Christie v. O’Malley

by nkronos on February 4, 2011

NJ Gov. Chris Christie has received enormous press since his surprise victory in blue state NJ because of his combative, pugnacious style and his unapologetic stance that political business as usual must end. Although his single-minded elevation of budgetary issues has left social conservatives less enamored with him than fanboy fiscal conservatives, his articulate, no excuses assault on big government in an era of diminishing expectations is without equal on the contemporary political stage. Congressman Paul Ryan has the intelligence, but only Christie brings Margaret Thatcher-like vigor to the debate.

At least one of Christie’s gubernatorial peers seems to have developed state-house envy: Maryland’s Martin O’Malley. In Maryland O’Malley inherited a similarly troubled budget when sworn in back in January 2007. To be sure, Maryland then was in a bit better shape than New Jersey in 2010. Maryland faced a $1.7 billion shortfall, whereas New Jersey’s was $2.2 billion and immediate as opposed to structural. Plus the national economy had not yet descended into the Great Recession.

O’Malley’s solution was to sign a 14 percent tax increase, the largest in Maryland’s history.

Thus one might say the two governors are philosophically opposed.

Two weeks ago, O’Malley let Christie know in uncharacteristic language to use about a governor of another state what he thought about Christie, saying NJ’s governor “delights in being abusive towards public employees.”  And:

I’m against doing that….Some of your more ideologically hardcore right-wing governors … are trying to take advantage of this time for their own ideological game, I suppose.

Today, Christie fired back with equally direct rhetoric:

I heard that pabulum Governor O’Malley was spewing down in Maryland. He doesn’t know what he is talking about. Come to New Jersey and listen to what I am saying rather than listening to his Democratic consultants. We are shining a bright light on what these things cost, and they cost a lot of money. Governor O’Malley calls that picking on public sector workers. I call that telling the people who are paying the bills the truth and not kissing up to every special interest you want to have on your side to get electoral success.

Christie may not have the physique of O’Malley…

Governor O'Malley

…but I think I prefer the cut of Christie’s jib nevertheless.

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