Monday, September 13, 2010

NJ Governor Christie Teaches A Teacher

Over the weekend, I saw several clips of Governor Chris Christie educating a teacher about politics, economics, and a little dignity and decorum thrown in. Christie at a town meeting dutifully listened to the teacher repeating all of the union's talking points while carrying Obama's water on the issue of "middle class" tax cuts.

After listening patiently and respectfully to the nonsense flowing out of this "educator's" mouth, Christie first denied that his office was treating the New Jersey teachers contemptuously or that they were being singled out for sacrifice. Then, the teacher made a big display of laughing like a rabid hyena and shouting back at Christie before he had completed his discussion of what she was claiming. That did it. Christie is that unique thing in politics--a gentleman who is also painfully blunt when courtesy is greeted with rudeness.

Governor Christie is a big man (and I do mean big, both physically and metaphorically). But he does not suffer fools gladly. Give him a respectful argument and he will respond with a respectful rebuttal. Give him crap, and he'll slap you down (verbally, of course). This teacher clearly did not know what she was talking about, but Christie would have let that slide. However, when she pulled the usual leftist nonsense cum boorishness, he let loose. He reminded her that he had patiently listened to her screed, without once laughing, jeering or making a public fool of himself. He expected the same in return, or he would simply not waste his and the audience's time responding to her. I stood up and cheered, and I was alone with the TV.

Politicians today seem to come in two types. Those who blither and blather, pretend to be listening carefully then respond with some pseudo-intellectual drivel that has nothing to do with the discussion at hand (Barack Harvard Obama), or the rude, confrontational type who wants to hear nothing from people who have even the smallest disagreement with him (Snarlin' Arlen Specter). Christie is a breath of fresh air. He speaks clearly, rarely using catchphrases, addresses issues directly and honestly, and leaves nobody wondering where he stands. He's a fine debater, and a very good educator. He's an old-fashioned man who respects the arguments of others, but will not be insulted or demeaned by lesser people.

The source of the teacher's ire is that the governor is also that rare breed who talks about balancing state budgets and universal sacrifice. The state education budget is just one of a multitude of programs that had to be trimmed. But the teachers unions reacted as if he had just shouted fire in a crowded theater full of union thugs. Their stalking-horse repeated the whole "us poor teachers" mantra, including a statement entirely unsupported by fact or reality about New Jersey teachers being among the best and most dedicated in the world. Yeah, right.

Christie's "mistake" was beginning his remarks by very reasonably pointing out that his budget cuts were not singling out the teachers, and that in his earlier remarks he had said nothing indicating that he thought New Jersey teachers were of low quality (though they definitely are). They are among the highest-paid for the poorest results. That brought on the childish and rude behavior from the teacher. Christie didn't even talk about the fact that the only reason New Jersey teachers can claim to be "middle class" is their gross overpayment for such poor results which cuts them off from the "working poor and oppressed unemployed." But the teacher had to say it because Obama has abandoned his earlier "po' folks should eat the rich" strategy and is now talking about a middle-class that just days before was the bourgeoisie whom Marx, Lenin, the teachers unions, and Obamists so clearly hate.

The teachers unions in New Jersey are a barbaric lot by all measurements, but Christie was generous enough to at least give this teacher a chance to behave like an intelligent adult. Like most of her students, she failed. When Christie asked the teachers unions to accept a one year pay freeze (not a pay cut), the union leaders responded by sending out an e-mail to their membership requesting that they pray for Christie's death. I guess he shouldn't have expected much better from one of the members.

But in the long run, it won't be Christie who will be sleeping with the fishes. The left has overplayed its hand time and again. Unions have received very favorable treatment from Democrats at both the state and federal level while at the same time playing a major part in the economic crisis by virtue of their unsustainable and outrageous pay scales and benefits, particularly retirement benefits. It may take awhile to clean out the union Augean stables. Chris Christie is in many ways the New Jersey Hercules who can do just that--and remain a gentleman while doing it.


Tennessee Jed said...

what a great post, hawk! I am a huge fan of the governor. He has a big job and a tough job, but is doing a remarkable job so far. Probably a guy we could use at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: I certainly have him on my "watch list." I don't know if he's had enough time to do what he needs to do before considering the White House. But he's plenty young enough to finish his work in New Jersey without getting into the fray for 2012. Finishing the work he's doing and turning New Jersey from crime-welfare-illiteracy central into a functioning state would certainly give him the credentials he needs for a later run.

