Chris Christie, the Republican Governor of New Jersey and Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will be romancing Ohio’s RGA-designated “comeback” Gov. John Kasich Monday in Independence, site of an early vote rally.
You may remember Christie as the guy who closed down the George Washington Bridge that connects New Jersey to New York City to spite the Mayor of Fort Lee, NJ for not endorsing him in his last election. Christie had sought endorsements from Democrats to show a national audience in 2016 that he’s a moderate even Democrats can endorse. Before he touches down in the Buckeye State, he’ll have already stumped for other GOP governors who were swept into office in 2010, the year of the rise of the American Tea Party, including Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania and Rick Snyder in Michigan. Recent polls show Walker and Snyder in tight races with Corbett trailing his Democratic opponent.
Christie campaigned for Kasich in 2010 and said last fall at the RGA’s conference at a Phoenix resort, “I love John Kasich.” Now that gordo and flaco have fallen in love with each other, and with their names being routinely mentioned as GOP presidential hopefuls because they manage states, they are being cast as turnaround artists who’ll do for the country what they’ve done for their states. What have they done for their states? Well, if it’s job growth, the single most important reason each said they should be elected then and again this year, not a lot.
According to the rankings of current states by job growth by the W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, Mr. Christie, oversees a state that is just two steps away from last place.
The best of the lot is Wisconsin at 19, with Pennsylvania cruising in at 42 and Ohio, under the direction of Johnny Kasich and his private and largely secret job creation group JobsOhio finally breaks out of the bottom ten worst performing states by placing 37. Not seasonally adjusted, the figures culled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that from January through August 2014, Ohio only created 5,289 jobs. That’s it. That’s not much, especially when the advertising for these “comeback” governors was how much their business friendly, lax government regulations would boost jobs. For New Jersey, that figures was way worse at 3,928.
A year ago, Christie actually held two televised debates with his Democratic challenger Barbara Buono, a Democratic state senator, even though he was expected to trounce her, which he did. This year in Ohio, there won’t be any debates because John Kasich is afraid to debate, using as his convenient but totally transparent excuse that his Democrat challenger’s campaign has tanked and he has better ways to talk to voters. Christie, who many in GOP circles wanted to take on Mitt Romney for the White House nod in 2012, and Kasich, whose weasel words feigning disinterest in being Commander in Chief no one believes for a second, are birds of a feather because they flock together in being on the wrong side of state spending, job growth, support for public education and giving credit to where it’s due for the nation having fully recovered private jobs to levels higher than before the Great Recession: President Barack Obama, who Christie, Kasich and company want to again make the bogeyman this election cycle.
The question I would ask Christie, had Team Kasich or the RGA responded to my request for the location of the event, is to name anything John Kasich has done in Ohio that Christie should do in New Jersey. Specifically, why doesn’t New Jersey, where he’s been governor since 2009, have its own version of JobsOhio, since Kasich has said how much better it is than the public agency Ohio has used successfully for going on four decades? John Kasich has told us that the world, which presumably includes New Jersey, is looking to the “Ohio Model” as the model to follow.
Aside from Ohio, states with JobsOhio-like job creation groups that are private, secret and largely exempt for standard public scrutiny are hard to find. It appears, from this article by the Council of State Governments, that other than Ohio, only Iowa and Wisconsin have gazed into the future and seen Kasich’s poor performing vision.
John Kasich doesn’t have to deal, yet, with the weight around Christie’s neck that is BridgeGate. But little Johnny Pennsylvania is not unsullied [a bone to fans of Game of Thrones]. In fact, he’s sullied up to his neck in scandals just waiting to pop. From the conflicts of interest at JobsOhio, to his staffers beating the bushes for big bucks as the messiah of reform nears the finish line for governor, to his blind eye on charter school performance and the nearly billion the state frittered away to greedy school owners, draining public education dry. They may be buddy-buddy in Independence on Monday, but Christie will eat Kasich raw if he has to in 2016 when they go up against each other for leader of the free world.