Perhaps the most defining act of responsible Republican governance this past year was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision last month to kill “a proposed train tunnel under the Hudson River between North Jersey and Manhattan because his state’s share of the construction costs was too high.”
This tunnel may well be a great idea and may well facilitate commutes between the Big Apple and the Garden State, but that latter jurisdiction is strapped for funds and, like any responsible enterprise, first has to meet the cost of essential services before proceeding to other improvements. In the near future, political leaders are going to have to make many such choices where they will have to kill potentially beneficial projects because their jurisdictions lack the resources to pay for them.
Making such choices is a primary ingredient of a successful leader. And not just in politics. Anyone who has ever served on the board of a company or club knows what it’s like when you’re discussing ways to improve your organization. People will come up with suggestions which the secretary often dutifully records. And sometimes as you weigh the merits of various projects, with this or that member suggesting means to improve on the ideas, you’ll find your enthusiasm wane when the treasurer chimes in, reminding her fellow board members of the limited resources in your group’s kitty.
So, kudos to Governor Christie for adding a dose of common sense to our budgetary debates. No wonder he’s been so dismissive of his state’s senior Senator’s criticism of the project, telling a reporter that all that Democrat “knows how to do is blow hot air“. And that’s basically how governors are going to have to act when politicians, their appetite like that of the Cyclops in the Odyssey never sated, keep begging for more.