayne Bryant trial ring so hollow. As many have written recently, the Republicans have done and would have done exactly the same thing in the same or similar situations.

But regardless of the equally poor ethics records of both major New Jersey parties, when it comes to the 2009 governor's race, Mr. Christie surely has some sort of an advantage over Gov. Corzine, that is, unless the state legislature advances those ethics reform bills, despite whatever negative effect the laws may have on the ability of Democratic bosses to raise funds and solidify power.

Does controlling the governor's office matter enough to power-hungry politicians to sway them into voting to significantly dampen their own ability to hold onto the reins of power?

That is the question.

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