Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Steve Adubato previewed his call-in special Thursday with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that airs on WNYC AM 820 at 8pm. Tune in at 7pm for a preview conversation with Brian Lehrer about New Jersey politics.
Time and again, Governor Chris Christie has said he is not running for president in 2012, but that doesn't stop people from asking him about it. Many in the Republican party also think he could be a lock for their 2016 nomination if he is indeed skipping the upcoming contest. Steve Adubato said it doesn't sound sexy, but it's probably smart for the governor to hold off. Leaving New Jersey's budget and pension problems unresolved could bury him in a national election.
The system is about to go bankrupt. If the governor doesn't get a compromise with Democrats in the legislature, and the system goes bust, you can forget about running for president. And to his credit, he's trying to get it done.
Adubato said that he expected New Jersey residents to ask Christie how he plans to create a business-friendly climate in the state. That means addressing New Jersey's exorbitant taxes, which would have its own costs to the budget and other initiatives. What would suffer?
I hope people ask the governor, how are you going to do that without giving away the store? How are you going to do that without doing away with environmental regulations?
Adubato also said that he expected talk of taxes and burdens on average people to be tinted by another recent "scandal" involving Christie's preferred mode of transportation.
I also know people are going to ask about helicopters. It's not really the helicopter by itself, it's what it represents to people, and the governor is going to have to deal very directly with people saying, 'Let me get this straight: if I've got to go to my kid's practice and I can't take a helicopter and I gotta sit in traffic, or I may not be able to go, why should you be able to go?' He's going to have to deal directly with the question of how life is different for a chief executive.
Governor Christie is popular, but his methods are polarizing. He's been called a bully; indeed, his administration has a habit of posting videos of the governor laying into detractors on YouTube. Adubato said that with all the problems facing Jersey, the governor could expect questions about whether his management style is effective—and whether it would be at higher levels of government.
I'm going to ask him about regrets. I'm going to ask him about apologizing, whether calling individual legislators who disagree with him a jerk. I'm curious to ask the governor how you negotiate with someone when you call them a jerk.
But that's Chris Christie. Chris Christie actually doesn't care in many ways if he gets you angry. The problem becomes, unless you control the governorship and both houses of legislature...how the heck do you negotiate getting things done for the state when you get in people's faces?
You have your own question for Governor Christie? Add it below.