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What is it about Chris Christie? The benefits of creating a common foe

What is it about Chris Christie? The New Jersey governor is everywhere these days. At the American Enterprise Institute. On Face the Nation. On the cover of the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

The sharp-talking former prosecutor is known for being blunt; for having a "who cares what they think" swagger and saying what others won't. Much of his appeal is undoubtedly due to his plain-spoken style, which gives him the rare ability to make complex and dull topics like pensions and budget deficits not only simple but captivating.

But his real skill, the Times' Matt Bai argues, is not just the bluntness or the bluster. What he's really been able to do is rally his followers' frustration around "the ideal adversary for this moment of economic vertigo": public-sector employee unions. Even if the problems of dealing with the pensions and benefits of the public-sector workforce are a critical budget issue of our times, and even if Christie's ire is focused on the unions rather than their members, he knowingly or unknowingly is deploying one of the oldest methods of leadership persuasion around. He's giving "an uneasy public," Bai writes, "the scapegoat it demands."

Like immigrants amid the outsourcing debate or Wall Street bankers during the financial crisis, leaders have long pointed to a group of people to whom the public might direct its anger. Many without jobs are surely watching the public sector's more stable employment with increasing dismay. And many in the private sector who have managed to stay employed have seen their salaries, health-care benefits and pensions get whittled away, if not become a relic of the past. Public-sector employees may be the perfect foil for many American workers living out this economy's long unemployment nightmare.

Or they may not. Recent Gallup polls show that many voters aren't taking the bait. Among respondents who make $60,000 to $89,000, for instance, 53 percent oppose Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's attempts to effectively end collective bargaining rights for some public-sector employee unions. The numbers are even higher in lower income brackets.

Still, it's working well enough that Christie has had success, not only with the political battles he's won but in the court of public opinion, too. The Times reports that only 27 percent of New Jersey voters have a favorable view of the teachers' union, with whom Christie has fought vociferously. Christie, meanwhile, has an approval rating above 50 percent. And he's quickly becoming the poster boy for a growing club of governors looking to make similarly big changes to the public-sector workforce.

Christie would likely say that he is only speaking the hard truths about the future of his state and what must be done to get costs under control. But a big reason why his message works so well is that he's found another adversary for voters fretting over their finances. And all the swagger and simple speech in the world isn't quite as powerful as a common foe.

By Jena McGregor

 |  February 28, 2011; 10:38 AM ET |  Category:  Change management , Economic crisis , Government leadership , Public leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Many of those posting comments critical of Gov. Christie have elected to ignore President Obama's call for civility. Calling him a "lard butt" or a pig or taking quotes from Hitler and saying they represent his views fall well outside Obama's call for civility. Unfortunately, while those right of center were perceived to be the main cause of the call for civility, the problem exists on those left of center as well.

One person said the problem could be solved by more taxes on millionaires. Well, his predecessor was a Dem with a Dem dominated legislature, so why didn't the Dems raise that tax? Oh, he was a multi-millionaire who made his money on Wall Street. I mention this to point out the lack of any serious consideration -- views tend to be based on previously held beliefs rather than citical analysis. The assumption that Dem pols are not rich is wrong - just ask Kerry while he's tying up his boat in RI to avoid taxes in MA. Think that there should be fairly high estate taxes? Ask the Kennedys what that would do to them? Repubs have their own consistency issues -- these who say they have strong Christian beliefs should be asked to reconcile support of wealth with the observation that it's easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven.

I begin to despair of reasoned discussion. Too many citizens fail to outgrow grade school name calling and substitute immature behavior for honest debate. Little in comments I see would ever be mistaken for the Federalist papers, Lincoln's speeches, or Jefferson's writings.

Posted by: RichardCollins | March 11, 2011 8:28 PM

The problem with attacking unions because one believes that the workers feel self-entitled makes precious little sense. If you want to talk entitlement, let us begin with the corporate King George's of our time.

It is the extremely wealthy who feel entitled to ever more excess while failing to contribute to society in a meaningful way. There is no excuse to shove off more fiscal responsibility to taxpayers who already bear the heaviest burden.

This is a typical GOP tactic where someone loud is playing on the fears of an already anxious and tax-weary public. The GOP is trying to sell the public the idea that public sector unions are corrupt and evil. That the unions are stealing food from the mouths of your family and friends while robbing you of resources because the unions feel "entitled".

The truth is you will find corruption, big or small, wherever you have a large organization, unions included. This does not mean, however, that collective bargaining rights are innately corrupt. Having an attitude of "it is not fair that someone else has more than I do", directed at union employees is unfair when you consider just how much more corporations are making than anyone else.

It would be understandable if the frustration was something a little more like the threat of a football strike, where you see greedy owners fighting with greedy players. However, we are talking about tax-paying members of our community who serve their community, for a considerable amount of time, providing education and safety. What, I have to ask, does the average corporation give back to the community other than displacing what should be their fair share of fiscal responsibility to the backs of decent, hard working, tax-paying Americans.

Talk about a sense of entitlement...

Posted by: commonborn | March 8, 2011 5:28 AM

Recent Gallup polls show that many voters aren't taking the bait. Many voters? You mean the 1000 that were polled out of the 300 million population? Those 1000? I am 53 years old and never once in my life have I been polled for anything. Polls are nothing more than manipulating devices used to lead people around by the rings in their noses and the main stream liberal media loves them!

Posted by: B6sAngel | March 3, 2011 7:01 PM

Go ahead and quit paying those snowplow operators overtime and hire people at minimum wage.

Who's going to show up at midnight two days before Christmas to plow the roads so you can shop and go see Grandma? Who is going to get up at 3:00 AM to patch a water main? Your new hires?