Joel Farnham said...


As long as he is in Jersey, he is ok.

On the Islamic question,he is in favor of the Ground Zero Mosque. On backing a RINO or a conservative he backed a RINO.

He has the right rhetoric, but sometimes he makes these mistakes which make me pause. I like what he said to the teacher. I don't like that he thinks Ground Zero Mosque is a dandy idea. Nor do I like that he backed Castle over Odonnel.

AndrewPrice said...

I've liked a lot of what I've seen with him, but I share Joel's concerns about him. I understand that no politician is perfect, but he never needed to wade into the Delaware issue, and when he did... he chose the wrong side.

I don't know what to make of him at this point. But even more, I (like you) don't believe in easy answers and instant gratification. If he's going to lead us one day, then he needs to earn it. We need to stop looking at politicians who've done half of their first job and saying, "that's the one." Instead, we need to start looking for people like Reagan, people who have spent many years showing that they can lead by applying conservatives principles and that they can win over both the right and the center without compromising their fundamental beliefs.

Could Christie be that guy? At some point maybe. He's done some very promising things. But he's not there yet. So we watch and we wait.

Unknown said...

Joel: I will of course have a problem with anyone who supports the mosque at Ground Zero. I'd really have to hear his reasoning. Though I disagree with any argument in favor of the mosque, some are at least legitimate and well-meaning if misguided.

On the other hand, RINOs are in the eye of the beholder. I'm afraid I've seen too many Republicans described as RINOs when they are merely less conservative than I would like. As much as I admire the Tea Party, too many of its members automatically divide the political world into "real Republicans" and RINOs. There are multiple shadings in-between, and as I've indicated many times in the past, I'm less concerned with purity tests than I am with getting the more conservative candidate elected even when he's to the left of me (which very many are).

Unknown said...

Andrew: I'm with you. Patience is a virtue that is rapidly evaporating, and I don't like the trend toward jumping on the bandwagon of every apparent conservative who wins election against the odds. Let the Democrats have their messiah, I want a solid, experienced, honest, conservative politician who has withstood the test of time.

Joel Farnham said...


Mike Castle voted FOR cap and trade. One of the eight Republicans to vote for it. To me an easy definition for a RINO is voting for something that doesn't exist (Man-Made global warming) which cripples the economy. He did. Castle => RINO.

It bothers me greatly that Christie didn't check that one little thing out before saying Castle is a good guy. Castle has been in one elected office or another since 1981. That is 29 years. He has been in Congress since 1993. I think it is time for him to go. Christie should have been aware of that before endorsing him.

Unknown said...

Joel: I was cautioning about labeling everyone to our left (which is 90% of America) as RINOs, and I wasn't specifically referring to Castle. He certainly isn't my cup of tea, but as I've mentioned many times in the past, conservative principles are the most important factor for any candidate I'll back.

That said, in practical politics, it's also important to win. It's easier for a liberal Republican to vote to the left when the "D" column largely outnumbers the "R" column in the caucus totals.

I can't speak for Christie, but the polls I've seen put O'Donnell behind in the primary, and a dead-bang loser if she's the candidate against the Democrat. She might win in the district where you are, and I'm sure she'd win the district where I am now. But the only important place for her to win is where she is. So if Christie picked Castle because he has the far better chance of winning, I can fully understand (even if I might think differently).

I also might have a different opinion if I thought Cap 'n Tax would actually succeed in the Senate--even a lame duck Senate. After Obamacare, I think that's just a bridge too far, even for angry, vengeful Democrats.

StanH said...

I like Christie! I’ve seen him in verbal combat with union goons on several occasions and it’s great fun. I love it when he reminds the teachers (union goon) that they can find employment elsewhere, good stuff.

Unknown said...

Stan: We don't want to suggest that they find a job elsewhere. For one thing, they can't do anything useful, that's why they're union teachers. And even California isn't so desperate that it would want to hire teachers like New Jersey's. And at least our bad teachers are bilingual, or they wouldn't have been hired at all.

Writer X said...

I hope Christie runs for President some day. I saw this video. The woman behaved like an idiot. It showed the lunacy of teachers' unions and just how out of touch they are. I'd give her a big fat F.

Unknown said...

WriterX: I couldn't agree more. Apparently, the only things the New Jersey union teachers are passing on to their students are bad manners and robot thinking (if it can be called "thinking" at all).

Melissa Amateis said...

I went to YouTube and watched the video. I LOVE THIS GUY. We need more just like him.

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