Mr. Christie had little political experience to define him when he ran for governor in 2009; he had been a lawyer and a lobbyist, a one-term county freeholder and the United States attorney for New Jersey.
During the campaign, the state’s deep financial trouble took center stage. Mr. Christie focused on the state’s high taxes, played down his opposition to abortion, and aligned himself with President Obama on subjects like education reform and promoting wind and solar energy. And the new governor was a blank slate on some issues, like global warming.
In office, he eliminated the state’s Office of Climate Change, cut funding for clean energy programs and eliminated New Jersey’s share of financing for a 10-state greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program that is anathema to many conservatives.
But those were billed as pragmatic, budgetary moves. In November, Mr. Christie went further: He revealed that he was skeptical that human activity was responsible for climate change. Responding to a question at a public forum in Toms River, he said, “I think we’re going to need more science to prove something one way or the other.”
On March 11, he pulled New Jersey out of a multistate lawsuit aimed at curbing greenhouse emissions from power plants, and on March 24, he said he might also withdraw entirely from the cap-and-trade program.
Mr. Christie’s opposition to abortion has long been a matter of public record, but he has barely mentioned it unless asked. Then, in January, the governor addressed a large anti-abortion rally in Trenton, saying, “This is an issue whose time has come.”
In September, he vetoed state support for family planning clinics, a move strongly backed by anti-abortion groups because some of the clinics performed abortions. In February, after the Democratic-controlled Legislature approved a much smaller appropriation for family planning, backed mostly by federal dollars, he vetoed that, too. Mr. Christie also applied for federal money for abstinence-only education, something that the Democrat he unseated, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, had not done.
In February, Mr. Christie made a splash in the national news media with a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, weighing in on issues that are not the usual fare for governors, like changes in Medicare and raising the minimum age for Social Security. He derided President Obama’s talk of high-speed rail and electric cars as “the candy of American politics.”
Hm. Sounds like the governor of the Garden State has indulged a little too much, a little too quickly, at the rich buffet of right-wing politics, not only loading up his plate with lots of hard-to-digest fiscal conservatism, but also starting to knock back glass after heady glass of culture-war vintage.
Thus we proudly bring you the latest exhibit in the p3 Separated at Birth museum: The revolting fellow you wouldn't want to sit next to at a fancy restaurant, because you might find out the hard way what's really inside him . . . and Mr. Creosote.
Better "the candy of American politics," I'd say, than a "wafer-thin mint."
(Images: Mr. Creosote and Mr. Christie.)