Posted by: BurfordHolly | March 2, 2011 12:30 AM

Let's not forget that NJ's budget crisis could have been handled more expediently by another 1-2% tax on NJ residents with incomes above $1,000,000 - but that's not on the Cristie Republican agenda. By refusing this tax he made the budget crisis worse, providing an excuse to go after our police, firefighters and teachers. Let's see: poor police protection, poor fire protection, bad schools, low wages, no pensions, very little health care - sounds like the beginning of the industrial revolution where most of the population was too poor, uneducated and scared to object to the oppression of the wealthy.

Let's also not forget Cristie's hubris, as reflected in his forcing a rewrite of the education grant one day before it was due, that cost NJ a $400,000,000 federal education grant. This man may be blunt and plain spoken, but his agenda is hidden and nasty and he is disingenuous at best.

Unions need to negotiate and become more realistic, but Cristie does not negotiate - he acts like a mafia boss and strong arms his opponents while hoping to blow them away. Do not let yourself be taken in by this monster. His agenda is not power to the people, but power to the wealthy few...fascism anybody?

Posted by: drmikeb1000 | March 1, 2011 9:47 PM

Gov. Christie has found that he enjoys demagogery and bambozling the prols. He has the misfortune to be the captain of a state circling the drain. Let him rant and wave his porkchops. He will have an abbreviated political shelf life.

Posted by: roboturkey | March 1, 2011 7:29 PM

Public sector unions are the biggest scam of the American taxpayer. Boggles the mind at the entitlement - a pension? - really?? full paid health care benefits?? How many days off?? The rest of the world is working 24-7 (not all of us are Wall Street). If we don't perform, we get fired. Unions tie the hands of effective managment. Unions served a purpose a long time ago to improve horrible work conditions. Now unions serve as a lack of incentive for any union employee to work harder as well as a lack of recognition/higher pay for those that do exceedingly well. Socialism fails work when you run out of other peoples' money.

Posted by: mariaestavez | March 1, 2011 4:37 PM

Christie is the new GOP darling because, well, the Republican Party is not exactly deep with talent. He's plain-spoken, without baggage that we know of, and without much of a record to examine. Give him time. The Tea Partiers will destroy him soon enough.

Posted by: wmorgan3 | March 1, 2011 4:32 PM

The republican attack on schools seems to be the main agenda in the labor laws being presented in many states. It is most important to point out that education is dominated by women. Where as, police and other service oriented professions were exempt from the republican governor's planned attack on the American worker. These professions are male dominated. I am pulling the sexism card. Women still earn 29 cents per dollar less than men in the same positions in America. No matter how it is dressed up, the republicans are attacking women. On issues of health funding, wages and politics the male dominated paradigm is firmly being stroked by the republican party in America. To this I would say grow up republicans and start to live in 2011. Because the republican party is looking more and more out of touch daily.

Posted by: vvvvirgniainc | March 1, 2011 2:51 PM

Chris Christie is Mafia grown entity....check your Jwesey history concerning him...

Posted by: lindarc | March 1, 2011 12:38 PM

Chris Christie,is Mafia grown....check your history....he hides it well

Posted by: lindarc | March 1, 2011 12:08 PM

I guess this means that you are a leader if you get a lot of press, and get people talking about you. Does that mean Charlie Sheen exemplifies leadership?

Posted by: dc1955 | March 1, 2011 11:35 AM

you still have a revenue problem governor.

teachers pay a higher %age of the earnings in taxes than stockbrokers and executives earning 10 - 100 times a teacher's salary.

deal with the tax code.

you have a morality problem governor.

every public construction project in the state, now and for the past 80 years, has built in cost overruns and bribe money tacked on. not one project gets built in NJ without bribing politicians and construction officials - NOT ONE!

Posted by: boblesch | March 1, 2011 11:04 AM

Christie is the current mancrush of the mainstream media. McCain broke your hearts when he self-destructed in 2008 (although that doesn't keep him off the Sunday chat shows. You've been searching for someone new and there's nothing like a blustery Republican who isn't a complete rightwing charicature. Given that a failure like Gingrich can be treated as the Oracle of Delphi and cartoonish corporate shill/racist like Haley Barbour can be seen as respectable, the bar is pretty low for these mancrushes and can include the most loathsome characters imaginable.

Perhaps if Christie had led with his Christmas arrogance, you guys would have balked off. Although the coverage of Wisconsin still seems to ignore things like state employees fully paying their pension contributions, you guys seem to have started losing your love for Walker.

Posted by: thebuckguy | March 1, 2011 10:42 AM

Appearing at the AEP and on the cover of NYTimes magazine is not the same as being everywhere and being listened to. Christie is just another corporate shill operating as a politician who naturally gets good press from those powers that need a pit bull at their side to attack the working people who do the real work in New Jersey and every other state. As long as the press cooperates by pointing the finger at the workers, the truly greedy that have set up the tax system so they pay at a rate lower than the average citizen, people will think that a working person is the reason for the economic crisis, when the real culprits are the super wealthy.

Posted by: rjacobs1 | March 1, 2011 10:12 AM

Christie sounds like a good prospect for president in 2012....More power to him!

Posted by: SeniorVet | March 1, 2011 10:06 AM

Christie's approval ratings in NJ are below Obama's. So what's the big deal? This is typical corporate media stuff: Invent a phenomenon out of nothing and then make up "reasons" to "explain" it.

Posted by: dougmuder | March 1, 2011 10:00 AM

At a table sit a CEO, a unionized public employee, and a Tea Party member. In front of them are 12 cookies. The CEO grabs 11 of the cookies then looks at the Tea Party member and says "better watch out for that union guy, he's looking to take your cookie.

