Chris Christie: Brave, Bully, Or Bigot?
Without genuine bravery, all of New Jersey Governor Chris Christieâ€™s brashness amounts to nothing more than the predictable disrespect and petulant tantrum throwing of a standard issue bully.
Chris Christie has a reputation for being a tough guy. Itâ€™s kind of his shtick. The image he has spent cultivating throughout his career is one of unwavering fortitude, based on the notion that he is his own man, that he doesnâ€™t take crap from anybody, and that while some politicians will kiss your ass and tell you how pretty you are, Chris Christie will keep things real, hurt feelings or not.
Keep in mind, this is no more reflective of reality than any other politicianâ€™s contrived image management. It reminds me of John McCainâ€™s fictional â€œStraight Talkâ€ persona, or Newt Gingrichâ€™s professorial â€œscholar of the partyâ€ nonsense, or the cartoonishly absurd rootinâ€™ tootinâ€™ cowboy act George W. Bush cultivated over 8 years. In reality, John McCain proved himself every bit the flip flopper people used to accuse John Kerry of being, these brilliant â€œideasâ€ Newt cooks up tend to be of the â€œwe should live on the moonâ€ variety, and as you will note, the minute George W. Bush stopped being president he abandoned that ridiculous prop of a ranch in favor of a proper Dallas, Texas mansion. Perhaps it was the crippling brush problem at Prairie Chapel Ranch, which could somehow only be cleared in the presence of photographers.
Chris Christie has chosen to take the lemons of his generally unpleasant demeanor and turn them into tasty, â€œIâ€™m a freewheeling tough guyâ€ lemonade. Be sure not to mistake any of this tough guy posturing for reality. He is every bit the craven, wobbly politician everyone else is. He just phrases his conservative boilerplate in the form of an insult. For example, this statement he made regarding his abortion stance:
I am pro-life, I believe in exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. That’s my position, take it or leave it.
That is a completely non-controversial standard issue Conservative statement, but by tacking that â€œtake it or leave itâ€ thing on the end he comes across as an independent thinker who isnâ€™t afraid to tell it like it is. Itâ€™s like saying, â€œI donâ€™t care what people say, sweatpants are comfortable.â€ Yeah. Not really breaking any new ground there.
How then, did this plain spoken bad ass respond to the New Jersey Legislature sending to his desk a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the state? With hard edged â€œI donâ€™t take no crap from nobody nohowâ€ gravitas? Hardly.
Back in 2009, when Governor-Elect Christie was asked about the issue, he made it clear that he wasnâ€™t just inclined to veto a marriage equality bill, he was enthusiastic about the prospect.
“If a same-sex marriage bill comes to the desk of Governor Christie, it will be returned to the legislature with a big red veto across it. Because, one, I believe that and I made it very clear to people during the entire campaign that that was my position and so there will be no surprise for the 1.2 million people who voted for me that that was and that is my position.”
How brave of Christie, to take such a clear and controversial stance during a time when absolutely no one was actually asking him to do anything. Itâ€™s easy to look tough when no one is trying to fight you. I can say â€œIf current UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silvia came in here right now and tried to start a fight with me, I would totally whip his ass.â€ This in no way prevents me from urinating on myself and crawling in to the fetal position should such a scenario actually occur. Regardless, Christie had taken a clear pro-hate stance on marriage equality and wasnâ€™t afraid to be kind of a jerk about it.
Fast Forward three years, and with polls showing far more public support for marriage equality, Christie seems to be willing to consider his options. In early January 2012 he said this regarding a potential vote in the legislature:
â€œThey have a right to set their agenda, Iâ€™ll set mine, weâ€™ll see who gets there first,â€ he said today in Camden . â€œWhen forced to make a decision, if forced to make a decision on it, Iâ€™ll make a decision.â€
No mention of the big red veto. In fact, he avoids making anyÂ definitiveÂ statement.Â When it became evident that Democrats weren’t going to back down, he tried to dodge it again, this time by attempting to talk New Jersey lawmakers out of passing the measure in favor of putting the question to a referendum.
“I think this is not an issue that should rest solely in my hands, or the hands of the Senate President or the Speaker or the other 118 members of the Legislature,” he said. “Let’s let the people of New Jersey decide what is right for the state.”
Aside from the fact that the people of New Jersey elected those 118 members of the Legislature to make exactly those sorts of decisions, as that is sort of the entire point of representative democracy, this was an attempt on the part of Christie to escape the corner he had painted himself into. This is the same corner the entire Republican Party currently resides in. On one hand, his base, those Christie warriors who love telling the Governor all about how tough he is, have made it clear that they are taking anti-gay bigotry to the grave. They will never be letting up about it, ever ever ever, and will expect nothing less than 100% compliance on the matter if their support is to continue. When he had made his comment about the big red veto, marriage equality enjoyed only lukewarm support. Three years later those same polls showed substantial public support for equality. Suddenly, cheerfully vetoing equality legislation ran the risk of alienating independent voters. Displaying some of that patented Christie Toughness, the Governer did everything he could to slink out of the fight. It almost sounds like he is about to cry in this quote.
