Home > Uncategorized > Chris Christie and Donald Trump: Peas in a Pod Who Want to “Run Government Like a Business”

Chris Christie and Donald Trump: Peas in a Pod Who Want to “Run Government Like a Business”

July 5, 2017

Frank Bruni, an unabashed champion of the so called “school reform” movement, wrote a scathing column about NJ governor Chris Christie. Governor Christie latest outrage was appearing on the beach with his family on an outing at a State Park that was closed because he was unwilling to compromise on a budget. After offering several analogies between Mr. Christie’s behavior and that of President Trump, Mr. Bruni concludes his column with this:

When Christie was asked whether, despite a shutdown of the state government, he would steal away to the manse on the shore that’s a perk of his office, he unabashedly answered yes.

“That’s just the way it goes,” he said. “Run for governor, and you can have a residence.”

Translation: I’m governor and you’re not. Where have we heard a formulation like that before?

Trump and Christie somehow decided that you have to govern by middle finger if you want to avoid governing by pinkie finger. But there’s a digit in between: a middle ground. It’s where real leadership and true effectiveness lie.

Christie’s disrepute and dashed ambitions confirm as much. So does the ongoing insult of Trump’s presidency. They show that if you embrace a politician who talks too frequently and proudly about not caring what anyone thinks, you’ll wind up in the clutch of a politician whose last refuge is not caring what anyone thinks. That’s a dangerous place to be.

Mr. Christie’s “governing by middle finger” has been most apparent in his treatment of those who dedicated their life to public service, most notably public school teachers. Instead of addressing the root problems of education funding in his state— underfunded pensions and inequitable funding formulas, he launched a campaign to demonize unions, denigrate classroom teachers as greedy and lazy, and stoke the resentment against teachers whose wages and benefits remained constant while other middle class workers saw theirs hollowed out when the economy tanked in 2009.

The Times editors have been complicit in Mr. Christie’s demonization of public school employees. By championing his “reforms” like the expansion of privatized charter schools and echoing his criticism about the intransigence of teacher unions, the Times made it appear that Mr. Christie was intent on improving public education. As Mr. Christie completes his second term, it should now clear that he had no intention to “fix” schools: his only goal from the outset was to lower the costs of public education and thereby lower the taxes on those with the greatest wealth… and he was willing demean hard-working teachers and limit funds for children raised in poverty to accomplish that goal.

Mr. Christie and Mr. Trump not only share outsized egos and arrogant behavior. They share a common agenda: they want to limit democracy by turning government over to private enterprise…. and by reporting on their outrageous arrogance, the media is not focussing enough on their agenda… and THAT is a very dangerous place to be if we want to sustain our democratic institutions.

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