Posted by: JKJ88 | March 1, 2011 9:57 AM

Christie reminds me of a used car salesman who hasn't had a good deal in a while

Posted by: fairness3 | March 1, 2011 9:56 AM

Well, judging by some of the comments, he really gets under liberals' skin!

Posted by: wmpowellfan | March 1, 2011 9:48 AM

He's Fat and Ugly. The Lard Butt should blame the real culprits on Wall Street who stole everybody's pensions through stock manipulation.

Posted by: Regeman | March 1, 2011 9:44 AM

The King of Queens is new to the scene....it's human nature to warm up to the new guy until his warts apppear.

Posted by: wc1123 | March 1, 2011 9:35 AM

Because he's the antithesis of Obama. Get used to it Lefties, Chris Christie will be in the next administration.

Posted by: underthesea2 | March 1, 2011 9:23 AM

no doubt much of Christie's visibility and popularity is due to the adversaries he has targeted to date. But, I believe there is another fundamental reason why he has attained so much positive awareness so quickly: he is the modern day anti-politician.

Christie is a bit of a blowhard but comes across as blowing hard against widely accepted opinions; that, at least in his state, public unions have been able to negotiated wages and benefits superior to the private sector, that public employees are relatively immune to the pain and suffering of the private sector and that union leadership has adopted an attitude that more is always the mantra regardless of circumstances on the ground. Proof of my theisis is that in New Jersey where Democrats outnumber Republican 60/40 the actions he has taken to rein in spending are favored by 55% of the electorate and that number is rising.

But, there is something else no one is willing to admit: in interviews and speeches this guy is both disarming and charming; maybe it is because he is fat and knows it and doesn't make any excuses for it; or maybe it is because approximately half of the audience he is talking to is just like him.

Point is never underestimate the power of empathy to persuade and convince. So far the political and media establishment which is oriented to pre-packaged and poll tested candidate have not yet figured that out. Continue to do so and they might wake up one morning with a President no one believed had a chance at being elected.

It is obvious Team Obama does not fear the likes of Romney, Palin and Huckabee. Wonder how they will like taking on an opponent who won't sit there and take it and who just might be resonating with the majority of the populationl rather than trying to swim upstream against it?

Posted by: bobfbell | March 1, 2011 8:57 AM

Blah blah blah Chris Christie hype blah blah hype Christie blah blah hype...

Why is Chris Christie getting so much press? Because the craven corporate media needs to keep people riled up, right against left, left against right, so that the real villains who are absconding with what's left if this country can continue to steal unobserved.

Thanks for the circus but I would rather pay attention to what's really going on, the theft of this country by a wealthy few and their corporations. Some call them fascists.

Posted by: greeenmtns | March 1, 2011 8:54 AM

I hate to be petty but the GOP seems to have a longstanding love affair with fat, self admiring, windbags. Check them out, Governor Haley Barbour, Newt (please go away) Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Hucklebee (who surprised everyone by dieting) etc etc. I think the Republicans find chubbiness a charming "good ole boy" trait that can't be ignored. If they're fat, blather incessantly about themselves, and can't ignore a TV camera, they must be great Repubicans.

Posted by: DCsandiego | March 1, 2011 8:46 AM

Another attempt at agit-prop by a Washington Post hack. The "victim card" is played for the public service unions, as the "evil Tea Party Conservatives" try to destroy the proletariate working class.
The truth, which is ignored, is that the wages and benefits for many public sector union controlled (mandatory membership and dues deduction) jobs are quite a bit higher than similar jobs in the private sector. The true victims are the taxpayers. But the Leftist Liberal hacks never let truth get in the way of their agit-prop. If you go to the Gallup site, you will find that the poll in question covers more ground that the clip the columnist quoted. Public opinion does not want to "destroy the working class".
It does want to stop abuse of power by Public Service unions, while maintaining fair treatment for those workers.
That abuse of power could also include Leftist Liberal columnists who distort truth.
The comments by Liberal heads that employ the Saul Alinski "Rules for Radicals" tactic of ridicule, shows the lack of mentality behind the comments.

Posted by: observer1776 | March 1, 2011 8:28 AM

He's popular right now because some bozos in the Press decided it's time to ram him down our throats ad nauseam for awhile.

Posted by: Byrd3 | March 1, 2011 8:22 AM

Nice. Again with the namecalling-- socialist, oink, etc. I'm not defending ideologues OR bloated unions. I consider myself a progressive and we need to acknowledge that our entrenched sense of entitlement has brought about many of our current woes. We're living longer, consuming more, and yes, the SS age should be raised to 67-70 in stages. Our kids are spoiled. We pay 10-20% of what the rest of the world pays for food. The obesity rate is huge, which means many will need extra health care. We rail against the financiers, who've remained largely untouched. And we forget the 40-50 million US citizens who remain mired in poverty, with resources sucked out of their lands and sold to us, the entitled.

Posted by: dmland | March 1, 2011 7:52 AM

pblotto cracks me up...his Dem/Libs have bankrupted the State and now a Repub is trying to clean up the mess and he offers us a warning...pfft...liberals should find another country to belong to...

Posted by: mjandrews8 | March 1, 2011 7:51 AM


He smells like one of us.

Posted by: hipshot | March 1, 2011 7:39 AM

I like Julie Christie and Christie Brinkley. This guy, not so much. Overfed and underloved, but he brings it on himself.

Posted by: bdunn1 | March 1, 2011 7:38 AM

It's because he's FAT.

Everybody loves FAT people.

Look at Rush (Whaletail) Limbaugh.

Posted by: bigmac1810 | March 1, 2011 7:25 AM

Hey, how hard is this to discover?

Christie is a loud-mouthed fat man; he shares the spotlight with Jackie Gleason, Wallace Beery, Ollie Hardy, etc. This type is a magnet for the yokels, among whom I would include the sappy, uncritical mainstream media and other fat, headline hogs like Rush and Glenn.

