I generally vote Democratic in Presidential elections because I generally agree with the Democrats on social and other issues.
(Democrats are generally for “small government” on social issues, for example, whereas today’s Republicans often want to restrict choice, legislate personal morality, link Christian church and state, and otherwise have the government intrude in places where I don’t think the government should be, which I find annoying and un-American).
That said, I’m sympathetic to some Republican views on fiscal conservatism and personal responsibility, and I don’t think the answer to every problem is “more government.” In some areas, in fact, I think the answer is probably “less government.”
So, if the Republicans were ever to produce a Presidential candidate I like who is reasonable on social issues and strong and smart on economics (as opposed to being an ideologue), I would make the ideal “swing voter” who might help the Republicans capture the White House again.
For the last couple of years, I have thought that this Republican candidate might be Chris Christie, the famous governor of New Jersey.
I find Christie’s views on some social issues (gay marriage, for example) offensive and un-American. But I like his no-nonsense, practical approach to the budget and getting things done. And I love the fact that he’s willing to say and do things that run counter to the Republican Party’s talking points. This shows independence of thought and fortitude that I admire and like.
So I was thinking that it might be possible that I would end up voting for Chris Christie, who seemed to be the obvious Republican front-runner.
But now I’m increasingly worried that Chris Christie is a thug.
This is not just because of the order-up-a-traffic-jam-to-punish-a-political-opponent scandal.
Yes, that’s bad, and, regardless of whether Christie knew about it or ordered it, it reflects badly on the tone of leadership he sets in his administration. But subordinates do sometimes do things that their bosses are horrified by, and, for now, I am willing to believe that it’s possible that Christie really did know nothing about it and was actually shocked and appalled when it was brought to his attention.
It’s also the way Christie is behaving now that the traffic scandal has been exposed.
First, he torched the deputy chief of staff who ordered the traffic jam. Yes, he had to reprimand and disown her, but even if Christie didn’t implicitly sanction the jam, he could have done more to show how bizarrely out of character this behaviour was for his administration and how disappointed and betrayed he felt.
Second, and far more saliently, he has now completely torched a former political ally — the guy who actually created the traffic jam. In a startlingly long and harsh statement released yesterday, Christie’s team invoked the man’s behaviour in high school to nuke his credibility. The man’s high school social studies teacher, Christie’s team triumphantly reported, once accused him of doing something deceptive.
(Something deceptive? What, exactly? And if the man did, once, in high school, do something that someone found deceptive, is this really relevant 30 years later? Has Chris Christie never, ever done something deceptive? Never? Even in high school?)
Yes, this man’s assertion that Chris Christie knew about (and, therefore, sanctioned, if not directly ordered) the traffic jam has the potential to destroy Christie’s political career.
But still… the vehemence and vindictiveness of Christie’s attack on the man was startling.
This sort of attack doesn’t make Christie look like an independent, statesmanlike leader who has the fortitude to make hard decisions and stand up for what he believes.
It makes him look like a thug.
And I don’t want to vote for a President who is a thug.
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