Chris Christie built a reputation for himself as a thoughtful and intelligent U.S. attorney who was not afraid to strong-arm those around him and—true to his campaign slogan—always “tells it like it is.” In 2008 he won the governorship as a moderate Republican, defeating the incumbent and allegedly corrupt Jon Corzine.
Well, when Christie came to Trenton, the “tells it like it is” mantra seemed to take on a new meaning: “tells it in the best way for Chris Christie’s career.” His increased interest in national office and a seeming disregard for state issues have led many former supporters to question his leadership and demand that his campaign promises turn into tangible and beneficial legislation.
According to a Fairleigh Dickinson University survey, only a third of New Jerseyans approve of the job he is doing. Over the last year, he spent 72 percent of his days out-of-state promoting his presidential campaign. From retributive traffic policies to failed education reform and underfunded pensions, Christie should not be remembered glowingly.
The Chris Christie who ran for governor in 2008 would have been a savior for those who wanted an honest voice of reason in New Jersey politics. Unfortunately, Governor Christie and Campaign Christie have completely different personas. Governor Christie called reporters stupid, said someone should take a bat to a woman, and told a Navy SEAL to shut up. Those in elected office need to be able to withstand criticism, and Christie’s abrasiveness shows he does not have the temperament required of a leader. Not only is the way he treats people problematic, but his policies themselves also leave a wake of disaster that can even be felt by PHS students.
If people do not admire his policies, they ought to respect his stamina. New Jersey is a largely democratic state, controlled by a largely liberal legislature, yet even with a conservative executive, gridlock is not a large problem in the state as Christie passes balanced, compromise-riddled budgets every year.
As he said on The Daily Show last September, “I work with Democrats in my state all the time because the people elected them. So you’ve got to work with them, it’s not an option … You get sent there to work. To govern, that doesn’t mean we always agree, but we find compromises.” By refusing to give up, Christie has helped change the status quo, making New Jersey politics, for once, admired by other states. Furthermore, he drew national acclaim for his quick response time in crises, working quickly to rebuild the state after it was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, and ensuring a swift recovery following a large snowstorm this January. Needless to say, our elected officials in Washington and across the country could learn from such a mentality.
Like all politicians, Christie is multifaceted. His bipartisan rhetoric is masked by his policies and actions. His endorsement of Donald Trump finally opened my eyes to a truth I had long known existed, but wanted so badly to deny. Chris Christie has an enormous ego and is a hypocritical liar. While all politicians lie, Christie does it so skillfully and frequently that he stands out.
During his failed presidential bid, he repeatedly sparred with Donald Trump, calling him “uniquely unqualified to be president” and a “whiner,” yet he is now campaigning for him. After dropping out, Christie was no longer relevant in the political world, but our angry, self-obsessed governor threw his own party—that of Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln—into the abyss of extremism to spare his ego. That was all Christie’s endorsement was for: to remain relevant.
His dropping out gave me hope he would return finally to New Jersey and do his job, but it is evident as a state we are no longer of political use to him and therefore do not matter. I could not be more horrified that I once supported a man who clearly has no pillar of principles to stand on besides his own personal agenda. I only wish he would agree to step down, as seven newspapers have called for him to do. With such a terrible ending to his governorship, it is unfortunate that the good he could have accomplished by setting an example of bipartisan cooperation will most likely be lost and forgotten.