Posted by: mini2 | March 1, 2011 7:22 AM

Before all the Federal reform on spending Congress should take the first step and place all federal retirement at the same limitations as Social Security. If they change the age of SS, then the age on federal reitrement should be at that age. Since the federal government is bankrupt all currrent retirements and double dippers should be re-evaluated for need and age. After they save the Trillions involved here, then then can tackle thos big spenders at NPR.

Posted by: mcpd1 | March 1, 2011 6:28 AM

Someone told me he is Snookies father. I wonder if thats true?

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | March 1, 2011 5:41 AM

O I N K

Posted by: eaglehawkaroundsince1937 | March 1, 2011 4:23 AM

Could Christie be a possible GOP Presidential Contender? The Repubs badly need somebody viable to challenge Obama. I think if he could lose at least 50 lbs. and tone down the rhetoric of union busting, he might have a chance, if this is what he wants. Otherwise, he would just join the damaged, used up and recycled fray of Romney, Palin, Newt and Huckabee.

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Posted by: zhenge122 | March 1, 2011 2:21 AM

Anyone who supports this man must at some time ask themselves what we all ask about our elected officials..What are they actually promoting, planning to do that will tangibly help people in an ailing economy? You cannot be honest with yourself when you say, "Take away someone else's means of survival and moderate living standard so that I may have more." That has never worked. It is time to equally and fairly bring back the Clinton tax rates.

Posted by: hrayovac2 | March 1, 2011 2:09 AM

To the baggers out there. The repubs make you hate the gays, the unions, the unemployed, the poor, the democrats, the libruls, the progressives. Notice how quiet they are about the BILLIONARES. That should tell you something that Rush and Fox hasnt.

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | March 1, 2011 1:28 AM

What is it? It is that a loud, fat man makes idiots feel very comfortable.

Posted by: AIPACiswar | March 1, 2011 1:09 AM

Christie is nothing more than a bloviating bully blaming unions and the poor for NJ's fiscal problems. Bull. The GOP blames everyone but themselves for this fiscal disaster. The Bush Depression/Recession is the result of Two unpaid for wars and huge tax cuts to the rich. But, hey in the bizarro world of GOP dinosaurs the poor and unions must pay the price. Please. The GOP needs to go and America needs to begin recovery. Americans need to wake up and quit voting for GOP dinosaurs. Their only agenda is to cut taxes for the wealthy and destroying America. Where was the GOP when Bush was ringing up the defict to the tune of $10 trillion dollars? Oh, that's right only Republicans can create huge deficits, and when a Democrat is elected we will demand they pay for the deficits we created. Why does anyone vote for the GOP party of hate, division and lies. Pay attention people and quit believing the lies of the GOP.

Posted by: AZGirl | March 1, 2011 1:07 AM

There's no doubt that some pay and benefits are out of hand. But, a lot of public employees do a very good job. I can't imagine myself putting up with peoples' brats all day as a teacher, collecting trash or putting up with drunks as a bus driver. (I rode a bus for the first time a few weeks ago just to see what it was like.)

We really need to get fat pay checks and benefits eliminated for politicians and their staffs. I saw a documentary about Norway where the legislative representatives get paid very little, are issued standard apartments in a common building similar to a hotel suite and have NO STAFF!

Posted by: DGSPAMMAIL | March 1, 2011 12:13 AM

He's a bully. Serious reporting detailing the noxious extent of his bullying others subordinate to him would seriously undermine both his credibility and his undeserved, unearned popularity.

Posted by: hogsmile | March 1, 2011 12:02 AM

"Among respondents who make $60,000 to $89,000, for instance, 53 percent oppose Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's attempts to effectively end collective bargaining rights for some public-sector employee unions. The numbers are even higher in lower income brackets."

I do not believe this for one minute! The unions and their members have had their noses in the public trough for too long. It is time they no longer look at them selves as a privileged class as they work for us the tax payer and should NEVER be paid more than their employers. This government employee union garbage came into effect in the 1950's and has been a terrible idea and hold over ever sense, time for it to go!

Posted by: wkcc36 | February 28, 2011 11:56 PM

Chris Christie is a PIG. And the people of New Jersey need their heads examine for electing that piece of Garbage.

New Jersey will regret the day they chose that BOZO.

Posted by: austininc444 | February 28, 2011 11:03 PM

>BurfordHolly: I'm not calling Christi >a "Nazi"...
>Yes you are. Which is typical leftist >behavior; don't try to argue with facts >or logic, just call your opponents Nazis,

Proverbs 28:1
The wicked flee when no man pursueth

Posted by: BurfordHolly | February 28, 2011 10:35 PM

BurfordHolly: I'm not calling Christi a "Nazi"...

Yes you are. Which is typical leftist behavior; don't try to argue with facts or logic, just call your opponents Nazis, racists, homophobes, bigots, or any other name you think you can tar them with.

Which is, I guess, about all you can do when you can't think your way out of a wet paper bag with a hole cut in the bottom of it.

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 28, 2011 10:04 PM

".......The ART OF LEADERSHIP, as displayed by really great popular leaders in all ages, consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention into sections. ... The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to the one category......."

-Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

"......Real benefit ...can only arise from a trade-union movement, if philosophically this movement is already so strongly filled with our National Socialist ideas......(the Nazi party) must declare war on the Marxist trade union, not only as an organization, but above all as an idea...."

-Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

I'm not calling Christi a "Nazi" but these guys are definitely keeping Mein Kampf on the nightstand.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | February 28, 2011 9:41 PM

I don't think many people know that Christie is also campaigning to raise the social security age again, this time to 70.

