President Barack Obama visited the Garden State of New Jersey to show support for embattled Governor Jon Corzine in his bid for re-election. Corzine has been in a uphill battle with Republican Chris Christie, the former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. I find it interesting that the Democrats have pulled their "Big Guns" early in this campaign - Vice President Joe Biden for the Corzine Campaign kick-off, assorted cabinet level folks and finally, the Commander in Chief himself - in July!
This shows that the Corzine campaign recognizes that he is in big trouble, and not just with non-democrats. Do I think that the President's visit will help Governor Corzine? Yes, but not enough to make a big difference. Corzine's favorables are way too low, and one visit by the President isn't going to change that in his favor.
But does this mean that Chris Christie will be residing in Drumthuacket, the Governor's mansion, in January? It remains to be seen. This is July, and there is a lot of campaigning to be done and anything can happen in politics. Do I like Chris Christie for governor? Yes I do. I think he could bring a breath of fresh air to the Gold Dome in Trenton, and make the tough decisions that need to be made to bring prosperity and reason back to New Jersey.
I hope he will also bring a renewed sense of respectability to the state Republican Party. The party needs to stop the bickering, backbiting and sabotaging within its ranks. The party must grow and this will only happen if party leaders set the tone by allowing divergent viewpoints to be heard and allowed to become part of the fabric of the party.
In addition, the state party must be willing to welcome people of color and ethnicity. This must be done through real efforts, and not half-hearted attempts so GOP folks can say "well we tried", then pat themselves on the back for a valiant effort to make themselves feel good.
Above all, I never, ever want to hear from my party leaders that a particular group will not vote Republican, such as African Americans, therefore we will not even try to get their vote. And Republicans wonder why people of color seem to go Democratic. If you don't feel wanted, or are not taken seriously, what other recourse is there?
Chris Christie has an excellent opportunity to not only takeover the governor's office, but to set the tone and direction for the rebuilding of the GOP in New Jersey. Whether either happens...well...time will tell.