Wish-I’d-said-that Dep’t

The Star-Ledger “sentences” the Governor by writing the perfect sentence about his administration: “Corzine is the chaplain on a pirate ship, not really its captain.”

Thoreau wrote:

Among human beings, the judge whose words seal the fate of a man furthest into eternity is not he who merely pronounces the verdict of the law, but he, whoever he may be, who, from a love of truth, and unprejudiced by any custom or enactment of men, utters a true opinion or sentence concerning him. He it is that sentences him.

The New Jersey Newark Star-Ledger, endorsing the independent candidate for Governor of New Jersey, sentenced the incumbent:

Corzine is the chaplain on a pirate ship, not really its captain.


Whether intentionally or not, the Star-Ledger probably just helped Corzine get re-elected; his hope all along is that Daggett would split the anti-Corzine vote.  And the editorial makes it clear that, as disappointed as the paper is in Corzine, it’s not impressed with Christie.

Still, one can only hope that Corzine is sufficiently stung by the sentence handed down on him by the editorial to be somewhat less tolerant of New Jersey’s tradition of corruption in his second term than he has been so far in his first.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

2 thoughts on “Wish-I’d-said-that Dep’t”

  1. I'm not sure that Californians are well-placed to talk about New Jersey corruption. There is plenty of it, but unlike California, we actually have functioning government. I'd view NJ corruption as government on the commission system. Towns like Newark (where I live) are lubricated with corruption, but the gears run fairly well. It's a matter of degree. Other NJ towns, such as Camden, are irredeemably corrupt, and nothing works at all.

    Sure, keeping all things equal, we'd be better off without local corruption (although given the funding sources of the squeaky-clean Cory Booker, I worry about replacing corruption with a plutocratic political culture.) Corruption costs money, although far less money than–say–our famously back-loaded state pension system. But Corzine's big problem as governor was not tolerating corruption. Corzine just can't get the local politicos to follow where he leads.

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