Posted by: smi2le | February 28, 2011 9:39 PM

What is it about Chris Christie?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's called HONESTY! Lefties, libbies, so called "journalists" and Washington "insiders" are unaware of this trait, but we, the working class of America believe in this "odd quirk" and WE WILL WIN! WTF! In the most liberal meaming!

Posted by: erodrik | February 28, 2011 9:38 PM

Christie is that jerk driving down the expressway at 80 MPH, left hand on the wheel, right arm draped over the seat back, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, intimidating everyone in sight. The kind you later see either in the ditch or the back seat of a cop car. We all know someone of his ilk.

Posted by: dubhlaoich | February 28, 2011 9:24 PM

Pathetic excuse for a "leadership" column, Jena. Do you typiically copy partisan screeds for your material?

Posted by: Towson_Tiger | February 28, 2011 9:07 PM

Nobody will ever accuse Christi of being an "empty suit."

That suit looks pretty darn full.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | February 28, 2011 9:02 PM

Take it from a genuine, current NJ resident. Taxes have gone up not down, we are billions in debt from non-payment into pension obligations. This smoke-and-mirrors is looking for a common enemy, not to solve the state's problems.

Posted by: chemguy1157 | February 28, 2011 8:48 PM

one of the oldest methods of leadership persuasion around. He's giving "an uneasy public," Bai writes, "the scapegoat it demands."

The best thing is that when you don't ever address the real big problems, there is always something to find another scapegoat for.

Posted by: baldinho | February 28, 2011 8:24 PM

What gives you any authority on what leadership is? This article doesn't really talk about leadership, it just makes political commentary. On a purely leadership standpoint, POLITICS ASIDE, Christie is doing a pretty good job leading the state of New Jersey.

Posted by: Nate12 | February 28, 2011 8:06 PM


The bigger they come, the harder they fall.

Posted by: motorfriend | February 28, 2011 7:19 PM

The main reason for his success is that he hasn't had the chance to do anything yet, so everyone is happily writing on the blank page. However, "the rest is still unwritten..."

Posted by: fmjk | February 28, 2011 6:46 PM

whistling writes "What is it about Christie?

His obvioius lack of self disciipline!"

Ok, so you just had to make an issue of his weight. That just shows your bias.

You, and everyone else on this blog who made some comments alluding to his weight have discredited yourselves and your arguments.

Posted by: AnotherContrarian | February 28, 2011 6:11 PM

Oh, yeah, Jena you forgot -- OweBama has thrown the teacher unions under the bus, too.

We know. You only report pro-OweBama stuff. Well, facts are mean. Too bad for you and OweBama.

Posted by: BHO_1_TERM | February 28, 2011 5:49 PM

WRONG, JENA

Teacher unions of the public education MONOPOLY keep threatening strikes -- push-back is a bee-youtch.

Jena, you just made the case for VOUCHERS. Thanks.

Posted by: BHO_1_TERM | February 28, 2011 5:46 PM

He knows how to pick the right straw men. Six years ago we hated gays, now we hate government workers. Leadership built on hate will turn against him.

Posted by: tgarahan | February 28, 2011 5:32 PM

Christie 2012? Too fat. Fails the used car test. Sorry

Posted by: LHO39 | February 28, 2011 4:57 PM

Another question is, 'Why is he such a threat to the lefties like the Compost?' The answer is all the lefties are on a sinking ship.

Posted by: stinkingtuna | February 28, 2011 4:50 PM

Let's get real. So far Christie has done nothing except cut programs and budgets. That's easy when there is no other choice. My grandmother could cut the N.J. budget. The hard part is to govern. Which means creating an environment for economic growth. The proof is in the results which won't be known for several years. So let's not anoint Christie as the Messiah just yet.

Posted by: jp1943 | February 28, 2011 4:43 PM

>I don't agree - the reason he is popular
>is he doesn't spin issues. The public is
>tired of pols spinning. He give straight
>answers to straight questions.

Well so would any sociopath, which is the Achilles Heel of the GOP of reflexively believing anyone that talks fast, loud, and angry, which automatically equals the word of god.

Christi may have real problems similar to another former prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani: Rudy had a whole bunch of mobbed up associates scrambling to stay out of prison.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | February 28, 2011 4:39 PM


What is it about Christie?

His obvioius lack of self disciipline!

His smart mouth. (maybe okay for a state like New Jersey, but...

his evolving pandering to whom or whatever as he learns to need the spotlight.
He won't last well. And hhe will jump in and get creamed.

Posted by: whistling | February 28, 2011 4:12 PM

It's called honesty. One wouldn't expect anyone around the Washington Post to comprehend it.

Posted by: hammeresq | February 28, 2011 4:00 PM

I don't agree - the reason he is popular is he doesn't spin issues. The public is tired of pols spinning. He give straight answers to straight questions.

Posted by: sarno | February 28, 2011 3:54 PM

He's the media darling of the moment plus he's a media hog. Wait until he has a few years and then let's talk.

Posted by: rlj611 | February 28, 2011 3:40 PM

Chris Christie is plain spoken. He has the best interests of his electorate at heart. He could easily beat Obama.

Posted by: RFN8143 | February 28, 2011 3:35 PM

Any Governor anywhere looking to balance a budget is forced to look at the unions - salaries, pensions and laws designed to protect unions are HUGE. I know, I live in New York.

No Governor can ignore them. WAPO claiming Christie is doing it just to garner political support is pure propoganda.

Posted by: pgr88 | February 28, 2011 3:31 PM

Christie and all of the other Cheap-Labor Republicans- isn't it interesting that we do not hear one word about the billionaires (except, "No new taxes!")but the middle class worker is the root of all of our problems?
Since Reagan, the big boys (CEO's, etc.) have increased their disproportional share of income to over 400 times the base-line worker. And when they die, the Cheap-Labor Republicans want to make sure that pappa Forbes can pass all of his money on to Junior without paying any inheritance tax. Now Junior can get even richer with pop's money without really having to do much at all. Doesn't this make you feel like you want to just go out and crush some union for all of its 'greediness?'

