New Jersey governor and board-certified bully Chris Christie has officially announced his (inevitably futile) run for the Republican presidential nomination. It is time to make him regret that decision.
It's difficult to conjure another character in American politics whose public persona is so unnecessarily boorish and over-the-top as Chris Christie's. And, especially now that he’s stepped onto the national stage, if there's anyone who demands to be immediately and relentlessly bullied himself, it's him. So, when it comes to doing battle against Christie, whether Republican or Democrat, the gloves ought to be permanently off, because Christie himself has been bare-knuckle sucker-punching opponents throughout his political career, whether it's against liberals, the press, teachers, gun control activists or anyone who dares to give him the side-eye. Along those lines, perhaps the greatest 30 seconds of political video ever is the one in which Christie obnoxiously bullied a passerby on a New Jersey boardwalk -- while brandishing, of all things, an ice cream cone, thus punctuating Christie's reputation as the quintessential schoolyard recess bully. The only thing missing from the video is Christie giving the poor guy a toilet swirly.
Christie is often mistaken for a straight-talker, but that's a sad misinterpretation of who he really is. By many accounts, he's New Jersey's dysfunctional stepdad, torn directly from an after-school special. The bullying and strong-arming is regularly illustrated by his inability to accept even the most minuscule criticism without barking back, "Sit down and shut up!" This kind of behavior is appropriate, I suppose, in the context of precipitating a barroom brawl. Not from someone who expects to be president. Then again, is there anyone in the GOP field who's the slightest bit presidential? In that regard, Christie is par for the course.
Unlike most of the other candidates, however, Christie has a series of actual accomplishments. And by "accomplishments," I mean "the really awful things he's done." Credit where credit is due: He showed strong leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. But that's the beginning and the end of Christie behaving like a statesman, as opposed to most of the time, when he's the most popular item for sale at the Jerk Store.
Along those lines, let's recap some highlights of Christie's gubernatorial career so far.
1) In spite of Christie's occasional pandering to gun control supporters, Christie is the National Rifle Association's best friend in New Jersey. Not only did he blame video games, of all things, for motivating Adam Lanza to massacre 20 children at Sandy Hook, but he also vetoed legislation that would have restricted the size of ammunition magazines from from 15 rounds to ten -- and he vetoed the bill practically in the faces of the parents of two Sandy Hook victims who traveled to Trenton to beg Christie to sign the bill. Christie also vetoes a bill that would've restricted gun purchases to one-per-month.
2) I knew Christie was planning to run for president in spite of his ongoing bridge scandal. I knew it as soon as Christie pledged to veto legislation at the request of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. As an animal rights supporter, this move was particularly horrendous to me, so I won't even float the too obvious and unfair Chris Christie pork joke. Long story short, Christie vetoed legislation that would've outlawed so-called "gestation crates" or "sow stalls" used for raising pigs. It's an unnecessarily cruel, medieval device that basically immobilizes pregnant sows in pork production facilities, preventing them from turning, moving or laying down. Consequently, sows are perpetually terrified, exhibiting repetitive behavior such as gnawing on the metal crate bars while obviously suffering from elevated stress hormones. Christie vetoed the legislation keeping the crates legal despite supermajority support for banning them (93 percent, according to a Mason-Dixon poll in New Jersey). All of this to pander to Iowa -- home of the Iowa caucus.
3) Remember when Christie so effusively celebrated with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones? Apparently, Christie attended the game as an illegal gift from Jones.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accepted a plane ride to Dallas and a seat at a Cowboys playoff football game in a luxury suite from team owner Jerry Jones, who has a business relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, officials said.
Ethics rules in the Garden State forbid such activities, stating that Christie is barred from accepting gifts from anyone with whom the he and other state officials “deal with, contact, or regulate in the course of official business.” Christie’s office predictably dodged the charges, suggesting that it’s okay for Christie to take gifts from “relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds.” Naturally, it doesn’t matter because New Jersey and, specifically, the New Jersey Port Authority dealt with Jones on a business deal as recently as two years ago. Say nothing of the fact that the celebration was a stick in the eye of Eagles fans in southern New Jersey as well as Giants fans in the north. Christie clearly didn't give a flying rip about either.
4) He's also certifiably insane when it comes to economic and fiscal policy, vetoing tax hikes on millionaires while cutting infrastructure and education spending. He's perpetually miserly with spending, except when it comes to airlifting him to soccer games. Then it's spend, spend, spend.
5) Oh, and to top it all off, he happens to be staunchly anti-choice on reproductive rights, infamously vetoing a spending bill to fund Planned Parenthood. Not for nothing, but it continues to confound reason why anti-abortion zealots would cut funding to an organization that literally helps to prevent unplanned pregnancies and therefore abortions. But there it is.
So, at the end of the day, whenever Christie appears on the stump, awkwardly pandering for a chance at the White House, I have no issue with leaning my head back, pointing at my computer screen and laughing with my teeth showing. Christie is a special brand of mean -- he's an obnoxious and undisciplined bastard. He's thoroughly earned a universe of criticism and, let's be honest, relentless teasing, especially from New Jersey residents who've been personally impacted by his backwards decisions. Welcome to the race, governor. Now get ready to have that stupid ice cream cone verbally smacked out of your hand.