Politics wouldn’t be as much fun if it wasn’t so silly.
On Monday, Phil Murphy, as he has often done, compared fighting the pandemic to World War II. He did perhaps get carried away when he channeled Eisenhower, or was it Marshal Zhukov, and spoke of taking Berlin. But you could see his point.
One man paying attention was Jack Ciattarelli, the presumed Republican candidate against Murphy this fall. He didn’t see the point.
So unhappy was Ciattarelli that he observed:
“It absolutely angers me to hear Murphy make this comparison. With all due respect, governor, knock it off. You are embarrassing yourself and our Greatest Generation.”
He goes on to say that Murphy is no Churchill or FDR and that, “If I have anything to do with it, (he) won’t be governor come January, 2022.”
All is fair game in politics, but Ciattarelli appears to be going a little overboard here. As stated, Murphy has been periodically making war comparisons for the last 14 months.
And he’s not going to stop.
At today’s briefing, the governor found it appropriate to compare the 25,000-plus New Jerseyans killed by COVID to the 12,000-plus from the state who perished in the Second World War.
“Forgive me to those who don’t like this,” Murphy said of the war comparison.
Ciattarelli’s response the other day may have had something to do with the fact he’s in a tough race. Maybe two of them.
Most Republicans of note are discounting it, but a recent poll in the right wing Daily Caller showed Ciattarelli in a tight primary race with Hirsh Singh, a strong backer of Donald Trump.
This poll is consistent with others, although Murphy’s numbers have dipped a bit from the 70 percent range he enjoyed a year ago. That’s when the pandemic began and many people realized Phil Murphy was the governor.
The good news in the poll for Republicans was that only 48 percent said Murphy definitely should be re-elected and that 43 percent want to give someone else a try.
That’s interesting, but would be more interesting if a Murphy-Ciattarelli match-up was polled. That, presumably, will come.
Still, a 57 percent approval rating for the governor is pretty good.
One of the many complaints Republicans have about how Murphy is handling the pandemic has to do with schools. Or more specifically, the fact they should be fully open.
But more schools in the state are opening up. In fact, Murphy said that only five school districts remain fully remote – Hillside, Irvington, Paterson, Passaic and Pleasantville.
He said there are plans for Hillside and Irvington to open soon.
As for the other three? The governor cited myriad reasons why they’re still closed, but he’s not happy about it.
“We can not leave 43,000 of our students … out of their classrooms for an entire year,” he said.
This is a legitimate issue, but also one that’s disappearing, which, politically speaking, is not good for Republicans.
And that brings us to World War II as an issue.