Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hubris Trips Up Another Rising GOP Star

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is taking plenty of heat for the callous comments he made in a failed attempt to defend his Florida vacation in the middle of a blizzard -- while his Lieutenant Governor was also out of state on a cruise.

One of the worst statements was this one:
"I would have been doing the same thing here as I would have been there," Christie said. "I would have been in a room someplace. I would not have been out, like, driving a plow."

It’s hard to imagine an elected official being more tone-deaf than this. Hell, even President Bush's people reminded him to "roll up the shirt sleeves" for his Hurricane Katrina photo ops. Christie isn't even pretending to try here.

Let me respond, on behalf of the people of New Jersey (a state I lived in for eight years):

No asshole, you would not have been doing the same thing at home that you were doing in Florida. If you were in New Jersey you would have been experiencing the snow, cold, winds, and sucky roads as everyone else. You’d be worrying about your neighbors and family members who had to abandon their cars in the mess. You’d be wondering how you’re going to get to work or to the grocery store or to the hospital to have your baby, what with the closed roads and abandoned vehicles. In short, you would have experienced what the people you are supposed to be serving had experienced.

But you didn’t. Because you were enjoying Florida’s 80 degree sunshine with your wife and kids. So the point is not whether you were reachable by phone; the point is that what the people of your state experienced last week will always be academic to you because you weren’t there. For the rest of your life, whenever people say: "Where were you in the great blizzard of 2010," your answer will always be: I wasn't there. I was in balmy, 80 degree sunshine.

And another Republican rising star goes down in a fiery wreck thanks to his colossal hubris. What the fuck is wrong with you people? I’m not going to say all conservatives lack empathy for their fellow citizens, I’m sure we all know plenty of caring people on the other side of the political aisle. But there’s something about the public statements of the current crop of conservative leaders that leans toward the sociopathic.

I used to think these folks were just reciting tired conservative talking points -- I mean, no one could seriously believe that in the middle of the worst recession in 80 years that the nation's high unemployment rate is due to people not wanting to work, right? Yet time and again we hear GOPers like Rick Scott claim the unemployed are simply “lazy” and don’t want to work. Well excuse me, asshole: we didn’t all get a $10 million golden parachute when forced to resign from our last company.

These are intelligent people, and it’s hard to believe they aren’t just playing political games and repeating conservative fairy tales for their low-information constituency. But then along comes a Chris Christie who goes off and abandons the people of his state in their time of need by saying his kid’s Christmas present was more important. Those actions speak a million times louder than words.

My mother, God rest her soul, always told me to "watch a man's actions, don't listen to his words." She was talking about dating and finding a mate, but it's perfectly good advice when looking for a governor, too. Sadly, New Jersey has a guy who will abandon them for the Florida sunshine in their time of need because he puts himself first. So much for the idea of a public servant.