Micheal Barbarofeb, of the NYT Times, reviews Governor Chris Christie's comments before the Economic Club of Chicago, yesterday, in Christie Ridicules Democrats for Emphasizing Income Inequality. Christie's remarks remind us that his worldview and policies are even more problematic than his lack of integrity and presidential character.
CHICAGO — Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey delivered an unexpectedly blistering broadside on Tuesday against the Democratic Party’s growing emphasis on income inequality, warning that the movement would “drive America toward mediocrity” and portraying its leaders, like Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, as local liberals unlikely to ignite a national cause. ... He went out of his way to describe a personal brand of politics that prizes bipartisanship and civility, holding it up as a model for Washington. “There are a lot of words for Washington, D.C. — civilized would not be one of them,” he said. ...
Then he mocked "President Obama for entering office without 'a respect for the other party,'" before returning to the theme of congratulating himself for transcending partisanship. ... Really?
Yes, we could all learn a valuable lesson about personal civility from Governor Christie -- just not the lesson he is espousing.
As an example, of his friendliness in reaching across the he denigrated several other Democratic leaders as well:
Mr. Christie pooh-poohed the issue and its champions, Mr. de Blasio and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, predicting that they would never achieve the level of influence that the Tea Party had exerted in the Republican Party. “I don’t think they are affecting the rest of the country all that much,” he said.Notice the little trick here, where he transforms Democrat's concern the extremes of inequality into a desire that everyone have the same income. Essentially, he is willing to lie and say or do anything to advance his cause, without so much as blinking.
The problem, he said, is that Americans do not want income equality, suggesting that it is antithetical to the country’s abiding belief in “income opportunity” that rewards hard work and merit. “You want income equality? That is mediocrity,” he said. “Everybody can have an equal, mediocre salary.”
In another example of Christie's bipartisanship, he compared the Democratic Party's debate over escalating income disparities to his 10 year daughter fighting with his 13-year-old son saying, “ ‘You did this for him — that’s not fair,’” mimicking a child's voice.
Meanwhile, in remarks widely reported yesterday, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland summed up the perceptions of many at a nearby Democratic rally:
“Either the governor knew and he is lying or he is the most inept, incompetent chief executive imaginable,” Mr. Strickland said.
“God help us if he were to be president,” he added.
This habit of oversimplifying complicated policy arguments to binary models frustrates me. No major Democratic leader is advocating we all get paid the same regardless of how much work we do, nor are Democrats against the accumulation of personal property.
Our issues of income inequality focus on the extremes - for example, when the top 2% owns more assets than the bottom half combined. (Or whatever the exact number is.) To equate advocacy for more progressive taxation with communism is not bi-partisan leadership, but a shameful and manipulative demagoguery that harms the fabric of our democracy, and is the opposite of true bipartisanship. Our media needs to recognize this distinction and start calling Christie on this bullshit.
10:47 AM PT: Christie is either a liar or incompetent, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland says
Strickland also said Christie is “at his core a bully.”
CHICAGO — Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland this morning said Gov. Chris Christie is either lying or incompetent in claiming that he knew nothing about a top aide’s order to shut down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
“I’m suggesting two things, two possibilities: Either the governor knew and he is lying, or he is the most inept, incompetent chief executive imaginable,” Strickland said at a press conference this morning arranged by the Democratic National Committee, just one block where Christie was scheduled to give a talk to the Economic Club of Chicago two hours later. ...
“I was the governor of a large state. I was surrounded by top staff,” Strickland said. “In my judgment it is impossible for these types of things to have happened in Chris Christie’s office without his knowledge or his consent.” ... Added Strickland: “If he is so incompetent in his judge of character and his oversight of his administration, then God help us if he becomes president.”