Before Bridgegate, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was still riding high in his home state and being celebrated as a political savant by the mainstream press, one of Christie's chief strong points was his record handling of the Garden State's recovery from Superstorm Sandy. But now that Christie is sinking and fighting for his political life, what was previously a strength is increasingly becoming yet another weakness.
Here's the latest Christie news:
- A report from NPR details the ways in which New Jersey's ongoing struggles to recover from Sandy are beginning to weigh on Christie's popularity in the state, as more disgruntled residents, many of whom still have profoundly damaged homes, become frustrated with what they feel is Trenton's lackluster pace. Christie says he spends about 40 percent of his time on Sandy-related issues, and blames whatever lack of urgency his administration seems to be projecting on the federal government's red tape.
- Christie debuted his new budget on Tuesday, the most expensive in the history of the state. While the governor continued to warn about the state's long-term pension obligations, his address this time was short on specifics and refrained from engaging in the triumphalism that's characterized previous budget speeches. Notably, Christie didn't argue at length in favor of a tax cut, a policy that was previously considered a key goal of his second term.
- Meanwhile, in the world of Christie punditry, Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post's conservative blogger (and unofficial leader of the Chris Christie fan club), insists that a recent poll showing Christie's approval rating in New Jersey continuing to sink isn't such a big deal. Christie, Rubin says, can bounce back just so long as he focuses on "smart governance, conservative reform and focusing on the needs of the poor and middle classes." Rubin also recommended Christie come out forcefully in favor of apple pie and freedom (not really).