[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/01/art.njrace.gi.jpg caption="Republican Chris Christie defeated Jon Corzine in New Jersey's gubernatorial election on Tuesday."]
David Gewirtz | BIO
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing
I think it's time I weighed in on the New Jersey election results. Some in the GOP (Chairman Michael Steele, for example) are claiming "historic" victories. Others, most notably Democrat Nancy Pelosi, are doing their level best to completely ignore the gubernatorial election results. That's right, Nancy. If you close your eyes, it never happened.
The punditocracy is going to town over this. First, most of us didn't even realize we were going to get the gift of politics until we turned on our TVs last night. It's like finding a post-season All Stars game on your TiVo when you didn't even know one was scheduled to record.
Talking heads. Pontification. Spin. It's enough to make a guy geek out all giddy with delight.
Back to New Jersey. First off, I'm a Jersey boy. I grew up in the Garden State and lived there on and off until just a few years ago, when my love for my wife (and her desire to live somewhere without winter) overwhelmed my deep connection with my native soil.
I'm telling you, it's weird down here in Florida. The Wal-Mart greeters actually greet you, sometimes even wishing you a "Blessed day". Back home in New Jersey, you never made it past a Wal-Mart greeter with anything warmer than "What you lookin' at?"
I miss New Jersey. But I digress.
I want to talk about why Democrat Jon Corzine really lost to Chris Christie. First, let's be clear about Corzine's history: he was a banker. And he wasn't just a banker, he was the banker. Jon Corzine was Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs until the late 1990s. Yes, that Goldman Sachs.
And if you don't think New Jerseyians aren't pissed off by the banks and, in particular, Goldman Sachs, you don't know my fellow citizens. So, completely separate from the issue of whether Corzine had been a good governor (and all indications are a resounding "meh"), he had one very serious point against him. He was was a super-wealthy banker running for office at a time when super-wealthy bankers should probably just be running and hiding.
And then there's the weight thing. And here's where I'm convinced he lost the election.
Jon Corzine lost by 4.4 percent to Chris Christie, a man who is by any measure big-boned. Corzine lost to Christie by just about 101,659 votes. In other words, he lost by the population of a mid-sized New Jersey town.
Corzine has made something of a campaign issue over Christie's weight, even to the point of running a campaign commercial accusing the heavier candidate of "throwing his weight around".
The dig was lost on nobody and was a matter of heavy press coverage for quite some time during the election process.
The thing is, we New Jersey folk don't take being insulted lightly. I'm a big guy and so are a lot of New Jersey citizens. Sure, there's some svelt former bankers running around the Garden State, eating up all those yummy Jersey-grown organic veggies, but New Jersey also has its fair share of rotund (and proud of it, you gonna make something of it?) citizens.
So here you have a fat cat picking on a fat dude. Out of the 2.2 million or so New Jersey residents, could there possibly have been 100,000 or so who didn't vote on issues and didn't vote on party, but voted because they were simply pissed off about the fat ads?
New Jerseyians who vote because they're pissed off? If New Jerseyians do one thing really well (and we do a lot really well), we do "pissed off" with panache. Give us something to get righteously indignant about and we're happier than a pig in a poke.
And that's what I think happened to Jon Corzine. I don't think it was a resurgence of the GOP's reach and influence. I just can't see the helicopter-hunting Sarah Palin carrying New Jersey in any way, shape, or form.
I just think some New Jersey residents remembered how much they hated bankers like Goldman Sachs and remembered that Corzine was the banker at Goldman Sachs. And I think some other New Jersey residents simply voted an "Oh, no, he didn't" about the weight thing.
I'm telling you. Don't piss off New Jersey. You'll regret it.
Follow David on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/DavidGewirtz.
Editor’s note: David Gewirtz is Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Magazines, including OutlookPower Magazine. He is a leading Presidential scholar specializing in White House email. He is a member of FBI InfraGard, the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals, a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, and has been a guest commentator for the Nieman Watchdog of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley extension, a recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering and was a candidate for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Letters.
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