Thursday, November 5, 2009

Politics by the pound in New Jersey

David Gewirtz weighed in as a guest contributor to Anderson Cooper's blog today with the following observations on the just-concluded New Jersey governor's race:

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.

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