Thursday, May 17, 2018


A day after The Washington Post's James Hohmann told us that "the far left is winning the Democratic civil war," we have this headline on the front page of the print New York Times:

"Hard to the left"? Omigod! Is Phil Murphy nationalizing the means of production? Is he breaking the eyeglasses of intellectuals and forcing them to do stoop labor on collective farms?

No -- he's being a liberal.
A recently adopted equal pay law has put New Jersey at the forefront of national efforts to narrow the gender wage gap. The state’s new automatic voter registration law ranks among the most sweeping in the country, while its funding of Planned Parenthood, package of gun control laws, renewable energy legislation and a measure to provide state financial aid to immigrants who came to the United States as children are all part of the progressive playbook.
And the "liberal" New York Times is not amused:
In a state whose political profile has been marked by scandal and dominated most recently by a bellicose Republican governor, the first few months of Gov. Philip D. Murphy’s Democratic tenure have seen an abrupt ideological makeover as New Jersey lurches to the left, joining the ranks of the most liberal states in the nation.

His aggressive steering reflects the mandate Mr. Murphy believes he was given last year by his lopsided victory.

But his policies have also left Republicans and even moderate Democrats with a case of whiplash and raised serious questions about how Mr. Murphy will pay for his agenda in a state saddled with severe financial difficulties.
We know Murphy is a dangerous radical because his Republican opposition is made to seem so middle-of-the-road:
... Mr. Murphy’s approach has provoked fierce backlash from many Republicans.

“He’s not liberal; he’s extreme,” said Jon Bramnick, the Republican minority leader in the State Assembly. “I don’t even have a problem with people who are somewhat liberal, though I may disagree with them. But this is not a liberal agenda. This is an extreme left-wing agenda that is sending people out of the state who might have stayed.”

... Mr. Bramnick, who at times has been critical of Mr. Trump, believes that the shift to the left could help increase support for the Republican Party, and he has been trying to appeal to moderate voters and the state’s significant number of independents under the banner of “rallying the reasonable.”
Whereas all this New Jersey progressivism is ... a contagion!
The state’s shifting political winds extend beyond Mr. Murphy.... Four of the state’s five Republican-held congressional seats are considered competitive in this year’s midterm elections. The State Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a stricter separation of church and state. And the mayor of Hoboken, Ravinder S. Bhalla, the first Sikh to be elected mayor in New Jersey, issued an ordinance that public and private single-occupancy restrooms be gender-neutral.

Gurbir Grewal, who achieved a milestone as the first Sikh in the country to become a state attorney general, has joined numerous lawsuits against the Trump administration, including challenges to the travel ban and to a prohibition on transgender people in the military.
Not only is there leftism all over the state, but the Sikhs are taking over!

(The success of these Sikhs in New Jersey politics seems interesting, but I'm not sure why the faith of these officials is relevant to this story.)

Approximately eight years ago, when Chris Christie was in his first year as New Jersey's governor, the Times was noticeably more impressed:
New Jersey Governor Defies Political Expectations

A momentous deal to cap property taxes was all but done, but Gov. Chris Christie was taking no chances, barnstorming the state to commiserate with squeezed homeowners and keep pressure on the Legislature.

Outside a farmhouse here in central New Jersey last week, buttoned up in a dark suit despite the triple-digit heat, Mr. Christie promised to tackle rising pension costs, transportation financing, municipal spending — all while poking fun at his opponents, the news media and, mostly, himself....

It was a model taste of Mr. Christie, six months into his term as governor: blunt, energetic, clearly enjoying himself.

And having his way.

Mr. Christie has turned out to be a far more deft politician than his detractors — and even some supporters — had expected, making few compromises as he pursues a broad agenda for remaking New Jersey’s free-spending political culture. So far, polls suggest, the public is giving him the benefit of the doubt.
One poli sci professor is quoted as saying, “You can’t deny that he’s been a tour de force in Trenton." A Democratic operative says, “I think the tough times have dictated straight talk and forceful moves, and that fits him quite well.” A possible presidential bid is discussed.

The following year, the Times Magazine would run a cover story on Christie:

The subhead is "How a no-name New Jersey governor became a Republican superstar."

The story, by then-Timesman Matt Bai, was a bit more skeptical than the cover, but Bai found Christie's star power undeniable, and believed he was succeeding because he'd identified a real villain:
What makes Christie compelling to so many people isn’t simply plain talk or swagger, but also the fact that he has found the ideal adversary for this moment of economic vertigo. Ronald Reagan had his “welfare queens,” Rudy Giuliani had his criminals and “squeegee men,” and now Chris Christie has his sprawling and powerful public-sector unions — teachers, cops and firefighters who Christie says are driving up local taxes beyond what the citizenry can afford, while also demanding the kind of lifetime security that most private-sector workers have already lost.
Yup -- public-sector workers, a.k.a. history's greatest monsters.

That's The New York Times for you. Fast-forward to the present day and the Times is fretting about Phil Murphy's alleged fiscal imprudence:
New Jersey owes its state-run pension system $119 billion, according to Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, one of the largest debt obligations in the country, which has contributed to 11 credit downgrades in the past decade. The state also has the nation’s highest property taxes, with many residents facing higher bills under the recent federal tax overhaul, while it has consistently underfunded local school districts.

At the same time, Mr. Murphy’s $37.4 billion budget comes with $2.7 billion in new spending, including proposals to make community colleges tuition-free for many families, to expand prekindergarten and to significantly increase funding for the state’s beleaguered public transit system. But to pay for all this, Mr. Murphy is counting on initiatives that so far have been coolly received by some leaders in the Democratic-controlled Legislature — notably $1.7 billion in new taxes, including a levy on the wealthy, and the legalization of recreational marijuana, which would also add to the state’s coffers.
New Jersey has more millionaires per capita than any state in the union apart from Maryland, but, sorry, there's more will than wallet, according to the "liberal" New York Times.

And that's what we're going to hear from the Times in 2020: Yes, Trump is awful, but all those government programs being proposed by Gillibrand (or Sanders or Harris or Booker or Warren) -- we simply can't afford them! Why won't the Democratic presidential aspirants acknowledge our very real budgetary woes?

The "liberal" media will find the 2020 Democrats too liberal. Mark my words.

No comments: