Chris Christie – Should A Bully Be Given The Bully Pulpit?
In a poll of New Jersey voters released on April 20, 2011, the people were asked for a word to describe their Governor, Chris Christie. Overwhelmingly the voters chose the word “Bully” to best describe him (140 people). Coming in a distant second was “Arrogant” (41 people), which was tied with “Good”. So 181 people referred to him as either a bully or arrogant. My first introduction to the Bully Governor was on Morning Joe on MSNBC, they love them some Gov. Christie on that show. My impression of him was that he was trying way too hard to be a blunt, straight talker, turning trite phrases and clever word plays and topping them off with a little smirk, because he is so proud of himself. I also noticed that it was ALL words, no substance to what he was saying, just platitudes and clever rhetoric. It wore thin on me within a few seconds, but I could see how those with little brain matter would fall for it.
Let’s travel back in time a bit and look at this man’s history of bullying, lying and going on the offensive whenever challenged on his “straight talk”. There is definitely a pattern with this man and god I hope he gets in the presidential race, because I would like nothing more than to see President Obama chew him up and spit him out with disgust. We might just as well start with a blatant example of his bullying, from The Ed Show…
The gentleman who was shouted down was Ed Buck, a retired multi-millionaire who simply wanted to ask Meg Whitman a question when the misogynistic Gov. Christie had to step in for the poor helpless woman (snark), even saying “You wanna yell, yell at me.” Because we wouldn’t want a mere woman running for governor of the largest state in the union to be subjected to someone “yelling”, which was really someone asking a tough question of a candidate who had been dodging them. The yelling part may have been due to him not having a microphone. Here is an exchange between Ed Schultz and Ed Buck, from Politicususa, that gets to the heart of Christie’s tactics…(emphasis mine)
ED SCHULTZ: Mr. Buck, what was your reaction when Mr. Christie, the governor of New Jersey, told you that you were the problem in this country? People that stand up and paraphrasing now, that’s pretty much what he said to you, isn’t it?
BUCK: Well, yeah you know, it’s very hypocritical of a man who wants to espouse this whole free speech, and that to say that we need to have a dialogue, but not have it with me. As soon as he doesn’t agree with my speech here, cuts me off. As long as I’m saying apple pie and waving the American flag, he’s okay with that. but if I begin to ask a critical question, Chris Christie becomes a school yard bully.
It isn’t just other men that he likes to bully either, in the above clip, he uses his “bully pulpit” to berate a teacher who merely made a statement about how she doesn’t know how she’s going to pay her bills after his draconian cuts to the school system. In many ways, Christie started the national assault on teachers that other “bully governors” like Scott Walker in WI, John Kasich in OH and Rick Snyder here in MI have taken and run with. It’s become chic for Republican governors to knock down and step on the people we entrust to teach our children. What a great fucking plan.
As a bully, Chris Christie likes to use the tools of the trade. ThinkProgress has this story about the New Jersey governor and couple of more incidents, including telling the media to take a bat to a 76 year old legislator, what a classy guy…
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who has virtually declared war on the state’s labor unions, is known for having an antagonizing style of politics, with some of his most infamous moments including telling a teacher to quit when she talked about how his politicking was hurting the reputation of educators in the state.
Christie’s latest foray into bullying rhetoric came yesterday, where he asked a group of reporters to “take the bat out” on a 76-year old female legislator Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D) because she has the temerity to collect a pension in addition to her part-time salary as a legislator:
Governor Christie told reporters Wednesday to “take the bat” to 76-year-old Sen. Loretta Weinberg for collecting a taxpayer-funded pension while making $49,000 a year as a legislator. [...]
“I mean, can you guys please take the bat out on her for once?” Christie said to a crowd of reporters at a State House news conference. “Here’s a woman who knows she did it, yet she comes to you and is pining … ‘Oh! My goodness! How awful this is! What a double standard!’ But she’s the queen of double standard.”
But it isn’t just bullying that this supposed “straight talker” employs, he likes to lie and exaggerate to sell his ideas. From the New York Times…(emphasis mine)
Mr. Christie, a Republican who took office in January 2010, would hardly be the first politician to indulge in hyperbole or gloss over facts. But his misstatements, exaggerations and carefully constructed claims belie the national image he has built as a blunt talker who gives straight answers to hard questions, especially about budgets and labor relations. Candor is central to Mr. Christie’s appeal, and a review of his public statements over the past year shows some of them do not hold up to scrutiny.
When New Jersey narrowly lost $400 million in the federal Education Department’s Race to the Top competition last summer because of missing data in its application, Mr. Christie held a news conference blaming “bureaucrats in Washington” and said state officials had tried to supply the missing numbers at a hearing. It did not take long for the Obama administration to release a recording showing that, in reality, federal officials had requested the information at the hearing, and the New Jersey team had not had it.
Mr. Christie fired Bret D. Schundler, his education commissioner at the time, accusing him of lying about the hearing. But Mr. Schundler said he had warned the governor before the news conference that what he was about to tell reporters was false.
And Brett D. Schundler nailed exactly how Chris Christie rolls…
“His entire point was he likes to be on offense rather than defense,” Mr. Schundler said days later. “He wanted to make this all about the Obama administration’s picayune rules rather than our error.”
He apparently has been pretty successful at telling lies, blaming other people and attacking those who challenge him and thus shifting the focus away from the many lies, errors and fabrications that he uses to spread his warped ideas. The awesome Steve Benen sums up Governor Christie’s MO better than anyone, go Steve…
That may be true, but it’s not exactly a defense. This only makes Christie an effective liar. There’s a name for those who get the public to believe lies — we tend to call them charlatans.
And in Christie’s case, the record is extremely unflattering. The governor doesn’t like unions, so he’s lied about their benefits. Christie doesn’t like to accept responsibility for his mistakes, so he’s lied about blaming others for his own administration’s errors. He doesn’t like some of his previous campaign promises, so he’s lied about his agenda.
Worse, some of this is an extension of a bullying personality. The NYT piece noted that “inaccuracies also crop up when he is challenged, and his instinct seems to be to turn it into an attack on someone else instead of giving an answer.”
It’s about using deception as a political weapon. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the state Democratic chairman, said, “Everything is an assault, which makes it hard for adversaries to catch their breath and question the substance of what he’s saying before he moves on to the next thing.”
This post has focused on Governor Christie’s bullying tactics, but his arrogance seems to know no bounds as well. I’m sure I could do an entire post on that as well, but I will just leave you with one example of his recent arrogance. The other day, he used a state helicopter to swoop in and watch part of his sons baseball game, only to fly away again to meet with GOP donors who are trying to convince him to run for president in 2012. Under pressure from many in his state to reimburse the people for his extravagant use of state property, the arrogant governor refused, spitting in the face of the people who elected him. From NJ.com…
Facing broad criticism for flying by helicopter to watch his son’s high school baseball game in Bergen County, Gov. Chris Christie refused today to refund the state for Tuesday’s $2,500-an-hour flight. “The governor does not reimburse for security and travel,” a spokesman for the governor, Kevin Roberts, said in an e-mail message.
What a dangerous combination, arrogant and a bully. I’m not sure if the people of New Jersey are into that sort of thing, but for those of us in the rest of the country, it is pretty obvious that this man IS a charlatan. We can only hope that he will be a one term governor and for those people who think he should run for president, I have to wonder exactly what drugs they are on, thinking this man would be a good national leader.