Gov. Christie: The fist pump governor

When I tell people outside of New Jersey that Chris Christie is still really popular here, they usually respond by giving me the type of look reserved for when a dog drags his butt across the bedroom carpet.

This is commentary from political blogger and cartoonist Rob Tornoe.

When I tell people outside of New Jersey that Chris Christie is still really popular here, they usually respond by giving me the type of look reserved for when a dog drags his butt across the bedroom carpet.

After all, don’t proud residents of the Garden State see their governor belittling teachers, calling reporters idiots, referring to lawmakers as “arrogant S.O.B.’s,” and going full Jersey Shore on boardwalk denizens dumb enough to cross him?

Yes, they do. And the truth is — most of them like it.

It reminds me of something the late George Carlin once said that hits Christie’s popularity right on the head: “If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to have selfish, ignorant leaders.”

Christie’s supporters don’t really care too much about his policies, or bear down on the specifics of his time in office. They like his bravado — his willingness to say or do anything, at any moment, to anyone.

Unfortunately, they’re falling for a well-cultivated act that’s working to perfection — getting people to react to his style, and not focus on his substance.

How else do you explain people excited that he went after those spoiled, overpaid government workers, yet property taxes are higher then they’ve ever been — even higher then they were under Jon “I lost $2 billion” Corzine.

I’ve had people across the state tell me, “he’s a straight talker, and he’s not afraid to fight for us.” The same people look perplexed when I ask them how they would spend the entire $80 they would save under his tax cut plan, or how his repeated vetoes of a millionaires’ tax benefits them in any way.

The worst is their denial about how much of a politician Christie truly is. Long before he got nailed for taking helicopter rides to his son’s baseball games, he was fist pumping at 10,000 feet on private jets as he lobbied for everything from for-profit colleges to the deregulation of New Jersey’s electric and gas industry. He even worked to remove securities fraud from a consumer fraud act on behalf of an organization run by Bernie Madoff.

These things tend to get glossed over because his predecessor was an uber-rich Wall Street banker (and a bad one at that). But this notion that Christie is some altruistic crusader, and is willing to “tell it like it is” in order to help the struggling middle class of New Jersey is as absurd as playing tough guy on the Jersey Shore clutching an ice cream cone.

It would be different if Christie were actually correcting the state’s long-term budget problems, but his fixes on the public pension system and transportation trust fund are just more gimmicks designed to blow up in later years, long after he’s left Trenton for a shot at the national limelight. 

But that doesn’t really matter to the fist-pump governor. Like Snooki and JWoww, he’s looking to branch out, to trade up and find his next hit.

I don’t think Mitt Romney will pluck him out of the state to be his vice president, but I wouldn’t put it past “Mittens” to nominate Christie to be his attorney general if he defeated President Obama in November. 

What’s that — isn’t that the same position his mentor and former boss, John Ashcroft, held? The same person then-U.S. Attorney Christie gave a no-bid, $50 million monitoring contract? 

Yeah, you’re right. My lamestream media sensibilities keep driving me to facts, rather than what’s important. I’m logging back on to YouTube now.

 

Rob Tornoe is a political cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. See more of his work at RobTornoe.com, and follow him on twitter @RobTornoe.

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