A ‘National’ State of NJ: Murphy Projects Big in State of State

Desperately trying to craft a compelling platform to get out of here, Gov. Phil Murphy projected old-friends-together-again warmth and ease in a chamber peppered with face masks and lingering suggestions of crisis and general angst.

“I sure miss not seeing Jim Florio with us,” said Murphy, giving this set of remarks to an actual live joint session here at the Capitol for the first time since the pandemic.

Applause greeted his invocation of the late former Governor.

Amid incessant buzz that Murphy wants to run for president in 2024 if Joe Biden does not, the sitting New Jersey governor proceeded to trot out robust adjectives and stout slogans aimed at putting hands together in the room.

Stronger.

Safer.

“Shaping this next New Jersey in the service of the middle class.”

Family.

Fairness.

Faith in the future.

“We are rebuilding the American Dream right here,” said Murphy.

“Leading the nation.”

The nation?

If any doubts abided regarding his focus as he headed into the speech, Murphy hit his first overt national reference less than ten minutes into the state of the state address.

He made his usual effusive attempts to connect with familiar faces:

“The rocking Sheila Oliver”, only stumbling somewhat as he sought to articulate her actual job title: commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.

First Lady Tammy Murphy.

Applause.

Those statewide personages acknowledged, Murphy knew it was again time to take the crowd out of itself and its local and ghettoes and grottos.

He went big.

“Regardless of whether our names are followed by a D or R, this is work to which we are all committed,” said the governor.

“We are partisans third. New Jerseyans second.

“And Americans first and foremost,” he noted.

The crowd went berserk.

The name of the speech, “Building the Next New Jersey”, arrived in print devoid of irony, as though New Jersey indeed offered the largest conceivable canvas at hand.

“As we take on crime, we also work for justice,” Murphy said, gonging another national note with child-on-an-xylophone aplomb.

Even as recently as a week ago, someone in Essex County grabbed InsiderNJ’s ear and wailed in agony about how Murphy could have singlehandedly eased Essex’s 2023 Democratic Primary puzzle by simply making Assemblyman John McKeon the attorney general.

“As it is now, we’ve got a mess on our hands here,” the insider – mired in county politics – told InsiderNJ.

But Murphy, buoyant and ebullient, saw fit to hurl another bone into the crowd: to his hand-picked top cop and company.  “Our brave women and men in blue,” the governor noted. “I cannot say enough about the leadership of Attorney General Matt Platkin and Colonel Pat Callahan of the New Jersey State Police.”

Trying to occupy a platform that proved too big for his predecessor, Murphy criticized the economic priorities of former Governor Chris Christie, a failed 2016 Republican candidate for president.

“Find a corporation and give them a big tax break,” the governor said of Christie’s approach. “Behind it there was no strategy. No one ever stopped to ask what the New Jersey ten or 20 years down the line would look like. The only question that was ever asked was whether a deal could get done fast enough so it could be used in the next campaign commercials.”

Of course, there is some time between now and 2024 to cut this Murphy as a national figure commercial.

He segued to movies and New Jersey’s fledgling film industry.

“New Jersey is ready for our close-up,” said Murphy.

If memory serves, that didn’t work out too well for Gloria Swanson (below), let alone Christie, Bill Bradley, Cory Booker and Steve Forbes.

But Murphy hopes it will be different.

Gloria Swanson: “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” So, says Governor Murphy, is New Jersey.

 

 

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3 responses to “A ‘National’ State of NJ: Murphy Projects Big in State of State”

  1. Murphy better make sure he uses the $10 BILLION DOLLARS he borrowed during the pandemic to support the budget on ONLY property tax relief for all homeowners only, going forward. And, remember, Murphy said he wasn’t paying it back. So, who pays it off???? If he doesn’t use the borrowed $10 BILLION DOLLARS for only property tax relief, then he’s committed felony theft by deception, felony fraud, and felony official misconduct.

  2. Tammy has started a PAC for Phil – will he wait until Biden decides not to run of will Phil have a Eugene McCarthy moment based on needing younger leadership and challenge Biden now?

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