Thursday, February 23, 2012
Despite my mothers opinion, I liked Christie Todd-Whitman both as Governor of NJ (irrespective of her unpopular decisions including those that infuriated my mother) for her balanced leadership and the moral position she took against the Bush admin (and Dick Cheney in particular) by voting with her feet rather than towing the lame-ass GOP party line that "The Best Public Interest is NO Public Interest...". And as a pragmatist, I cannot help but admire hers, especially in respect of trying to bridge the divide between wing-nuts of both parties.
Yet, there are times when shibboleths NEED to be outed and contrary opinions voiced boldly...when bureaucratic processes take on a life of their own in stark contrast to prevailing realities, and perhaps even their original mission, or that foreseen by original lawmakers and beneficiaries alike. At such junctures, larger-than-life provocateurs speaking the increasingly obvious (but too-often unsaid) - however painful - is not only entertaining to behold, but also both useful and necessary, for The People (even if they don't know it....yet). I have, to date, viewed Chris Christie in this way, and will admit to admiring his willingness to jump in the pool and make a large splash by saying things that need to be said, and doing things that more diminutive men (or women) just cannot do. He is unashamedly unashamed of his [frequent] insensitivity, political incorrectness, his gaffes, and for that matter his girth, all which is as it should be (except speaking with mal-intent about his waistline). It has been enojyable and refreshing.
But such men come with baggage. Speaking your mind, and shooting from one's proverbial hip, runs risks - for those far-from-perfect, for better or for worse. Sometimes such honest and unscripted quips are more apt than anything Safire or Frum could conjure working late into the night with a well-worn thesaurus. But others - those that go awry - perchance give insight into the real person. At one extreme, recall Jimmy Carter's infamous Playboy interview. At the other end are Governor Christie's, and this should be concerning to all concerned - even those who otherwise *like* him, such as myself. And what such a peek-under-the-hood reveals is the presence of some of the least-desirable traits in a leader: an ignorant intolerant bully.
Whether you-the-reader or Mr Christie agrees or disagrees with WB regarding the present level of marginal tax rates, or whether higher rates should be *optional*, is wholly irrelevant. As a citizen, WB has every to right the the soapbox. In fact, in issues of wealth that effect the uber-rich and business, he perhaps deserves even a larger pulpit with a more ornate lecturn. The political process with all its warts is precisely about airing contrary views, and letting them be kicked around, and judged by the polity. Some have direct access by position or money. Some have more direct access than they should. Others have indirect access, but all are entitled, and should be encouraged to express their views without being told to "Shut-Up" by a large, loud-mouthed, bully, just because its contrary to his (or his party's) position. By extension, if you, as a citizen in a democracy think the public interest would be improved by a road expansion, rather than bring it to the attention of other citizens, in "Mr Christie's world you should just "Shut The Fuck Up And Build It Yourself". If believe that an existing law insufficiently and unsustainably protects fish-stocks, I suppose in Mr Christie's world you should just "Shut The Fuck Up and east Spam" or alternatively going down the action-path, Mr Christie might encourage you to take matters in your own hands and become a Vigilante-Of-The-Sea. If capital-expenditure on sewage treatment is insufficient to purify drinking water or prevent noxious gases from permeating the neighborhood, by extension, I presume Mr Christie would suggest you "Shut The Fuck Up, buy bottled water and shut your friggin' windows". Politics as it should be?, one might ask?
Perhaps one cannot know what Mr Christie really meant. Perhaps he was just misunderstood. But I have the suspicion that this super-sized New Jersey Djinn, now out of the bottle, is displaying his true persona. And it is NOT a pretty sight...unless of course you're a brown-shirt.