Buono Gives Some Straight Talk About NJ Public Education

My column at WHYY Newsworks today looks at the educational content of Tuesday night's Christie/Buono gubernatorial debate, particularly Buono's  honest acknowledgement of the barriers to her agenda:
"Contentious." "Ugly." "Swinging for the fences." "Combative." "Intense." These were the descriptors used by local journalists the Wednesday morning after the second and final debate between Gov. Chris Christie and Senator Barbara Buono.

Here's an example of the banter that led the news coverage: "Gov. Christie represents the worst combination of bully and bossism, and that's what has motivated some of these elected Democrats to support him," charged Buono. "You want to start throwing stones tonight you better get out of your glass house," snarled the Governor. "She is in the pockets of local unions...it's that simple." Just another genteel exchange among statehouse colleagues.

Rude or not, the general consensus among N.J. politicos is that Buono performed better than last time but not well enough to make a dent in Christie's massive lead (24 points according to a recent Monmouth University poll). Stick a fork in it. It's done. Part of her problem was obvious in this most recent debate. She may be "feisty," a favorite descriptor and to my mind mildly sexist, but Christie outweighs her in homespun eloquence, humor (more important than you'd think), and an uncanny ability to personify the authentic Jersey archetype of beachy bluster and bombast.
Read the rest here.

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