Posted by: hrobert02 | February 28, 2011 3:19 PM

Chisti is a leader by example as he left the State during the worse snow storm saying his wife wouldn't let him come home and do his job. He refused billions in funding that would have created thousands of jobs. His appointee lost one billion in educated funding because the form was filed wrong but Christi did blame Obama. New plan of giving property owners rebates, then increasing taxes twice as much. A former New Jersey governor did that and it worked for her. Yes this is the man we want in the White House as his bank/corporate friends would see a way of getting what they want without press coverage.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | February 28, 2011 3:18 PM

Christie's appeal may arise from his status as something of the anti-Obama. There's nothing polished about Christie. He's not going to make anyone swoon over his physique. No one will ever praise his "soaring oratory." He doesn't speak in platitudes. He doesn't claim to be a post-partisan healer. He devoid of messianic ego. He doesn't try exude an image of understanding everyone. He just wants to get stuff done.

At the same time, the typical, lazy arguments against conservatives aren't going to work on Christie. You can't say he's dumb - he's more of a real lawyer than Obama ever will be. You can't call him a racist - he's not southern good ol' boy, he's an ethnic Catholic. He's not an unworldly rube - he's a sophisticated northeasterner.

So that's a big part of the appeal: he's the anti-Obama, without the worst qualities of many of Obama's detractors.

Posted by: Swat02 | February 28, 2011 3:10 PM

Just because he uses public sector unions as a scapegoat doesn't mean that they aren't the problem. Call them whatever you want, their salaries and benefits are way out of balance compared to private sector workers. Private sector unions did one thing well - they killed the goose that laid the golden egg and sent their jobs overseas. Now the public sector unions have way overplayed their hands and are going to get reeled back in.

Posted by: delusional1 | February 28, 2011 2:38 PM

The time for an empty suit full of just rhetoric dapper Dan leader with a piano teeth smile and that's it, are over !!

Posted by: votingrevolution1 | February 28, 2011 2:28 PM

>Christie is seen as an honest man of the
> people... he doesn't have or project an
> elitist attitude towards the people. He
> understands what the ordinary guy wants
>and needs.

Yes he appeals to "the Volk," but he's not a fascist per se because a "Volkish movement" must be a "spiritual movement" in order to have the proper "absolute intolerance" desired by Fascism. So that's his saving grace.

But when you have that kind of anti-union bullying shouter claiming to lead a "spiritual movement" that celebrates violence, then that would be a true Hitler character. Keep watching the skies!

Posted by: BurfordHolly | February 28, 2011 1:58 PM

The Democrats and public sector Union supporters should read Mark Thiessan's column today for a less biased look at some of these issues. Read and weep, that is. For many years unions and their democrat campaign money recipients have teamed together to grant public sector union members salaries and benefits we couldn't afford. The cycle of taxpayers' money flowing to the unions and back to the Democrats is coming to an end, finally. As they say, elections have consequences. We had an election and the Democrats were turned out of office in unprecedented numbers by the voters who favored the Republican approach to public sector unions. But the Democrats can't stand that so they resort to temper tantrums and refusals to allow the rule of law and elections to accomplish what is intended. What a bunch of sorry, pitiful, sore losers. The Wisconsin Teachers have chosen to imitate the Westboro Baptist Church and their cowardly bought and paid for hack legislators hide out in another state. Incredibly, all these silly people truly feel they are superior to and more enlightened than the knuckle dragging conservatives, so they just don't think rules apply to them. Well, guess what? The rules do apply to them. They will get it sooner than later and in the meantime they are self-destructing and showing the majority of voters how corrupt the system has been. There is a new sheriff in town as someone whose name nobody remembers these days once said.

Posted by: beachbum09 | February 28, 2011 1:56 PM

>BurfordHolly ... the German NAZIS were
> Totalitarian SOCIALISTS ... 180 degrees
> from Free will and Capitalism.

Nazis were formed from various parties and the "socialists" were purged in the early 1930s, and from then on Hitler promised a ruthless war of extermination against "socialism."

And who were the Nazis biggest opponents? Social Democrats.

So you are pitching the Big Lie.

Go dig around the internet for people saying "Nazis were socialists" and you soon find Holocaust deniers and other fascists trying to whitewash the Nazis as something not related to the John Birch wing of the GOP and Glenn Beck.

To recap: "Nazis were socialists" are often people trying to claim that being a Holocaust denier doesn't make them a nazi.

People that say "Nazis were socialists" are too cowardly to get that swastika tattoo.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | February 28, 2011 1:51 PM

...........yet we have a press that is now fully behind someone who is modeling that behavior. There's something terribly wrong with this picture.
Posted by: bpotter110

***********************************************

Don't forget. Your potus was doing the same thing before he got "shellacked."

We can take it to mean that people who are truly bullies, like obama and pelosi and reid, (they were horrible while slamming the healthcare bill through) will get theirs in the end. And if Christie is truly being a bully, I guess he will get his also.

I find it hard to support any PUBLIC organization that has millions to donate to politicians, while crying poor for their members.
If it smells like a skunk, it's probably a skunk and I think the unions are skunks.

Posted by: tjmlrc | February 28, 2011 1:50 PM

He has no, leadership at all..He is once again doing what big bussiness and big banks and lobbies want him to do.

