New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, with bi-partisan support, has delivered once more for the average citizen in New Jersey. Yesterday Christie signed a law that finally begins to put some accountability into the public schools in New Jersey by requiring annual reviews for public school teachers and makes it easier to remove incompetent teachers. Naturally the unions fought this reform, preferring incompetence and unaccountability to a successful future for New Jersey children. Together with Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindahl of Louisiana, Christie has shown what can be done when you try -- even in states that are normally heavily Democratic.
Contrast the leadership of Christie, Walker and Jindahl with that of McDonnell and others who take no political risks to help the average citizen. McDonnell's conservatism seems to stop at the church door. He actively opposed having employees contribute to their own retirement during his first year in office, a position exactly opposite that of Christie in New Jersey. McDonnell has never shown any inclination to take on the VEA, Virginia's public school teacher's lobby. Quite the contrary. McDonnell seems to have placated the VEA at every turn. McDonnell's main legacy is likely to be his aborted attempt to remove the first female president of the University of Virginia in its history, while pretending to stay aloof from the process.
Republicans and Democrats alike are beginning to wake up to the fact that empty rhetoric and no action do not produce reform -- reform that almost every state in the United States desperately needs. The fiscal problems and public employee largesse, issues that are intertwined, need to be addressed. Courageous leaders address them.