The Garden State is the new bastion of progressive politics, says the Times:
“They’re a new leader,” said Joel Rogers, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and the director of the Center for State Innovation, which describes itself as a progressive public-policy research institute.
“It’s not just California anymore, it’s New Jersey,” Mr. Rogers said. A New Jersey native, he added, with a touch of hyperbole, “The much-maligned New Jersey, that malarial swamp south of New York, is rising from the ashes as a leader of progressive government.”
Why the sudden embrace of liberalism? Simple: Democrats took control of all three branches of government and decided to grow some stones and do something with it:
The underlying reason, political scientists and public policy experts said, is that Democrats in Trenton, the capital, have occupied the Holy Trinity of state government since 2004: both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office. Their advantage is now considerable — 48-32 in the General Assembly and 23-17 in the State Senate.
And then there is Gov. Jon S. Corzine. The son of an Illinois farmer, he made a name for himself in the United States Senate as one of its most liberal members. He once lambasted the centrist Democratic Leadership Council for practicing “timid progressivism.”
Hmm… is there another state in the union where the Democrats control both houses of the legislature AND the governor’s mansion? Why yes, yes there is. But instead of burnshing it’s liberal legacy, Washington State seems content to put together “rainy day” funds and all sorts of other small-bore GOP capitulations.
Can we please send Frank Chopp and Chris Gregoire on a “fact-finding mission” to Trenton, in the hopes that whatever it makes, Olympia just might take?