New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the embodiment of today's Republican Party and everything it has come to represent. You name it, Christie's got it: Disingenuous, smug, nasty? Check. Robotic servant of the corporate class, foisting its lobbyists' prefabricated laws on an unsuspecting public? Check. Hostile toward women? Double-check.
And last night he proved his bona fides as a Republican by proving he meets his party's other criterion, which is an absolute contempt toward the ordinary men and women who have been victimized by its policies. The night before the nation received its latest bad news on unemployment, Christie told a cheering Republican crowd that the nation's jobless were lazy examples of an entitlement mentality.
Needless to say, Chris Christie is now considered a leading Vice Presidential contender.
Christie's blunt style seemed refreshing at first. Hey, I kinda liked the guy myself.
But "blunt" became "ugly" very quickly: Telling union officials to "cut the crap." Shouting down a right-wing millionaire who asked a blunt question at a Meg Whitman rally. Insulting a nonpartisan state agency for reaching a conclusion he didn't like. Rudely blowing off a constituent during a televised question-and-answer session. Telling Warren Buffett to "just write a check and shut up."
His behavior quickly left the bounds of "refreshing" and ventured into "jerk" territory.
Christie's bullying style was best illustrated when he insulted and abused another constituent when he asked a perfectly reasonable question about taxes. He demanded that a state trooper bring the man onstage, berated him at length, and then ordered him expelled from the room.
During another meeting he called a law student an "idiot" and told him to "shut up" before having the student, a former Navy SEAL, forcibly removed from the building. (Part of Christie's intimidation style includes hauling people onstage for a "conversation" -- and then not letting them speak.)
Between 71 and 86 percent of New Jersey respondents told pollsters that the words "arrogant," "stubborn," "self-centered" and "bully" either describe him "very well" or "somewhat well."
As an editorial in the Newark Star-Ledger put it, "It doesn't matter who you are -- school superintendent, teacher, student, U.S. senator, state Assembly leader, former education commissioner or just a regular guy trying to have a conversation: If you disagree with him, Christie will try to humiliate you publicly."
If Chris Christie was a movie the MPAA would rate him "R."
And as for Christie's attitude toward women, there's this: First he told reporters that someone should "take a bat" to a 76-year-old widow, a state legislator who had the temerity to say she thought he had acted hypocritically.
And then there was this, after a female constituent asked a pointed question about "jobs going down." Christie shouted back "You know something may be going down tonight but it ain't gonna be jobs, sweetheart."
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