Going Deep On New Jersey

TPM Reader KR sends in this note about Chris Christie’s town hall meeting yesterday:

I grew up in Middletown, and return a few times a year to see family and friends. It’s true that it’s a reasonably (though not overwhelmingly) Christie-friendly town. Middletown has a lot of people who work in finance; it lost more residents than any other town in the state on 9/11, and built a memorial garden next to the train station. It also continues to have a large (if shrinking) working class population. The two communities send their kids to different high schools and are actually, literally separated by the train tracks that run through town.

All of which hints at what I suspect was the real reason Middletown was chosen: it’s about an hour and ten minutes down the North Jersey Coast Line from Penn Station. Which is to say, close enough to the city to be an expensive, conservative-leaning town, but far enough that if you work in New York, you almost certainly don’t drive there. You drive a few minutes to the sprawling, always overfull parking lot surrounding Middletown Station and take New Jersey Transit. (And if, for some reason, you do drive, you take the tunnel, not the GWB.)

As MM points out, Middletown is a shore town (technically it’s on the Sandy Hook Bay, but it thinks of itself as the beginning of the Jersey Shore). If you already disliked Christie, “bridgegate” was unneeded confirmation of his hubris and thuggery. If not, you probably don’t think a traffic jam is that big a deal. But in either case, you probably know people still trying to get back into their homes. It’s nowhere near the top of anyone’s list of grievances with the Governor’s office.