While there are many mediocre State governors in America, the current pair deserving the title of The Two Worst Governors in the United States are indubitably Republicans Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Snyder of Michigan. Consider the clear and overwhelming evidence:
Chris Christie, from the campaign trail of his fruitless presidential run, pocket vetoed two vital pieces of gun legislation which would surely have saved innocent lives in his home state. One bill would have required New Jersey gun dealers to sell at least one "smart gun" which can only be fired by authorized users, as soon as that technology is proven totally effective. The second bill, which passed both houses of the New Jersey legislature without a single NO vote, would have banned the sale of guns to convicted carjackers, gang criminals, and those who make terroristic threats. Both laws are eminently sensible, and in no way inhibit so-called Second Amendment gun rights. Both laws would have saved lives in New Jersey -- and elsewhere, since guns tend to have a good deal of mobility. Both laws, however, might have interfered with Gov. Christie's endless courting of the gun lobby, and for that reason alone displeased him.
Of course, these pocket vetoes were not surprising, given Chris Christie's recent comments to Fox News that President Barack Obama was a "petulant child" for his support of sensible gun legislation. This, from the governor who literally embraced the President in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy a few years ago, thanking Barack Obama profusely for his leadership and support in the restoration of New Jersey after that disastrous storm. But that was then, when Christie was not yet running for president -- and this is now, when he is desperately trying to be relevant in a presidential race where he is among the lowest tier of Republican candidates. Hey, why should he have any principles -- this is the governor who advocates a massive public works program to rebuild the crumbling bridges in his state, perhaps so that he can again be responsible for closing those same bridges to punish his political enemies.
Turning to Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan: here is a man who should be charged with slow murder of the good folks in Flint, Michigan, whose water supply he allowed to be poisoned by his own appointed emergency managers. It seems that the former water supply for Flint was considered too costly for a city comprised mainly of low-income and minority residents, so Governor Snyder allowed the water supply to be switched over to the polluted Flint River. It was obvious from the start that this water was undrinkable and mainly unusable, being a nice brown in color and containing sediment. Even after it became apparent, from both in-state and independent tests of the polluted water, that its lead content was way above safe levels, Governor Snyder looked the other way as people, particularly children, began to display a host of signs of toxic lead poisoning -- which, tragically, tends to be irreversible.
Far too late, after this criminal misconduct became public knowledge through the courageous reporting of Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and some journalists in Michigan, the governor reversed his refusal to seek Federal assistance. In fact, he spent much of his annual State of the State message bemoaning the situation in Flint, Michigan -- a situation which ultimately he created, by both action and inaction for several years. Governor Rick Snyder has all the style of Syrian President Bashar Assad, another poisoner of his own people by banned chemical weapons, except that in Snyder's case it was less intentional than in Assad's. Still, the awful results may be similar -- just slower -- in Flint.
If there were an Academy Award for the category of Worst Governor in America, Chris Christie and Rick Snyder would both undoubtedly be the nominees. Instead, though, their proper awards are rapid defeat in the presidential race for New Jersey Governor Christie, and a prison cell for "depraved indifference" for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. May they both receive these well-earned awards, the sooner the better.
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)