Op-Ed: Political Pawns We Are; Chris Christie 2016!?

By Aaron Joseph. This may be a drop early, but I suggest that if Chris Christie is to have a decent shot for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, he should brush up on his Spanish. Not that I am making any three year predictions, yet Jeb Bush speaks a fluent Spanish, his wife is Mexican, and, well, Jeb Bush is far more a diplomatic personality, and entrenched, to say the least, within the Republican party.

Hurricane Sandy was a game changer- in each of our personal lives and in the political course of events for the nation. Many pundits agree that it gave President Obama the unique, sole presidential platform edge in the crucial two weeks before the election, perhaps cementing his victory. We will leave that to history. Yet another game-changer was our Governor Christie’s reaction.

Prior to Hurricane Sandy, Chris Christie was the ‘bully pulpit’ for the Romney campaign, incessantly attacking the President and his party’s platform. The hurricane caused a reversal in political-fortune, providing Governor Christie opportunity for effervescent praise of President Obama’s handling of the hurricane response coming across as ‘Hollywood perfect.’ The Republican governor’s outspoken praise for his erstwhile political foe prompted an ever-quick hurricane response from the campaigning Democratic presidential candidate. New Jersey’s receiving an even quicker than the response of our bigger neighbor to the north, and its Democrat governor.

It begs a question, when Republican Governor Chris Christie campaigned for Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, whose best interests did he really have in mind?

Of course, in response to criticism regarding his seemingly selling out Republican friend Mitt Romney, Christie responded in his bulldog way that the Sandy natural disaster is far above politics. Brilliant. Christie scored even more points than the President scored in offering his helping hand. Christie was coming across as selfless, after all, he wasn’t in the middle of a personal reelection campaign and had nothing to immediately gain; reinforcing this all the while by- well, willingly selling out Romney. Governor Christie was also able to promote complete bipartisanship on the highest levels.

Don’t get me wrong, Governor Christie proves to be the ‘Giuliani Figure’ you want in charge during a crises. I personally believe he did a brilliant hands-on job in Sandy’s aftermath. Then again, others in his situation may have done so, without selling out friendships. Here is an argument though.

Governor Christie is a brilliant mind, both legally and politically. He knows just how to attack his critics and this proves to be his best defense. Question the Governor if he “sold out Mitt Romney,” and get ready to be scathed by a withering reply questioning your own morality. Selling out friends, or calling exhausted governmental officials after 11:20pm, is also a question of morality, and of respectability, and of leadership. These all a key for a successful presidential candidate.

The Governor knows that in order to level the presidential playing field in 2016, he must do a super fantastic job during his first term, and be reelected by a domineering number to a second term, all the while maintaining record popularity numbers. Electability is the bottom line. Granted this is what politics is all about. The question arises, to what degree does a politician manipulate his constituent’s opinions to get what he wants?

After a very long, very hard fought political fight in Washington, which consumed all of Congress’s holiday vacation time, Fiscal Cliff compromises where finally eked out after many hours of exhausting negotiation. I appreciate it, and hope we all do.

Unlike the president, congress did not fly out to Hawaii with their families. I am not discussing the merits of vacation time for congress, but rather the current mood. After all, congressional representatives are human too. Therefore, it is no shock that after such a huge partisan congressional feud, Speaker of the House Boehner would push off immediate upcoming votes- even as important as Sandy aid; especially since a new congress was actually being sworn in to office within a few days, and the deal was already worked out and the votes needed are there.

I actually agreed with Speaker Boehner’s decision to push off the voting. Everybody should have a chance to breath, and the vote can happen when one-and-all is well rested; this, signs of a healthy, thought out congressional leader. No one is dying, and the Sandy Relief Bill would come through.

Governor Christie’s reaction to the delayed vote however gave me reason to pause.

Of course, everybody wants his or her fair share of Government money. Governor Christie campaigned hard for it in Washington during November and wants to see it happen already, I understand that. I also understand that Governor Christie is up for reelection next year, a reelection that requires an extra stellar performance if he is to have a fair shot at the 2016 presidential nomination. Remember, Jeb Bush speaks better Spanish. The quicker the Governor has his money, the quicker his reelection base starts to develop; I understand that too- each dollar is another vote- simple.

I can just envision the Governor’s response to that, in his trademark, fierce outspoken way: “This is about New Jersey. Simple. And to go-ahead and say this has anything to do with me is crazy, and the fellow should have his head examined. This is not about politics- that’s nuts.” Etc… Or something to that effect. I would not be surprised if the Governor would just use that statement. Be this all as it may, it is politics, and while yes it is about New Jersey, it is also very much about Chris Christie and his political ambitions.

Governor Christie compared Speaker Boehner’s lack of action to some chess game where we, the citizens are mere pawns of the political system. Governor Christie said in an interview today that he had called Speaker Boehner four times after 11:20pm, and the Speaker did not take his calls. The governor also stated that he did not receive and adequate response. Mr. Governor, I believe that Speaker of the House Boehner’s silence, is the most esteemed response you deserve.