If the majority of the people want [same-sex marriage] prove it. Put it on the ballot, let it be voted onâ€¦.Iâ€™ve told every Republican in the state legislature to vote to put it on the ballot. They need three-fifths to put it on the ballot. The Republicans have two-fifths in the legislature. So that means the Democrats only need to come up with one-fifth of the legislatureâ€¦this is the bargain of your life. Iâ€™m giving you two-fifths! And the polls they show me say that if it goes on the ballot, it will lose. How much more magnanimous can I be? What else do you want me to do? Go campaign for it too? Look, Iâ€™m doing the best I can here!
By which he means, â€œI am too cowardly to sign this bill. I am going to go cry now.â€
In the end, real bravery and genuine toughness could only be found in the legislature, who despite knowing that the bill would face a sniveling, pandering veto from the office of Governor Christie, passed the measure anyway; both because it was the right thing to do, and because it was going to be hilarious to watch Mr. Tough Guy bitch and moan about having to veto it.
As promised, Christie promptly applied his veto, cementing his legacy as one of a thousand politicians too morally insolvent to buck their partyâ€™s short sighted and bigoted views and side with equality. Christie chose to be small minded and unremarkable. Rather than do what is right, Christie has successfully avoided the wrath of his base by choosing to do what is wrong. The true measure and depth of his cowardice can be shown in the statement put out by his office in the wake of the veto. Calling his move a â€œconditional vetoâ€ he said this:
Today, I am adhering to what Iâ€™ve said since this bill (S-1) was first introduced â€“ an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide,â€ Christie said. â€œI continue to encourage the Legislature to trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on a question that represents a profoundly significant societal change. This is the only path to amend our State Constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our state.
I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples â€“ as well as the strict enforcement of those rights and benefits,â€ the governor added. â€œDiscrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizenâ€™s right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied. To that end, I include in my conditional veto the creation of a strong Ombudsman for Civil Unions to carry on New Jerseyâ€™s strong tradition of tolerance and fairness.
Screw you, Governor Christie. You donâ€™t get to have it both ways. You canâ€™t intentionally deny civil rights to the LGBT citizens in your state, and still get lecture everyone about how important equality is to you. Actually doing these things at the exact same time is positively appalling. Trying to pander to everyone simultaneously is the work of Mitt Romney, not someone who is supposed to be the down to earth, straight talking hero of the Republican Party.
Christie has sided with bigotry, and no amount of pathetic equivocation is going to change that. Equality has no middle ground, and the quest to find one is a temptation only the weakest and most pigeonhearted among us fall prey to. Without genuine bravery, all of Christieâ€™s brashness amounts to nothing more than the predictable disrespect and petulant tantrum throwing of a standard issue bully. At some point New Jersey will see equality, and it will be due to real strength and authentic moral fortitude. Then we will know what real backbone looks like.
Related:Â Law, Unwrapped: Gay Marriage â€“ Why Chris Christie Is Wrong On All Counts
Image, top, byÂ boris.rasin
Benjamin Phillips is a Humor Writer, Web Developer, Civics Nerd, and all around crank that spends entirely too much time shouting with deep exasperation at the television, especially whenever cable news is on. He lives in St. Louis, MO and spends most of his time staring at various LCD screens, occasionally taking walks in the park whenever his boyfriend becomes sufficiently convinced that Benjamin is becoming a reclusive hermit person. He is available for children’s parties, provided that those children are entertained by hearing a complete windbag talk for two hours about the importance of science education, or worse yet, poorly researched anecdotes PROVING that James Buchanan was totally gay. If civilization were to collapse due to zombie hoards or nuclear holocaust, Benjamin would be among the first to die as he has no useful skills of any kind. The post-apocalyptic hellscape has no real need for homosexual computer programmers who can name all the presidents in order, as well as the actors who have played all eleven incarnations of Doctor Who.
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Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.
“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.
“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.
The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.
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Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”
“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”
She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.
“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”
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Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license
Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump, and all of America, could spend the next 18 months – or longer – engrossed in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s trial of the ex-president, and that could bring the trial close to Election Day.
That’s according to a former prosecutor in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Charles Coleman, who is now a civil rights attorney and MSNBC legal analyst.
Asked by MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, “How long typically might a case like this take?” Coleman offered a two-tiered answer.
“A case like this is usually going to take a year or a year and a half,” Coleman said.
That could be through September of 2024.
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“Wow,” a surprised Jansing replied. “So it’s going right up into the campaign.”
“Absolutely,” agreed Coleman. “But it’s important to understand I said a case ‘like this.’ This particular case, I expect may take longer because I am anticipating a number of different legal maneuvers by Donald Trump’s defense team.”
That theoretically means into October of 2024, or longer.
“I do see motions to dismiss at a number of different terms, more likely than not to the point that the judge probably will ultimately end up admonishing them and telling them stop filing motions to dismiss. I think that that’s going to happen,” Coleman explained.
“I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, I do believe that we are going to see an attempt to try to change the venue, in this case outside of somewhere in the five boroughs. All of that is going to extend the time deeper and deeper into election season.”
READ MORE: Manhattan DA Unleashes on Jim Jordan With Stern Warning: You May Not ‘Interfere’ With Trump Prosecution
Reuters agrees, reporting Friday morning, “any potential trial is still at minimum more than a year away, legal experts said, raising the possibility that the former U.S. president could face a jury in a Manhattan courtroom during or even after the 2024 presidential campaign, as he seeks a return to the White House.”
And because “Trump’s case is far from typical,” Reuters notes, his trial could extend “past Election Day in November 2024.”
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