I have long had the sneaking suspicion that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine does not think much of me and my fellow New Jersey residents. Oh sure, when he needs cash for his latest wacky scheme, we are his first thought. We are a bloated, whipped collective sugar daddy waiting to be shaken down. Beyond that fleeting attention, however, our needs, concerns and interests are essentially irrelevant to the multi-millionaire governor. His personal wealth elevates him above the struggles of the middle class, we simple commoners.
Veteran New Jersey reporter Jim Gearhart’s recent interview with Corzine dispelled any doubts about the Governor’s complete lack of interest in those he represents. The Governor, with no sense of shame or embarrassment, boldly told Gearhart that "pigs will fly over the State House before there’s a realistic level of new taxes or spending cuts". The hubris is immeasurable I doubt Corzine would have dared to utter similar words to clients when he was in the private sector.
The Governor has proposed a road toll program that is so enormous and unwieldy that by the time New Jersey residents carry the full weight of his scheme.75 years will have gone by. His attempts to turn toll roads and toll rates over to a “public benefit corporation” or PBC, would hand the roads and the billions of dollars of toll money to an organization that will not answer to elected officials, and thus not answer to the citizens of this state. Instead, entrenched political cronies will benefit.
While the Governor and state officials try to spin this scheme in a positive light, and the citizens of the state scratch their heads and pray for pigs to fly over the State House, the Governor has been involved in a something that is even more unsettling. It literally deprives New Jerseyites of the effect of their presidential votes.
Having made citizens too preoccupied by the fiscal impact of his sweeping and complicated proposals, the Governor quickly and quietly signed legislation that approves delivering the state’s 15 Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
New Jersey is the second state, following Maryland’s troublesome lead, to enter a compact that would annihilate the intent of the Electoral College’s power to choose a president and circumvent the intentions of men much wiser than Jon Corzine.
Critics cling to the results of the 2000 election as proof of inherent problems with the system and the election of a President who did not win the popular vote. Democrats in particular seem to be confused about the concepts that formed our Nation, not as a democracy, but as a Republic. The Founding Fathers did not endorse the unchecked will of the people by pure plebiscite as an admirable or desirable method of government.
The Electoral College is yet another check and balance in a system of government that provides those protections in a myriad ways. There are branches of government, with various roles and abilities to check the others, to prevent tyranny and limit the simple will of the majority, a will that does not always denote positive outcomes. The people of Germany in the time leading up to WWII know a thing or two about that.
Corzine is confident that in a state dominated by his own Democrats, few would challenge him on his efforts to thwart the will of the people and the intent of the Founding Fathers. “Certainly”, he must think to himself while sitting in his plush office planning the many ways to fleece taxpayers, “I know what is better for the citizens of New Jersey…indeed the country… than the men who wrote a document hundreds of years ago…times have changed.”
Changed indeed. The spunk and energy it took to have the Boston Tea Party in protest of fiscal irresponsibility seems hard to relate to in an area of “Where’s Brittney”. A Republican party that seems on the verge of placing a RINO in the form of John McCain on the ticket seems to lack the stomach for meaningful movement advancement.
The Electoral College legislation passed and was signed with nary a whimper and almost no press locally or nationally despite the national implications.
Throwing out the Electoral College would most certainly mean that candidates would find it unnecessary to campaign in, or even consider, the needs of states that did not pack a population punch. Bye-bye Montana. You just don’t matter.
The pandering to populous urban centers would put rural America in the back of the bus permanently. I am certain that Democrats would gleefully embrace the opportunity to declare rural and less populous states and the rest of “flyover” country officially irrelevant. I am equally confident that elevating liberal Meccas like California and New York to superpower status would provide maximum joy to those who have already declared the little people in the rest of the country unnecessary.
The Founders had the option to create a pure democracy. They chose not to do that with intent and purpose. Their reasons for doing so are no less relevant today.
Similar legislation has passed both houses of the Illinois Legislature and has been approved by one legislative house in each of the states of Colorado, North Carolina and Arkansas. The bill has been vetoed by the governors of California and Hawaii, but legislators there will certainly try again.
This legislation is, as New Jersey Assemblyman Richard Merkt so succinctly put it, “a constitutional travesty. It’s a backdoor end-run of the federal Constitution.”
A backdoor end-run that has been signed with hardly a whimper of descent in the State of New Jersey.