I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chris Christie: He's REALLY a great guy!

I find this op-ed by Steve Goldstein of of Garden State Equity to be a rather... interesting... peek into the mind of Chris Christie:

Now let me say something that may surprise many of you.  I don't write this as a hater of Chris Christie.  On a personal level, far from it.  Given my progressive politics and leadership of the state's LGBT civil rights organization, you might not believe I could have any nice words for the Governor.  But I do, and I want the Governor to know it.  Behind the scenes, he and his Administration have treated my organization with respect and even kindness. 
             Indeed, Governor Christie was fantastic on the anti-bullying law he signed in January.  A couple of weeks earlier, he asked to see me, and did, in a meeting that lasted the better part of an hour.  He was as knowledgeable and open as any other Governor I've worked with.   
             Frankly, I wasn't sure why Governor Christie wanted to meet me.  Apart from my own differences with the NJEA emanating from how it deals with others – which predated this Governor – I am a passionate supporter of unions, including public unions.  I think the world of the Communications Workers of America, for instance, who do a world of public good.
             And let's face it, the LGBT community isn't part of his political base.  That made it the Governor's engaging with me even more impressive.  He has no political reason to do so.  But he made clear he respects my community as an important constituency within the diverse mosaic of New Jersey, and he asked his staff to work with us where possible. 
             Before and after that, they sure have.  What I respect about this Administration is this:   We may not always agree, but yes is yes, no is no, and I'll get back to you soon means they get back to you soon.  By the way, I just stated publicly what some Democratic officials have stated privately. 
             The Governor and I said flat-out we'd never agree on marriage equality.  But we also agreed there would be no reason we couldn't work together on other issues for the betterment of New Jersey.  Thus I've come to appreciate the Governor as different from than the caricature he's portrayed to be.
Goldstein's piece comes on the heels of this from one of my fantastic commenters (much love, posters!):
I work in a district where a meeting was held. He talked with teachers from the district about our concerns "on the ground." It was reported there were issues brought to his attention by these teachers he had not considered. He also pressed some of his reform points. He was civil, polite and respectful. I think that's why he did not want the press there. He is secretly being nice to teachers. Wouldn't play well with the press and his carefully cultivated image. There weren't any administrators because he wanted them to beable to speak freely about their issues without fear of disiplinary actions form the district.
How do we reconcile this with Chris the Bully, smacking down teachers, "taking the bat" to 76-year-olds, cutting his own people off at the knees because they work with the enemy, and all sorts of other petty nonsense?

I can't get into the man's head (thank the lord), but he certainly wouldn't be the first Republican who was caring and kind in person and a massive tool in public. He may also suffer from that peculiar conservative malady where there is no sympathy but plenty of empathy: they support gay rights when they have a gay family member, or cancer research when a loved one suffers, but have little interest if they or their families are not affected.

At the end of the day, how Chris Christie behaves in private really isn't very important. He may be very nice to Steve Goldstein, but he will never, ever, ever support ME. I won't presume to speak for the GLBTQ community, but it seems to me that's THE central issue for this constituency in New Jersey. If he won't support it, why support him, no matter how nice and polite he is in private?

Same for teachers. He is proposing to radically reduce our pay, our benefits, and our job protections. It's fine that he's a nice guy in private, but I really don't care. I'd take a narcissistic jerk who supports teachers over a great guy who decimates my profession any day.

One more thing: Steve, I can guarantee you Christie knew about your troubles with NJEA. Don't you think that might have had something to do with why he worked with you?


Anonymous said...

You are exactly right Jazzman. In a recent Twitter exchange with a teacher who disagreed with him he immediately offered up his phone number and a meeting when the teacher said she wasn't a fan of NJEA. It's pathological.

calugg said...

Yes, Christie might be very nice in private, but that is precisely the problem. In public, he his thuggish, and it is his public persona that counts.

BTW: Reagan was known to be extraordinarily generous in private. For example, while he was busily slashing aid to seniors in the 1980s, he was supposedly supporting one of his old WHO radio colleagues in her later years of ill-health and decline. This was fairly common knowledge in Des Moines (where I was living at the time). My friends and I were just astounded at the hypocrisy, for if this elderly woman had not have had Reagan as an old friend, well....*SIGH!*

Reagan and Christie: Government is of, by, and for cronies.

My question for Mr. Goldstein is how will your reconcile "nice Christie" when he starts trotting out all of the anti-queer rhetoric for campaign 2013? (And he did this in 2009).

Duke said...

Anon, I saw that, and it's a really good point. He's clearly looking for teachers who will bad mouth the union.

Prof Lugg, it will be far, far worse if he's tapped to be VP. His dog whistle will be blowing.