He dosen't care at for his people in his state and he wants to run for President and get rid of Obama like all the GOP. They keep telling one lie after another. No, signs of job..Which he let the tunnel happen their would be more jobs in his states and stop given the wealthy of his state breaks on their taxes..Instead he is taken out on middle class and working poor.. Which dosen't make to much sense to me..
These people only see what they want to see..And it is their pocket books and bank accouts

Posted by: buddhalady09 | February 28, 2011 1:48 PM

As someone who grew up in NJ, let me tell you how full of sh|t Christie and the voters are, really.

Christie can bulldoze EVERY union, but the state will stay bankrupt. There are over 600 municipalities in the state. That means almost as many firefighter companies, police forces, schools, school boards, librarians, etc etc etc. Unless they agree to work for free, they'll still be making money.

But when the topic of consolidation arises, voters put on their teabagger frownie faces and b|tch and moan and threaten. They'll never give up their townships and sacrosanct provincial identities associated with Home Rule. Which is why the state will always have OUTRAGEOUS property taxes, red ink, and corruption.

Who's fault is it? Every whiny a-hole from NJ who won't accept consolidating their sh|tsplat little town to save money.

Which is why I left the state. The people are hopeless and the politicians are idiots. F'em all.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | February 28, 2011 1:45 PM

Scott Walker and Chris Christie are not taking the same approach at all and you cannot compare the two. People approve of state employees having to pay a fair share for retirement and health care benefits just like the private employees do, but Walker went too far trying to take away collective bargaining when the unions already agreed to his fiscal demands.

Posted by: flonzy1 | February 28, 2011 1:43 PM

Brian Schweitzer is plain-spoken, intelligent, and as he describes himself CEO of his state.....a state which is financially sound. He negotiated with the public employees in his state, and they agreed to a 0% increase. He praised them for their actions and made sure to not demean or attack them.....a totally different approach. Why don't feature him?
There is nothing attractive about a bully....it's too bad the press seems to think so; also, that pitting one group against another is a "winning strategy"...just what we need more polarization and divisiveness

All this was given to him by previous Republican Gov. and a Republican state government he also did not

Posted by: fuobama | February 28, 2011 1:42 PM

Hmmm, the NYT had a story on this exact topic one week ago, and came to the exact same conlusion. This is just another example of media herding.

Posted by: nickthap | February 28, 2011 1:36 PM

Most political subjects are simple,so there is no trick to doing the right thing.The tricky part is making people think you are doing the right thing,(Obama)when you aren't.(teleprompter absolutely necessary)So this is why Chris doesn't hesitate when he speaks,and it sounds blunt to people expecting complicated double talk.I have always liked people that left me feeling there was no ambiguity in what they had said,even when what they said wasn't what I wanted to hear.I never have liked liars.

Posted by: alamodefender | February 28, 2011 1:24 PM

BurfordHolly ... the German NAZIS were Totalitarian SOCIALISTS ... 180 degrees from Free will and Capitalism.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | February 28, 2011 1:18 PM

Christie's advantage is the GOP echo chamber..which sadly includes the once-great Post. Y'all promote him 24-7, whether he deserves it or not.

Posted by: kstack | February 28, 2011 1:14 PM

you misconstrue the attraction to voters that Christie represents.

It's not the "common foe" as you assert ... that's a silly conclusion you reached based on lack of insight.

Christie is seen as an honest man of the people... he doesn't have or project an elitist attitude towards the people. He understands what the ordinary guy wants and needs.

It really is that simple!

Posted by: Hazmat77 | February 28, 2011 1:13 PM

pdq5 ... your post indicates that you are clueless. you have zero knowledge to back up your assertions.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | February 28, 2011 1:09 PM

In response to BPotter110-- So, you have a problem with the press following the things that the NJ Gov. says and does. Bullying you say? Yet, if one substitutes the name Christie for, I don't know say,...Palin, it would be ok right?

Posted by: jellymon | February 28, 2011 1:04 PM

Enough already!, "BPOTTER110".

Posted by: JAH3 | February 28, 2011 1:00 PM

YOU Christie is a Top of the Line Snake Oil Salesperson.

He could sell the clothes off your back.
AND make you think that is good.
NO Matter how cold it is outside

Which is a prime requirement for the GOP.

Now you know have Wall Street fiasco came about
and
nobody went to JAIL

Posted by: pdq5 | February 28, 2011 12:54 PM

From what little I have seen of Christie, I also am impressed by his bluntness and ability to connect with voters. It is a bit refreshing. My only concern is that his ability to understand the long term economic impacts of his policies. By the way, why are former prosecutors so prevalent as politicians, as opposed to economists who can really dig into the numbers of fiscal health?

Posted by: carbon916 | February 28, 2011 12:38 PM

His secret weapon is honesty: honesty about himself, the unions, and the future fate of our bankrupted kids. Strange that honesty is now the "duh" factor.

Posted by: nvlheum | February 28, 2011 12:36 PM

What disturbs me about the press and their "lovefest" with Chris Christie....they seem to be supporting his bullying behavior.

Bullying is on the rise....it's starting at younger and younger ages. You see bullying in grades as young as kindergarten....you have young people committing suicide because they've been bullied; yet we have a press that is now fully behind someone who is modeling that behavior. There's something terribly wrong with this picture.

Posted by: bpotter110 | February 28, 2011 12:33 PM

>When, as in the case of firefighters and
> many other government positions, you
>have literally hundreds of applicants for
>each opening, ... you are paying way too much.

Because you want your firefighters and EMTs to turn over as frequently as the night shift at Popeyes?

Heck how would like your garbage truck to be manned by constantly changing groups of meth heads scoping out your house for robbery and fishing for your credit card statements?

Posted by: BurfordHolly | February 28, 2011 12:29 PM

Christie is a prosecutor maskerading as a governor. New Jersey, through years of inept state governments, is infested with corruption and outrageous practices of favoritism and nepotism. People all over have been holding simultaneous government jobs, padding not only their salaries, but worse, their pensions.

