To all my readers outside of New Jersey, I must apologize for the actions of our governor, Chris Christie.
Ignoring his tactical blunders such as being directly responsible for the loss of $400 million of Federal education funds, cancelling a much-needed tunnel project after spending a billion dollars of taxpayer money, being unwilling to compromise with the public service unions, increasing average property taxes by 23% this year, establishing an opaque political fund in the name of “reform”, and firing a state supreme court justice for political reasons, the fact is that he’s just not a decent person.
His treatment of dissenting citizens at his “town hall” meetings (especially today’s event in Parsippany) demonstrates the kind of person he is – a bully. Our governor, who was elected with less than 50% of the vote, has the right to promote his political agenda, but he needs to keep in mind that he is the governor of all of New Jersey, not just his acolytes. His behavior is more befitting that of a gang leader or a Mafia don and sets a poor example for our kids. The national media love him because he is a spectacle that appears to give straight talk even though he is obfuscating the truth. Few reporters on the national level have probed past his tough-man veneer.
I don’t know a polite word that is the opposite of “mensch”, but that’s what our governor is. New Jerseyans are better than this, so don’t look at Governor Christie and think that he represents the people of our state. I’m sorry that you have to see this rude buffoon, but even sorrier for New Jersey’s kids who will have to live with the consequences of this bully’s action for many years to come.
Christie's biggest argument came with a school board member (of a district that has all of two high schools) who wants to pay his superintendent $216,000 a year instead of the measly $175,000 mandated by Christie.ReplyDelete
As a supporter of consolidating school districts, I thought you would support this.
The majority of New Jerseyans don't see Christie as a bully. They see him as someone standing up to union and public sector hacks and thugs that have been bullying us for decades.
This post was about Christie's childish demeanor, but since you brought up the superintendents' salaries, I would agree with your point on consolidating school districts. In Burlington County, I would prefer a single school district with one superintendent making, say $300,000, over the 30 or so districts, each with a superintendent getting $150,000. And that's just the tip of the iceberg in the potential for savings.
Comparing Christie to the other political hacks is OK, but remember, Christie has the platform and visibility of our chief executive and his behavior should set an example for our kids. Using the State Police and his persona to bully teachers in public who have a difference of opinion is inexcusable, childish, self-defeating, and ethically wrong. Compare this to the lesson that Jon Corzine taught after his accident. He told the kids in the state that he was wrong not to wear his seatbelt, and showed that as a wealthy man, he would not burden the state with his medical expenses and paid out of his pocket. Whether you agree with Corzine or Christie or neither, Corzine is a mensch, Christie is a bully.
See you Monday,
Glen -- I don't think your statement ("The majority of New Jerseyans don't see Christie as a bully") is true. According to a Quinnipiac poll in June, 44% of New Jerseyans described him as a leader, to 43% who described him as a bully. And this was in June, before he really revved up his bully act in town meetings and across the US.ReplyDelete
Christie's overall poll numbers seem to be trending upward. Not many politicians can say that.ReplyDelete
Is he a bully? The townhall videos I have seen show him being blunt in his answers, but always giving the questioner ample time to ask and respond. I don't see that as bullying. I have not seen the videos where the state police have escorted some people out, but I suspect the change in behavior is on the part of the questioners, not Christie.
A number of Democrat congressmen had persistent questioners escorted out of town halls last summer. I don't recall them being characterized as bullies, instead there was much commenting about rude and angry Tea Partiers. I guess it depends on whose ox is being gored.
Here's the bottom line. The three states almost universally described as economic basket cases are New York, New Jersey and California. Two of these states chose to continue on their high-spending, high-tax paths. (California's choice is almost comical, at least if you don't live there.) The third state has chosen a different path. Let's wait and see how it turns out.
I guess I can paraphrase Michelle Obama and say for the first time in memory I am proud of my state.
The bottom line under Christie's platform of "shared sacrifice": The rich get richer. The middle class gets to pay more taxes. The poor get screwed.ReplyDelete
The rich get richer - Even after Christie struck down Corzine's "millionaire surtax", the rich still pay a higher percentage of their income in NJ taxes than in almost every other state.ReplyDelete
The middle class gets to pay more taxes - Taxes generally go up under Democrats and down under Republicans. This is not controversial. I thought Democrats were proud of it ("Republicans are such scrooges".) One reason our taxes are so high is a liberal state supreme court that ruled that poor school districts must be funded not at average levels but at the level of the most expensive school districts in the state. Meanwhile, the more money that is grabbed from middle class taxpayers for these purposes, the more that can be siphoned off by the Wayne Bryants of the world.
The poor get screwed - This is the one that seems to throw you the most. Anti-business, anti-growth policies harm the poor more than anyone else. The vast migration of (not-rich) Californians to such places as Arizona, Nevada, Texas and (believe it or not) Oklahoma is not due to the poor social safety net in California, but rather to a political environment that prevents jobs from being created for them. In the last two years, Texas has created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. It is undoubtedly making some of the hard-working people who create those jobs wealthy. That is a good thing, not a bad thing.