Over twenty years ago, New Jersey Governor Tom Kean got into the driver's seat of a state that was equated with race riots, systemic corruption, and dreadful odors. Across the entire country back then, New Jersey was known only as the subject of an endless stream of jokes. All a wannabee comedian on the Johnny Carson show had to do to get a laugh was to mention the New Jersey Turnpike. Governor Kean, through insight, common sense, and hard work, changed all of that, transforming New Jersey into a national model of progress and integrity.
In a wink, the (mis)administration of the current occupant of the New Jersey governor's office, Jim (AKA JAMES E) McGreevey, took the state's reputation to a new level -- the sewer.
The McGreevey recipe started off with a campaign rife with lies, stunts, and tricks that are the envy of every carnival con man. Into that slimy batter went an inauguration marked by the sorry spectacle of a hardly past newborn infant used as a prop in sub-freezing temperatures. (Is it any wonder that DYFS has collapsed?) Next, if there were any left to doubt that New Jersey is now subject to the bizarre whims of a Nero, their illusions quickly turned to disillusion when a luxury trip to Ireland plopped into the mix.
But, the secret ingredient is
the feathery storm of political kleptomaniacs, phonies and fools that flock with Jim McGreevey. Even during the campaign, two of the bird brains peddled bill boards. McGreevey tried to use the tragedy of 9/11 as an excuse to make a friend – an unqualified foreign national – head of homeland security in NJ. Then, there was yet another miserable failure with McGreevey’s attempt to recycle Joe Santiago as top cop in the State Police. McGreevey annointed Amiri Baraka to be Poet Laureate, as if that honor was awarded for the production of hate literature.
The biggest question mark is
Roger Chugh. Excellent reporting by the Bergen Record has already turned over the rock under which all manner of unsavory business and fund raising practices crawled and squirmed. But, is that the end of it? Might
Roger Chugh provide the high notes to signal the curtain drop for this half-price version of the dime novel rendition of a Wagner opera?