As a strengthening Hurricane Isaac takes aim on The Big Easy, seven years to the day of Katrina’s catastrophic devastation, an even bigger bag of wind is set to be unleashed tonight in Tampa as NJ Governor Chris Christie takes the podium as the GOP’s Presidential Convention keynote speaker.
For the past week Chris Christie has been the topic du jour of all the news shows. Morning Joe, Good Morning America, News 12 New Jersey and the front pages of the local press have paraded and fawned over the GOP’s ascending star as if he were the second coming of Abraham Lincoln.
Journalists ask Christie if he intends to unleash his “fire and brimstone” Jersey hubris during his keynote speech. His tough talking, take no prisoners’ attitude seems to be all the rage in Republican Party circles these days. When GMA host George Stephanopoulos asked Christie if he represented the GOP mainstream Christie answered, “I’ve been to over thirty states since my election as Governor and everyone has welcomed me with open arms. With me you know who you’re buying.” Indeed Christie’s value as a political celebrity is rising. In his brief tenure as Governor he spends a lot of time jetting about the country, politicking for himself and the GOP. He’s been out raising funds for his reelection campaign and his coffers are overflowing with out of state money from his well heeled big time 1% contributors. Mr. Christie’s discerning buyers know what they are purchasing. His hubris is a nice word for his arrogance and opacity that are the hallmark of the political deals he’s cutting for his out of state friends when he arrives back home in the Garden State.
Christie’s supporters love his tough talking style but his tough talk is nothing more than the arrogance of power, the political and economic elites employ to cover their back room deals. Christie’s tough talk is nothing more than a front to deflect. When a reporter asked Christie about failing water delivery infrastructure and its impact on public health, the tough talking Governor answered “Did I say on topic? Are you stupid? On topic, on topic. Next question,” Christie said to the reporter. “Thank you all very much and I’m sorry for the idiot over there.” Christie also scored big with anti-union and privatization of education supporters by calling public school teachers, “drug mules”. Its a denigration unworthy of a governor and a damaging characterization of professionals working within a systemically challenged public school system.
Yeah Christie’s a real bad ass tough guy. When a Navy veteran asked for more details from Christie about the proposed merger between Rutgers Camden and Rowan University, he called the gentleman an idiot and used the power of his pulpit to brow beat and insult the man; who had every right as a citizen and taxpayer to receive a respectful reply to his question. This week Christie is crowing that he finally closed the Rutgers/Rowan deal with the bipartisan help of his lap dog democrat friends; as details concerning the financing and costs of the project remain obscure. It will be left to vigilant citizens to follow the money and see where and how state funds will flow into which private hands.
Yes Christie and his GOP supporters may love his tough talking but I suspect they pay a premium for the Christie brand because he knows when to keep his fat mouth shut. Sure their thankful when Christie refuses to shed any light on his business dealings and political moves. Christie’s less then transparent appointments of commissioners to the NJ Highland Commission allowed the governor to pack the oversight board with pro-development interests. The NJ Highlands is a sensitive watershed region for millions of state citizens. In a densely populated state like New Jersey, protection of water resources and environmental conservation should be priorities but out of state El Paso Corp has eminent domain to dramatically expand its pipeline through the ecologically sensitive area to deliver natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale deposit. Is this the fruit of Mr. Christie’s cross country road show to interested buyers? Christie’s short term profit is New Jersey’s long term problem.
In another strange case of the bloviating governor going mute is his refusal to provide insights into his interests and practices in a privately run prison halfway house business that regularly receives state funded taxpayer money. Governor Christie, “the entrepreneur” catches a bad case of laryngitis when asked to provide insights into his cashing in on the privatization of the prison system and the rent seeking practice of his company using government funds to provide substandard service.
Yeah they’ll be a big wind blowing through Tampa tonight that will rival anything Isaac can throw at New Orleans. Christie will crow about the New Jersey miracle since his governorship began but statistics show that the state is lagging its Mid-Atlantic rivals. Facts and politicians seem to be two mutually exclusive matters so it shouldn’t present an obstacle for Christie to say or claim anything the tough talking Jersey Dough-boy claims as truth.
This is particularly true of a fact based, reality challenged Republican Party that believes there is no science to support climate change, the idea that public schools are a liberal conceit, the notion that women rape victims can’t get pregnant, progressives are enemies of the state and to preserve the constitution we must withhold the rights of some citizens. If you think that this is an unfair shot at the GOP mindset, did you see the GOP California poster of Chris Christie riding a surfboard? Talk about a problem with the concept of reality.
Music Selection: Beach Boys, Surfin Safari
Risk: truth, transparency, civil discourse, consensus
It is said that success has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan. So its not surprising that as the McCain campaign came to its blessed end no one wanted to be blamed for the train wreck. Indeed the professional class of campaign elites that handled the failed republican bid for the presidency was looking to pin the progeny of McCain’s homely orphan on someone. Sarah Palin was again called to the service of her good party to take one for the team.
Much is being said about the Wasilla Hillbillies plundering Neiman Marcus from coast to coast. Much is being said about Palin’s confusion about weather Africa is a country or continent, what North American countries are NAFTA signatories and her refusal to prep for TV interviews and the resulting gaffs due to the lack of preparation. Fair enough. However I believe that most American’s couldn’t answer those “tough” questions by the liberal gotcha media and given the chance at a free coast to coast shopping spree would act in a similar if not more covetous fashion.
What really must be asked is who is responsible for anointing Sarah Palin to assume the office of VP? McCain’s Country Firsters, whose unfathomable depth of love for country is understandable only by God, insisted that Ms. Palin was the best person to sit in the office one heart beat away from the presidency. The Country Firsters erected the cult of Palin to solidify its right wing base and appeal to a broader populist mass of hockey moms, Joe Six Packers and Joe the wanna be plumber. The Republican Party does this every four years. At election time, the party of power and privileged elites comes before the electorate like a wolf in sheep clothing. They play on populist sentiments and fears. They viciously attack democrats as lesser American, non Christian, unpatriotic liberal elites whose sole purpose is to excessively tax the salt of the earth working people to send welfare checks and social assistance to the slackers of society.
Now that the election is over the republicans have no need to curry favor with the lower class rabble whose votes they need to remain in office. The deification of Palin is a cold slap in the face of an electoral sector that allows itself to be beguiled by a political machine to support a program that is painfully at odds with its own self interest.
Palin’s deification also signals a badly split republican party. Mitt Romney for example, has the social conservative credentials to appeal to Palin’s peeps with the glaring exception of his Mormon faith. The rejection of Romney as a suitable candidate speaks volumes about the religious bigotry rampant within the Republican Party. The Christian Rightists will righteously eat their party’s own out of bigoted zeal while rejecting apostates communion wafers offered at the Lord’s Table by mainstream Christian denominations. This party needs a reformation. Perhaps a Martin Luther will surface and nail a new 95 Thesis on the door of the RNC.
You Tube Video: Granny Sings “She Wants to Go Home”
You Tube Video: The Beverly Hillbillies Original Trailer
You Tube Video: The Beverley Hillbillies Theme Song
You Tube Video: Weird Al Yankovic, Money For Nothing
Risk: social class, party politics