After last night's debate among New Jersey's candidates for Governor we now know and understand a lot more than we did before.
For example, we now know why Jon Corzine didn't want any more debates than absolutely necessary and why he kept trying to duck the debates altogether.
Corzine was hopelessly ill at ease last night.
His answers were choppy at best. His voice was weak. His grasp of the issues was shockingly unsteady. He really did seem to be in another universe.
When Chris Christie said of the Governor: "You have to wonder where he's living," I wanted to yell out: "The Hamptons!"
But the truth is that last night Corzine wouldn't have fit in anywhere: Not in the Hamptons, not in Manhattan, not in on the Black or White Horse Pike, not in Piscataway or Peapack or Pennington and maybe not even in his native Illinois.
The Governor seemed vaguely disconnected and possibly disinterested in the whole debate.
As for the third-party candidate, Chris Daggett -- well, he kept reminding me of Mister Rogers. He seems to be a likable fellow (actually a Doctor of Education) but someone who's better suited to a gentler, quieter environment. Kansas might be a good place for Daggett.
He'd probably make a good mid-level manager somewhere or perhaps serve as the Dean of a small college in a cozy, rural setting. I mean, c'mon: someone who actually talks about raising New Jersey's taxes even more and does it as if he's reading a bedtime story to a child -- this is a bit much. I simply don't know what Daggett's been thinking or why he believes he's got a Met's chance in Phillie's country to win this thing. This guy actually wants to add sales taxes on a whole host of goods and services (including shore rentals) in a scheme that will play havoc with our state's already-ravaged economy.
Now, it wasn't enough for Daggett and Corzine to fail. Christie had to succeed last night. And he did.
What I'm trying to say here is this: Chris Christie hit the ball out of the park last night.
He performed like an accomplished trial lawyer (which he is) but he also communicated on human terms like someone you would chat with over the back fence.
Once again, Chris was real.
Chris is as you see him: A bright, accomplished, fearless professional who's also a real Jersey Guy. It's disarming in a way. But it's also refreshing. Chris understands your frustrations, knows your concerns, appreciates the fact that you're struggling and that you can't take it anymore. He hears you. He gets it. And he's not going to forget it.
Do you want to know Chris Christie's plan for cutting taxes? Chris detailed it last night. Here it is: Work hard with the legislators and others in Trenton and beyond to consolidate too many towns and school districts and local services, to regionalize, to cut government waste and mismanagement and cut spending significantly to stop the alarming growth of government. Chris said it: There is no magic formula, no magic bullet. We've got to do the hard work and begin paying as we go. Then, we can begin to pass the savings onto taxpayers.
But New Jersey must learn to abandon its old tax and spend ways.
We have a great word for it in Italian: "Basta!" Stop!
Christie knows the meaning of that word. And Chris Christie can lead us in the right direction because he's not of, by and for Trenton and the special interests. He's not a Trenton insider. He knows how to say "No!"
Mr. Nowhere and Mr. Rogers can't do that.
Chris Christie -- the guy who put hundreds of corrupt Democrats and Republicans in jail -- can.
He really is New Jersey's last best hope.
Well, don't just sit there. Get on the phone and tell all your friends and neighbors. Knock on doors. Stop people at the PTA meetings and at church and at the CVS and the supermarket. Speak up. Do something.
Tell them we need Christie as our Governor.