When he's not losing federal education dollars or canceling valuable transportation projects, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is busy building his reputation on YouTube. Every one of Christie's public meetings is filmed by a loyal staffer, with the highlights plucked out for viewing pleasure. As for the content, most highlights consist of Christie handling questioners with aggressive pushback, regardless of actual provocation. Conservatives love them -- and have made him a video star -- but some New Jerseyans are tired of the bullying. Here is the New Jersey Star-Ledger:
The latest display of contempt for anyone who disagrees with him was on display at a town hall meeting Friday in Parsippany.
Keith Chaudruc, of Madison, asked the governor how he could sign off on a tax cut for the rich while lunch-pail stiffs were hit with painful increases like transit fare hikes. After some give and take, Christie invited Chaudruc to the stage for “a conversation.”
Chaudruc, reluctant to be part of another Christie YouTube moment, was escorted to the stage by a state trooper. Chaudruc never got another word in. Twice Chaudruc’s size, Christie crowded his personal space, raised his voice and lectured him on economics with a wagging finger. Each time Chaudruc tried to make a point, Christie cut him off.
When Christie finished, Chaudruc motioned for the microphone. This was, after all, a “conversation.” Christie shooed him away and a trooper herded Chaudruc off stage.
And here is the performance in question:
My guess is that angry progressives would like a Christie-esque Obama, who mocks conservatives and tells Republicans how it really is. That's understandable -- and it would be fun -- but we should remember that everything comes with a cost. Christie's brash persona has brought him national attention, but it's also alienated allies and harmed his agenda. As Christie continues to struggle with the New Jersey Legislature, I can't help but wonder if conciliatory rhetoric is the price you pay for the policies you want.
-- Jamelle Bouie