Friday, April 27, 2012

Fixing the Christie Propaganda Machine

If the USSR still existed, Governor Christie's "town hall" meetings would be the envy of the Communist regime's Propaganda Ministry. Funded by the state and with enough half-truths to make the information seem reliable, Christie's approach is not fundamentally different than that of the failed Soviet regime - and it has to stop.

Since the beginning of the Republic, elected executives have used the "bully pulpit" to advance their agendas. But Christie has mastered this forum to the point where these gatherings provide good entertainment but little substantive discussion - the type of give-and-take that a traditional town hall meeting is supposed to promote.

The Governor has every right to bash his political opponents. His First Amendment rights allow him to call an assemblywoman "a jerk" and urge the press to "take a bat" to a member of the Senate leadership. The voters can judge his character based on his behavior and language.

But the governor does not have the right to spew his political propaganda on the taxpayer's dime. These "town hall" meetings are not inexpensive. There are costs for transportation, security, facility rental, and most egregiously, the governor's cadre of videographers, bloggers, and tweeters who continue to politicize the one-sided messages coming from the Tsar of Trenton. And the background wallpaper of GOP elected officials and acolytes just adds to the partisan tone of these events that we are paying for.

So far, Christie has held 75 of these propaganda sessions. I've attended a couple of them myself, although given that they are held during the day, I wonder how many middle-class working people have been shut out of the discussions.

The idea is a good one if it is allowed to play out the right way. Allowing ordinary citizens to question their leader directly is a good concept. But how many ordinary citizens have the courage of someone like Marie Corfield to take on the bully-in-chief directly?

Christie loves attention and loves confrontation, so this misuse of taxpayer funds will continue. But there's a way to right these wrongs. Let the so-called "town halls" continue, but make them true town halls. Christie should invite a member of the Democratic leadership to join him at each one of these events. Let the public hear a debate instead of propaganda. Allowing the opposing party an equal opportunity to present its views is the American way.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Presidential Ticket Anagrams

Playing around with anagrams of the top Republican presidential tickets gives us some interesting combinations:

Romney Portman
                Momentary Porn
Romney Rubio
                In Our Embryo
Romney Christie
                Noisy Mercer Hit
Romney Jindal
                Men in lard joy
Romney Daniels
                I snarled money

And not to let the Democrats off the hook...

Obama Biden
                I be a Om Band

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Mitt Romney Needs to Do

If Mitt Romney wants to become president, he will need the votes of independents and women. In other words, he needs to distance himself from the extreme wingnuttery of the Republican Party. Specifically:

He should shut down the birthers.

Just as John McCain told a woman in a 2008 town hall meeting that Barack Obama was not a Muslim, Romney must unequivocally assert that the President’s birth certificate, which has been a public record for some time, is genuine and that Obama was born in Hawaii.

He should recognize gender equality.

Romney’s refusal to answer whether or not he would have signed the Lily Ledbetter Act that guarantees equal pay for equal work is surprising. If he’s to be a viable candidate and garner women’s votes, he should make his position clear and not leave people guessing. And he should denounce Ted Nugent’s anti-woman rhetoric.

He should stop pretending to be one of us.

Being part of the wealthy elite does not disqualify him from running. He should acknowledge his wealth and stop trying to be a NASCAR fan or pretend to be a blue collar Joe.

As is usually the case, this election will be determined on fundamental economic issues. That’s where the debate should concentrate. Ancillary issues like birtherism detract from the important discussions.

Now, I’m all for Barack Obama in 2012. Remember the last CEO president we had? He brought the nation and world to the brink of economic collapse. But Romney owes it to the nation and his party to put the distracting issues to bed and focus on what’s really important.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Cross-posted from

Recently, Governor Christie has parroted the right-wing talking points where he warns of a “paternalistic entitlement society” and people sitting on a couch “waiting for the next government check.”

This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Chris Christie has been a lazy governor and eschews the hard work for which he was elected.

Take, for example, the ARC Tunnel fiasco. Christie cancelled this job-creation and much-needed infrastructure project with nary a finger lifted to perform as an executive should. He did not consult the legislature. He did not work to find a compromise solution. He did not assess the impact on New Jersey’s jobs situation. He did not come up with an alternative solution to meet the needs of New Jersey and eastern seaboard train riders. In short, he was too lazy to do his job.

That laziness has been a continual characteristic of Christie’s approach to governing.  Another example is his damn-the-torpedoes approach to the takeover of Rutgers-Camden by Norcross Rowan University. In the business world, any CEO who attempts a hostile takeover without performing due diligence would be summarily fired. But Christie was too lazy to do his homework to develop the financial business case for this takeover. Sloth, thy name is Christie!

Other examples where our governor was too lazy to do his homework come to mind – the Race to the Top failure and the vetting of his Supreme Court nominee’s financial shenanigans, for example.

So who are the real couch potatoes? Many of them are in Christie’s camp: People who sit around and collect capital gains while not producing any value-added items for the economy. Wall Street bankers and a certain Willard Romney come to mind.

And who are the people who need what Christie calls the “paternalistic entitlement[s]”? They are people like my friends Mike and Kathy, owners of a small business who drew the short straw in the game of life and struggle to navigate the mess that our governor created in Medicaid. They are the hard working public school teachers who have received the brunt of Christie’s kowtowing to the anti-union privateers.

So, Mr. Governor, if you want to label folks as couch potatoes, gather your friends and supporters and collectively look in the mirror. Espousing cheap political rhetoric is easy. Governing is hard.

Comments on this post are encouraged, but references to the governor’s weight are not welcome. Such comments take away from substantive discussion of the real issues.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Wouldn't it be nice to have a leader who does not put our troops into harms way based on false pretenses and squander trillions of dollars that could be used at home?

Wouldn't it be nice to have a leader who invests in infrastructure and jobs instead of cancelling a critical trans-Hudson tunnel project on false pretenses?

Wouldn't it be nice to have leaders at all levels of government who wake up to the fact that tax cuts for the wealthy do not create jobs?

Wouldn't it be nice to have a chief executive who treats all people with dignity and grants them equal rights - including the right to marry the person they love?

Wouldn't it be nice to have a leader who understands the Constitutional concept of separation of state and church?

Wouldn't it be nice to have a leader who tells the truth?

It was nice when George W Bush's stain on the White House was finally removed.

It will be nice when Chris Christie loses to a Democrat in 2013.

And it will be nice when Mitt Romney is sent back to Massachusetts to tend to his fortune after November.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why Should I Believe a Liar?

In response to allegations that Governor Christie and his staff have been plagiarizing proposed legislation from the ultra-conservative group ALEC, Christies' tweetmaster posted this:

It should be noted that much of the legislation proposed by Christie is identical word-for-word with the ALEC proposed legislation.

Christie's tweet has as much credibility as Christie's previous statement that he didn't know Amir Khan:

(h/t Jersey Jazzman)