I for one if truth were told would not take a phone call from the governor after 11:20pm, and would be very annoyed if he continued calling, especially if CNN isn’t broadcasting a meltdown in Trenton. Besides, after the exhausting past few days that the Speaker of the House had had, he in all probability did not have CNN on, and was probably soaking in a tub with a tonic. The Speaker’s job is a big one. You try managing a voting organization with 434 other members- and one crank Governor calling you after 11:20pm at night. This to me made our dear Governor Christie seem a bit like Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean after he lost the 2004 Iowa caucus, or somewhat like a more adept Newt Gingrich, but not very presidential.

In truth, Governor Christie should call Speaker of the House Boehner at a normal time and apologize for his behavior. A Presidential contender needs to know how to be diplomatic as well.

So, the political world continues to spin, Governor Christie continues his quest for an amazing reelection campaign, and I wish him all the best. Naturally I like you will continue to keep an ever-watchful eye on Mr. Christie; afterall he did label both you and I as political pawns. I don’t want to be a politician’s pawn, not by politicians in Washington, (which by the way I don’t feel like, regardless of when they vote on the Sandy Relief Bill,) and not by Governor Christie, which I now do begin to feel like.

Oh, I just realized, could Speaker of the House Boehner be on the short Republican list of 2016 presidential contenders along with Jeb Bush? Absolutely- and he does a fantastic job as Speaker- without carrying out political theater or calling other tired government officials after 11:20pm to make a point; at least not that I know of. Wow, Governor, your tirade against the Speaker of the House just sparked a whole another idea, too bad the article is complete.


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  1. Right on, nothing. Mitt romney should stop blaming everything under the sun for his loss. He blames Christie, he blames Sandy, ect. It is no one’s fault but his….

  2. If “Governor Christie is a brilliant mind . . . legally,” then I invite him to answer questions that I asked in a paper I wrote concerning political corruption.

    United States Attorney Christy indicted State Senator Bryant and the dean of the School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) in Stratford NJ for securing a job at SOM for which the senator “did little or no legitimate and meaningful work. . . .” (US v. Bryant and Gallagher, p. 26 of the indictment). The indictment charged that the senator was “to protect the interests of SOM against the recommendations of the Vagelos Commission.” (id. at 8).

    But same senator also had a second teaching job for which he did little or nothing at Rutgers Law in Camden, which received at grant of $11 million from the state for a new building the year the senator was hired. No indictment in the second case. In both cases, the senator pushed for the job.

    Question: where is the line drawn? How much work justifies a job when a politician is essentially hired for his influence?

  3. Not sure about Romney. Christie did sell him out. I agree, he is a masterful political operative that is using his agenda as governor to springboard his ambitions. We are pawns.

  4. So Boehner telling the Senate Majority leader to (moderated) (twice) outside the oval office is the type behavior we want to see from our Spear of the House, or (gulp) potential President? No thanks. It’s scares me to think that Boehner is already two heartbeats away from the presidency. I certainly would never vote for him.

  5. I disagree with you 100%!!

    Even if Christie had ulterior motives by going on a tirade against Boehner and congress in general, the facts remains the same:
    1 – NJ and NY got slammed and is now in need of billions in aid.
    2 – Boehner/Congress messed up and pushed the aid to the side.
    3 – Christie, as the governor of this great state has the right to stand up and say it like it is.

    Dont say that normal diplomatic procedures were not used, because they were. Rep. King from NY said that Eric Cantor told him prior to the proposed vote that it will definetely be on the floor. And it wasnt!!

    If I had to take a guess, Aron Joseph was not significantly impacted be Sandy. By making those comments, Christe, as the CEO of this state showed that he is there for NJ. No matter what his intentions were.

    If I had to guess you probably have intentions of running for some political postion in the future as well, which is why you write articles about politics on this site. Is there something wrong with that? No, but as long as you actually do good like Christie.

  6. Aaron, you clearly are not one of the TENS OF THOUSANDS who are still suffering immense from Sandy. Also you, apparently, did not go to volunteer in the disaster area either. If you were (or did) then you’d understand the urgent need of expedience. Having failed the two litmus tests mentioned dusqualifies you from judging.

    Second, the only reason the speaker would have been fatigued is due to his total mismanagement of the debt ceiling raise and fiscal cliff negotiations. Had he accepted the “grand bargain” that Barack offered during negotiations of the former, we’ed have had 4 trillion in deficit relief a year ago, instead he sold that out in exchange of preserving tax rates for the 250k -450k bracket and took it down to the wire in the process.

    Christie did (in both occasions) the right thing. He did what was necessary and right even though his team and leader chose the wrong path. That is the quality the us needs in its leaders, and is very much lacking.

  7. Avi your knock on our governer is astounding!! I can gurrantee you that if your house was destroyed you would be calling the insurance company 24 hours around the closck to make sure that its taken care of. He is looking out for all the residents of this great state. How dare you attack him. And Speaker Boehner so called earned vacation, he is speaker of the house and if a Governer calls you in the middle of the night you answer it!!

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