Democratic Comment by Rick Thigpen
Governor Corzine is faced with a dauntingly complex political landscape as he tries to pull New Jersey back from the brink of fiscal disaster. The voters want to cut government spending rather than face any tax increases. Yet they pull back from the consequences of specific cuts and attribute increases in government spending to waste, fraud and abuse. Furthermore they do not appear to accept the consequences of servicing a growing population, or dealing with spiraling health care and pension costs. This cognitive confusion, this disconnect from reality, provides fertile fields for Republican tax cut demagoguery.
Governor Corzine appears determined to tackle this problem head on. Like Grant at Cold Harbor, it appears Corzine may pay dearly for this direct assault on the entrenched fiscal enemy. In fact, his approval numbers indicate he is already beginning to pay.
How many political casualties can Governor Corzine take and still keep his Democratic legislative troops in line? In the long run, Corzine, the Democratic Party and New Jersey all stand to reap substantial benefits from pursuing responsible fiscal policies. There is, however, clearly much work still to be done to convince the voters, and legislators, of the wisdom of his chosen course of action. If he can develop a working majority around policies that put our fiscal house in order, he will have accomplished what President Bush has not even dared to attempt.
Comment by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Academic Associate, Rick Thigpen (J.D., Columbia University Law School). Rick is a former Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic Party and now a partner in The Strategy Group and is a campaign coordinator for the Essex County Democratic Party. Rick Thigpen, Esq. can be reached at (609) 394-0888.