Hope and change, fear and loathing in the Garden State

I want to correct -- or at least update -- something I wrote here last night, suggesting that the once badly trailing Democratic New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine might be closing the gap with GOP challenger Chris Christie. Two new polls came out today and they show that Corzine is still in the ol' refinery tank, trailing by 10 points in one poll, which is a political near-death experience for a well-known incumbent. And let's be honest, it's hard not to make the case that some new blood is badly needed in the Garden State.

I actually liked Corzine when he first got into politics (He's a rich guy who's ultra-liberal on things like the death penalty! He has a beard!) but he lost me around the time he moved from the Senate to the governor's mansion, essentially using his money to buy the job, and that was just the tip of his ethical iceberg. Probably no voters in the nation have been more put off by the national GOP's move to the far right than New Jerseyites, but the seeming invulnerability of the Dems led to a climate that tolerated the corruption of Jim McGreevey that's now been compounded by Corzine. That's probably why the Republicans backed a former prosecutor like Christie -- except that his ethics aren't much better.

You know, New Jersey has traditionally had a higher percentage of independent voters than any state in the nation, so why don't they go out one of these years and actually elect a real independent governor? If any state capitol could use a Jesse Ventura-like body slam, it is Trenton.