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

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chris Christie: Massive, Divisive Hypocrite

This week, Newark's teachers ratified a controversial contract that includes merit pay. As usual, Governor Chris Christie decided to take his victory lap on MSNBC's Morning Joe, where he is regularly showered with praise and insulated from any criticism whatsoever. Christie is nationally known as one of the biggest teachers union bashers in the country, which made the segment even more strange, as he was joined in praising the Newark deal by American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten.

The 12-munite segment deserves a close look, which I'm going to divide up into several posts. But let's start with something that needs to be pointed out immediately:

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Yes, that's right: Chris Christie says, "You can't expect to be the leader of all the people and be divisive."

April, 2010, CNBC:
“I love the public schools but the fact of the matter is there is excess and greed there,” said Christie, during an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box. [That's in the "public schools," not the union offices - JJ]
July, 2010, MSNBC:
The state teachers union said--they had a rally in Trenton against me. 35,000 people came from the teachers. You know what that rally was? The "me first" rally. "Pay me my raise first. Pay me my free health benefits first. Pay me my pension first. And everybody else in New Jersey, get to the back of the line." Well, you know what? I'm not going to sit by and allow that to go unnoticed, so we'll shine a bright light on it, and we'll see how the people react. But I think we are seeing how the people of New Jersey are reacting, and that's how you make it politically palatable in other states in the country. Just shine a bright light on greed and self-interest.
April, 2010, The Star-Ledger:
 "Scaring students in the classroom, scaring parents with the notes home in the bookbags, and the mandatory 'Project Democracy Homework' asking your parents about what they're going to do in the school board election, and reporting back to your teachers union representatives, using the students like drug mules to carry information back to the classroom, is reprehensible."
November, 2010, The Trentonian:
“These teachers have all summer off. Can’t they have their convention during the summer?’’ the governor said as he spoke to a clutch of high schoolers surrounding him.

“They got to get two days off from school because, you know, they don’t get enough time off now, right? They get two weeks off at Christmas, they get all the different holidays, then they get all the summer off and now they need two more days.

“Why do you think that is? Do you think If they cared about learning where would they be today?’’

Ashley Batts, 16, a Trenton Central High School sophomore answered “in school.’’

“That’s right, in school, baby, they would not be down there in Atlantic City having a party — because that’s what it is.’’ [Does everyone understand that the Governor of New Jersey told a group of students that their teachers do not care about learning? Does everyone think that's acceptable? - JJ]
May, 2010, Politico:
The teacher responded by saying that she has a master’s degree and that her current salary isn’t compensating her for the value of her higher education as well as her experience. 
To that, the governor responded: “Well, you know then that you don’t have to do it.”
 March, 2010, Blue Jersey, quoting Christie directly:
"Teachers who crowded the statehouse on Monday to try to intimidate public officials like Assemblyman Schroeder and Assemblywoman Vandervalk into not voting for pension and benefit reform.
"And when one teacher was asked, "What are you doing here today? It's a Monday in the school year." She said, 'Oh, we got a substitute. I left a plan; it's not like they're watching videos or something.' 
"They. 'Not like they're watching videos or something.' I thought that was a really interesting part of the quote. That contraction: 'they're.' They didn't say 'the kids' then, did they? No, they only use the words 'the kids' when they want to evoke an emotional response from you which will get you to open your wallet and pay them. 
"When they're talking about protesting and fighting in Trenton, then it's 'they're.' 'They're watching videos or something.' I thought that was an interesting part of the quote. Language matters, ladies and gentlemen. Language is a window into attitude. And this isn't about the kids. So let's dispense with that portion of the argument. 
"And I have heard these stories over the last week, over and over again from all over New Jersey about teachers standing in front of classrooms, and lying about and excoriating the governor and the lieutenant governor." [This one is my personal favorite. He is criticizing a teacher for using a pronoun to describe her students. So, every time you hear Chris Christie use a pronoun to describe kids - or seniors, or taxpayers, or police, or the military, or whomever - understand that, by his definition, that's an insult. - JJ]

Oh, there's more:
But Christie called Giordano’s comment outrageous and said if Giordano didn’t resign, Barbara Keshishian, president of the education association, should fire him.
"I cannot express how disgusted I am by that statement by the head of the largest teachers union in our state," he said at a press conference in Westfield, "but I also have to tell you I’m not the least bit surprised because I think it so succinctly captures what their real position is."
Then the governor took a personal swipe: "As Vince drives out of the palace on State Street in his big luxury car and his $500,000 salary. I’m sure life’s really fair for him, and if Vince’s kids were in a failing school district he could afford to send them to any school in New Jersey that could help them succeed."
Christie told reporters today in Trenton that the NJEA’s record spending “comes as no shock,” and that the union collects more than $100 million in dues each year that goes into a “political slush fund.” Giordano and union President Barbara Keshishian are “abject failures” as leaders, Christie said.
“I feel badly for teachers who pay their dues every year in order to have that kind of garbage put on the air,” said Christie, 49. “There’s a desperate need for change in leadership over there. They should be replaced, but apparently only a palace coup will do that.” 
How about this?
"When you’re governor and you work in the school yard called Trenton, and you see a bunch of people laying on the ground bloodied and one guy standing against the fence with a smug smile on his face, you know that’s the bully," Christie said, speaking about the union leadership.
"You know what you do? You walk up to him with a big smile on your face and you punch him first," Christie said, earning a roar of applause. [emphasis mine]
I've restricted myself only to teachers and their unions so far. How about Christie's problems with strong women who disagree with him?


Or the time he called a Navy SEAL an "idiot"? I could literally do this all day.

Chris Christie is the most divisive governor in America today. No one has done more to demean teachers and their unions than Chris Christie.

Does Randi Weingarten know about this? Perhaps she should. Perhaps she might maybe have a problem with it. Perhaps she might take a moment to tell the governor she doesn't appreciate it when he insults the people who pay her salary, or the leaders of teachers unions.


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