Monthly Archives: February 2011

Grading Christie on the Budget

Governor Chris Christie gets an A in politics for the state budget he introduced on February 22, but in terms of demonstrating leadership, the Governor’s grade is an incomplete.

Chief executives, whether they are governors, presidents or mayors, have a responsibility to present their legislative bodies with budget proposals that are full and complete. The state budget and its components should stand on their own when they go to the Legislature. Legislators then can accept, reject and alter line items before sending the document back to the Governor for action.

This is not the scenario Governor Christie laid out this year. Continue reading

Upcoming Presentations

I will be speaking at two conferences in March.

On Friday, March 11, I will be speaking at the New Jersey Political Science Association’s 2011 Annual Meeting at the Eagleton Institute for Politics in New Brunswick. I’ ll be on a panel discussing the impact of redistricting on the New Jersey Legislature and the state’s Congressional delegation.

Later in the month, I will take part in a panel presentation at Communication and 21st Century Technologies, the New Jersey Communication Association’s 15th annual conference. The event will take place at Bergen Community College in Paramus. I’ll be speaking about politics and internet use as part of a panel titled Examining Technology and Community in Scholarship.

A Sign of the Times

It’s no secret that the manner in which news and information flows from political leaders to the citizenry has changed radically over the past few years – and Governor Christie’s post-budget day schedule provides a prime example of that change.

In years gone by, governors, presidents, even mayors would follow up their major speeches, such as budget addresses and States of the State, with a series of public events and photo ops to drive home the main points and new initiatives contained in the speech.

On the day after Tuesday’s budget address, however, Christie had only two events on his public schedule – -a 7:05 a.m. int on NBC’s The Today Show, followed by a 7:30 a.m. interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

It’s not hard to argue with the Governor’s logic. Given the cutbacks that have diminished personnel and resources for New Jersey’s news outlets, Christie probably reached far more New Jerseyans by appearing on two national television programs than he would have had he conducted three or four public events. He also didn’t hurt his national reputation since the shows gave him national exposure.

Christie is not the first New Jersey governor to take advantage of the national talk shows. His predecessor, Jon Corzine, was a frequent guest on several popular programs which also allowed him to reach large numbers of New Jerseayns who were among the viewing audiences.

Presentation to Focus on Governor’s Use of Internet

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continued to attract national attention this week by making headlines with a speech at American Enterprise Institute and gaining an unsolicited endorsement from Ann Coulter, but he also was the subject of some news north of the border.

The Popular Culture Association of Canada on Wednesday accepted my proposal for a presentation that will focus on Christie’s use of the Internet. I will be making the presentation, Can the Internet be as Effective for Governing as it has been for Campaigning?, in May at the association’s inaugural conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

I hope to answer questions about the role of the Internet in government and politics, such as: Is it a more valuable tool for challengers than incumbents? Put another way, is the Internet less suited for governing than campaigning?

I believe Governor Christie’s actions may provide the answers to some of these questions. Since taking office, he has made effective use of the Internet, particularly YouTube, to not only maintain his popularity, but also to emerge as a national figure.

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Demonizing Christie Will Not Lead to Democratic Victories

Since he took office a little more than a year ago, Governor Chris Christie has been demonized by his critics. Chrsitie’s actions have generated harsh charges that he’s a bully, that he’s stubborn, and that he’s insensitive.

The sharp criticism, however, has not produced the results Christie’s political opponents had hoped for. Instead, the Governor continues to enjoy high poll numbers and has emerged as a popular national figure, with a loyal and ardent group of supporters who rally around his words and actions.

With all 120 seats in the State Legislature on the ballot in November, there is a lesson to be learned here. Continue reading

A Pittsburgh Steeler Tale for Super Bowl Sunday

If a 1988 academic study holds true, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have more than Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews to contend with in this year’s Super Bowl.

The study, The Dark Side of Self- and Social Perception: Black Uniforms and Aggression in Professional Sports, found that teams such as the Steelers, which wear black uniforms, are more likely to be penalized than those with lighter jerseys. Continue reading

A Green Bay Packer Tale for Super Bowl Sunday

I once put together a press conference involving retired Green Bay Packer running back John Brockington.

Well, sort of. The truth is it’s a rather strange story.

The press conference  took place in 1997 when I was public information officer for Woodbridge Township. A few of the New York Giants were coming to town for a benefit basketball game against a group of Woodbridge police officers. Continue reading

Renaming OPRA is the Right Thing to Do

The Oprah Winfrey Show may not be the only “Oprah” disappearing this year.

A bill moving through the State Legislature would rename New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act, commonly known as OPRA, after the late Martin O’Shea, a longtime journalist and leading advocate for public access to government records.

In addition to providing O’Shea with a much-deserved posthumous honor, the bill and a companion measure would update and strengthen New Jersey’s laws regarding access to government records. Continue reading