What a holiday weekend. Between the budget battle and Gov. Chris Christie's outrageous statements and actions, it's amazing that his approval is as high as 15 percent.

The quick recap is that the governor held the people of New Jersey hostage by bullying legislators to vote down the negotiated budget last week unless the Assembly Speaker pushed through a bill that would allow the state to raid the reserves of Horizon Blue Cross. The governor wanted $300 million from Horizon's statutorily-required reserves paid for by the policy holders for his opioid addiction battle. Thankfully, Speaker Vincent Prieto held firm, and although jeopardizing his future as the Assembly speaker, he won this round with Christie. Christie gets nothing from Horizon. That's good news for the 3.8 million Horizon policy holders for sure. If the Christie raid were to be successful there was little doubt that premium costs would rise hurting middle and working class families as well as small businesses.

I tweeted out a picture of the budget votes from Friday where the budget failed resulting in a government shutdown.

The governor and his cohort Steve Sweeney in the State Senate tried and failed to blame Speaker Prieto. They failed because voters aren't stupid. They're busy. The truth here is that the governor used his power as the chief executive to threaten lawmakers with line item veto cuts in their districts if they didn't support his Horizon raid. The Republicans capitulated immediately and joined together to vote no. Then the cowards who have failed to stand up to the corrupt, ego-maniac governor justified their no vote because they didn't like all the spending priorities in the budget. Wait, what? Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick joined me on the air today to attempt to justify the no votes on the budget. His logic was that there aren't enough GOP members to have an impact; the Senate would've changed the bill anyway; and the Democrats are the bigger problem pushing new spending.

So he's right about the Democrats pushing increased spending. What he missed is that one of the top reasons why there are a shrinking number of Republicans in Trenton is due to the fact that they are quick to defend and apologize for the corrupt actions of the Republican Governor. Remember it was the Republicans who sided with Sweeney and his allies to pass the gas tax. It was the Republican State Committee who financed the push for ballot question 2 instead of helping local candidates to allow for billions more in borrowing. It was the Republicans who refused to take a stand, outside of a handful of state senators, to oppose the Statehouse renovation project.

Republicans have cowered in front of the corrupt governor while he used the office and your money to promote himself for the past several years. Among his worst offenses is his latest fake war on addiction, which is nothing more than a Christie promotional campaign. At least with Democrats you know what you're gonna get. Murphy and the Democratic leadership will increase taxes in a desperate attempt to pay the pensions and meet the demand for giveaways from legislators. We all know that the math doesn't work of course. Billions every year in debt service, billions more in debt and unfunded future liabilities will be enough to crush the last of us who are still #DigginIn.

The GOP minority in the legislature had an opportunity to stand up against the waste, fraud and abuse of power coming from the likes of Sweeney and Christie. Most recently, the could've sided with Speaker Prieto and passed the budget on Friday avoiding a shutdown. Then they could have leaned on the Governor to use his power of the line item vote to stop the bloated additional spending. Instead the craven apologists of the failed Christie administration hid behind their desks and doled out partisan talking points. I think it's time to send them all home.

What good is an opposition party if they stand for nothing? The Republican Party is slipping into irrelevance. The idea of having a GOP Governor and a Democratic legislature should've been a positive thing for the taxpayers, especially given the poser of NJ's chief executive. But Christie squandered the opportunity, mainly to try to line his own pockets, those of his friends (read Jeff Chiesa) and work very hard for a promotion...on your time and dime.

There needs to be a return of common sense in Trenton. We've started the conversation by bringing opposite sides of the ideological fence together on the show. Democrats like Speaker Prieto, Assemblyman John Wisneiwski and Senator Ray Lesniak have all joined the chorus to oppose all or part of the Governor's irresponsible agenda. Republicans like Senators Jen Beck, Kip Bateman and Mike Doherty have stood strong in opposition to the Governors corrupt spending.

It's time to judge legislators for their ideas and what they stand for publicly. Stop voting straight party line. Both party organizations have betrayed the trust of the hardworking middle and working class. Let me be clear though. New Jersey is a two party state. Do not think you can leave the major parties and have an impact. Independents don't win here. Declare for a party and vote in the primaries. At this point the real opportunity for change s in the Republican Party. They are a shell of their former self and serve only as a shill for the current Governor. They will lose seats in November. As well they should. I'd like to see Democrats elected in safe GOP districts so they were worried about losing their seat if they don;t act to make NJ more affordable. Truthfully, do we have any choice as taxpayers and voters? Until the Republican Party consistently opposes new spending and higher taxes, they will continue to be an irrelevant and feckless organization.

The battle lines are simple yet distinct. Either a candidate opposes additional spending or they don't. Either a candidate opposes additional taxes or they don't. Either they understand that the most important issue in New Jersey is affordability or they don't. Self serving politicians like Chris Christie and Steve Sweeney should not be the norm. Talking point politicians like Cory Booker and Phil Murphy are wasting time and resources that don't get us any closer to a solution. Elite insiders like Phil Murphy use their money to buy the party organization have become a huge part of the problem. Anyone remember Jon Corzine?

On a national level, Donald Trump used his money to be independent from the party organization. As a result, he's essentially remaking the GOP into a vehicle focused on solving problems instead of churning out talking points. Murphy has effectively empowered the same corrupt party leaders that helped get us to the brink of disaster. Given the high likelihood of a solid Democratic majority in the Legislature after the November elections, if Murphy wins we're in for a rough four years.

here are Democrats and Republicans who want to do the right thing. Look at the person. Call their office. Ask them where they stand. Don't let them feel safe in a district drawn to protect their incumbency. Listen to the politicians answers, think about how it fits into fixing NJ and then act. We can take New Jersey back. But ya really gotta vote...even in the primaries.

On Thursday, Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon called the show to weigh-in on the discussion as well. Here's how our discussion went:

I'll have more for you as we approach the November election.

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