Friday, July 24, 2009

Will Corzine Drop Out?

Yesterday as he asked for the resignation of his Community Affairs Commissioner (who's implicated in a massive corruption investigation) New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine seemed flummoxed.
He stammered, fell over his words and mumbled something about there being too many layers of government in the state. Imagine, Corzine -- one of America's liberal icons -- trying to make a case for too much government.
The huge corruption scandal that exploded yesterday (involving mostly Democrat officeholders) makes Corzine's vow that he would end "politics as usual" in Joisey seem downright laughable.
But Corzine wasn't laughing. No way.
He seemed droll, fatigued, disengaged.
He didn't look, act or sound like a leader. Rather, he seemed like a hapless spectator watching a volcano erupt all around him.
To be sure, this scandal has many wondering if the Dems will try to squeeze Corzine out and pull a Torricelli-style switcheroo before the November election.
Remember - stranger things have happened in New Jersey. And the state Supreme Court has been all too willing to let them happen.
Nearly a month ago, right here, I reported as follows:
New Jersey Democrats that I talk to are running scared.
Died-in-the-wool Democrat friends don't even wanna talk about November's gubernatorial election.
And when they do talk, it's not good. Having been a Democrat myself, I know lots of Democrats and count them as longtime friends . . .
They all say the same thing: Corzine looks tired, overwhelmed, defeated.
Some people tell me they feel the governor has simply not been the same since his unfortunate auto accident.
Others say the bottom fell out when his turnpike toll hike plan was soundly rejected.
"He's lost something along the way. He doesn't really seem to want to be in the job anymore," someone commented. "He seems distracted."
A well-connected Democrat told me that the state Democrat hierarchy really didn't want the Governor to run again.
"They feel he's a liability," this person said. "But he controls the purse strings, so what can you do?"
A Republican officeholder said he hasn't seen anything like this in New Jersey for a long time. "It's unprecedented," he said. "I've actually had Democrat leaders come up to me and quietly assure me that the Republicans have the better candidate. They as much as tell me that they're voting for Chris Christie and urging family members and close friends to do the same. I hardly know what to say."
Once again, I must caution the GOP: Don't take anything for granted.
The Democrat establishment that controls the state is as slippery as ever and the Dems still have more than a few tricks up their sleeve.
It's a long, long way from July to November.

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