Welcome to New Jersey, the Land of Goldman Sachs

Phil Murphy works the hell out of Essex County.

Phil Murphy works the hell out of Essex County. Max Pizarro for Observer

New Jersey is such an efficient state, we like to choose our next governor a full year ahead of the election. We also like to save the voters the bother of going to the polls by allowing our Democratic Party bosses, in their wisdom, to pick our leaders for us.

Come to think of it, why have an election when you can buy one?

It makes you wonder about those crazy kids running around the country voting for Bernie Sanders earlier this year. Do you remember those preposterously stupid and naïve people who wanted to put the brakes on mega banks and tax Wall Street?

It’s no wonder they didn’t gain any traction here, where we know better.

We’re smarter than that, better than that. More sophisticated.

Those Bernie people aren’t real Democrats.

How could they be, according to the standards of the New Jersey Democratic Party, where Wall Street executives from multinational banking firm Goldman Sachs buy the governorship?

You don’t believe me, take it from a populist like Dick Codey, the former acting governor of New Jersey, who earlier today issued a statement of support for Phil Murphy, the retired Goldman Sachs executive who this week locked up the backing of Passaic, Bergen, Hudson and Essex counties and effectively sealed the 2017 Democratic nomination for governor.

“Everyone who knows Phil knows he is the real deal,” Codey said.

The real deal.

One is tempted to say, “No, Dick. You were the real deal. Instead you got turned out of the governorship by a guy, another Goldman Sachs guy named Jon Corzine, who bought the office. Now, you’re back, pitching – of all people – a Goldman alum for governor, instead of running yourself.”

But to make such a statement would presuppose the notion that people in government should have a leg up in knowing something about the maintenance of government. Democrats here know better. Although they hold majorities in both legislative houses, they clearly have no faith in promoting people they have previously helped put in office. You’d think maybe if you were a mayor and you did a good job you might be able to take a crack at governor. Not here. Not in New Jersey. We assume if you’re a mayor you must not be doing a good job or at the very least won’t be able to adequately grease the skids of the county party organizations.

So we recruit people from Goldman Sachs for governor because it’s really just easier.

Let’s look at the Phil Murphy story.

Growing up in New Jersey, he…

Er, no actually, Murphy isn’t from here.

But he vacations down the shore, so…

Um, no he actually prefers Lisbon, Berlin, Italy.

Yes, but he worked here. He took his briefcase everyday and hiked across Sandy Hook bay to Manhattan where he…

Uh, no, he actually worked in Frankfort, Germany, and China.

Well, ok, but he surfaced later in New Jersey after a 23-year career at Goldman Sachs, where he lived until he moved back to Germany for an ambassadorship and then came back to lay the groundwork for governor.

It sounds like a lot of time out of the state, but it’s fine, the Democratic machines have decided that he’s the best person for the job, the same way they decided that Corzine was right for the job, though people warned them about giving the GOP an opening for a populist candidate who could make the easy – but let’s face it baseless – case that the party had abandoned its working class principles.

Republicans in 2009 ran someone named Chris Christie, originally from Newark, who seized on incumbent Corzine’s elitism to strike a commanding pose for New Jersey’s blue collar boardwalk drift.  But they really weren’t going to get very far with that, were they? I mean, how could you possibly think that New Jersey, a blue state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000, could fail to elect a Democrat?

And anyway, if Christie by a fluke did get in, he’d have to contend with so many Democrats and be kept honest by the two-party system, built from checks and balances – any hubris he might have contained by the state’s vibrant political culture – that he couldn’t possibly do any damage.

Moreover, Murphy’s not Corzine. He hasn’t had a chance to prove he could oppose something as blatantly wrong as the Iraq War, for example,  by assembling at the bare minimum handfuls of votes as a U.S. Senator.

Anyway, he’s more animated. He’s Corzine with a personality, they say.

Who’s they, you ask.

The bosses that chose him this week for governor, and they know. They ought to know.

They do know.

They’ve got a long track record of getting this right, and if you trust in their judgement, and know that you really don’t have the time to truly get to know anyone in this overworked and overtaxed state, and know in your heart that those Bernie Sanders people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and, as Donald Trump says, experience in elected office is the wrong kind of experience, and being accountable to constituents ain’t private sector street cred, you’d certainly agree that what we need right now is someone from Goldman Sachs, a multi-millionaire self-funder with a personality.

 

Welcome to New Jersey, the Land of Goldman Sachs