Christie has made voters feel good with his no-nonsense brute force approach to combating many of these problems. That's his major contribution and his ambition should stay right there. Otherwise, he could easily become another mode of Sarah Palin.

Posted by: KT11 | February 28, 2011 12:22 PM

Brian Schweitzer is plain-spoken, intelligent, and as he describes himself CEO of his state.....a state which is financially sound. He negotiated with the public employees in his state, and they agreed to a 0% increase. He praised them for their actions and made sure to not demean or attack them.....a totally different approach. Why don't feature him?

There is nothing attractive about a bully....it's too bad the press seems to think so; also, that pitting one group against another is a "winning strategy"...just what we need more polarization and divisiveness.

Posted by: bpotter110 | February 28, 2011 12:15 PM

Chris Christie isn't going to be facing Cory Booker for the NJ Governor's seat next round. Independents and even some Republicans are in awe of Cory Booker, who has REAL COMMON SENSE ideas of how to solve problems in his community that would easily translate to the better ideas of facing the problems in the State of NJ.
Christie is just a congested blowhard trying to make the most out of his 15 minutes of political fame. I feel most sorry for his wife because it's clear through his congested speech that he snores like a freight train.

Posted by: MeesterOh | February 28, 2011 11:57 AM

there are pros and cons to being in a union, just as there are in every job a person works. The issue is not that the unions are so polarizing and members are rolling in the good life, not all unions are the same. our government fed billions to financial institutions, the same institutions that have literally bankrupted the states thru malfeasance. Christie has called out several unions in his state where nj was liable for 60% or more of the perks the unions had. these perks were not written in in the last 4 years, they were negotiated over time. wall street did more to hurt this country than the unions. if wall street would invest in this country instead of themselves we would move quickly into the 21st century. there is only one reason for so many of us to be struggling, greed. more politicians should adopt his bluntness, but I do agree with a previous poster, he has does not have much of a record.

Posted by: lorac58 | February 28, 2011 11:44 AM

Unions can banrupt a company. Market forces limit the revenue of a firm and if the union over-reaches, then the firm goes bankrupt.

Unions can't bankrupt a government. Governments have unique powers to collect taxes and no market forces limiting their annual revenues. If a union over-reaches on government, then the increase is passed on to taxpayers.

The existence of unions in a government that collects taxes by force and in the absence of market controls is an abuse of power.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 28, 2011 11:44 AM

"The ART OF LEADERSHIP, as displayed by really great popular leaders in all ages, consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention into sections. The more the militant energies of the people are directed towards one objective the more will new recruits join the movement, attracted by the magnetism of its unified action, and thus the striking power will be all the more enhanced. The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to the one category;"

Hence we see the focus on trade unions, as well as Glenn Beck's chalkboard talks where he shows how it's all connected, thus making their foes all appear to belong to "one category."

The source of the quote? Mein Kampf. the GOP aren't Nazis per se, but one of the first things Hitler did was smash trade unions while ranting against union thugs and teachers, and if it makes conservatives angry to hear that, well they can just suck it.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | February 28, 2011 11:43 AM

What is it about Christie ? People who voted for him will fall for anything he is a one term governor.

Posted by: mondaytothursday | February 28, 2011 11:35 AM

So, pitting middle class Americans against each other for political gain is considered "leadership?"

Posted by: danw1 | February 28, 2011 11:35 AM

What is a union if not a mafia which excludes ready, willing and able workers from exercising their natural right to sell their labors to the highest bidder?

Whenever you have more than a dozen qualified applicants for an open position, the market is telling you that you are paying too much to attract the talent necessary to fill that position.

When, as in the case of firefighters and many other government positions, you have literally hundreds of applicants for each opening, and would have even more if potential applicants were not discouraged by the fact that these jobs are almost certain to be awarded to members of preferred racial and ethnic groups, you are paying way too much.

Paying way too much is another way of saying you are ripping off the taxpayer.

The next order of the day is: Who gets to determine who gets these jobs? Who else? The politically connected of course. This is always the way with Marxism. Talent, expertise, diligent persistent effort (aka hard work) means nothing. It all comes down to who is connected and who's not.

This is how the standard of living declines. Not by paying wages that are in line with what the market will bear but by rigging the system so that all incentives, save political clout, are neutralized.

As far as what was promised to existing government union employees, remember that these "promises" were made by politicians to state employees both of whom gamed the system by using union money to finance the campaigns of union-friendly politicians who then recycled many times those dollars back to the union membership.

This is not money honestly earned. This is a racket the fruits of which are ill-gotten gain. There is nothing illegal or immoral about taking it back. Even The Patron Saint of Modern Liberalism would agree.

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for [public officials] to bind the employer. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives.” – Franklin Roosevelt

Laws can be changed. Happiness can be cured.

Posted by: LePauvrePapillon | February 28, 2011 11:32 AM

>>leaders have long pointed to a group of people to whom the public might direct its anger.

Indeed. What's your point?

Posted by: DaveinVA | February 28, 2011 11:27 AM

What's the secret to Christie? He is a bloviating blowhard and a bully that the elite media loves. When New Jersey's economy crashes and burns due to his abject fiscal mismanagement, he may not seem to be the superstar you would all have us believe.

Posted by: pblotto | February 28, 2011 11:26 AM

There are two major reasons for Chris Christie's success. One is that he is in an highly visible position confronting issues that are at the center of current attention. The other is that he has not had time to establish a record that at best will make some people unhappy and that in the real world will contain some mistakes. Without the record, people are free to project whatever image they like on him. So, there is no surprise that the image they see is one that they like.

Posted by: dnjake | February 28, 2011 11:26 AM

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