Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Beacon Of Family Values And Fiscal Conservatism

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie didn't get the memo. When attacking public employees, go to a corporate gathering or a conservative think tank. But thinking outside the box, Christie goes directly to the schoolchildren he claims concern for. The Trentonian reported on November 5 that Christie appeared before "50 high schoolers and several local officials" and

used the Boys & Girls Club in Trenton this evening to take a shot at the teachers feeling insulted by his refusal to attend their annual convention in Atlantic City this week....

“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?’’

Could this be the same Governor who in April exclaimed

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.

No need to scare students with frightening notes- not when you can refer to those same students as "mules" and tell students their teachers "get all the summer off?" Summer, commonly understood, runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Teachers in New Jersey end their run sometime during the last week of June and return (before the students) generally during the last week of August. That would be approximately two months- a month shy of "all the summer." (If Christie were a shortstop, his fielding average would be barely .667.) But, then, accuracy usually matters little to the propagandists of the Republican right.

Years ago, we expected teachers to serve as role models- and still do today, in some instances, in some disadvantaged areas. Driving a wedge between students and authority figures by fomenting hostility toward the latter, the Governor may be practicing a nouveau approach toward family values.

Governor Christie, in New Jersey and across the nation campaingning for GOP candidates, developed quite a following. Fighting public transportation, public employee unions and public employees, Christie has become a Republican darling as a "fiscal conservative."

Fiscal conservative, indeed. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

Gov. Christie, while serving as U.S. attorney, billed taxpayers for luxury hotels on trips and routinely failed to follow federal travel regulations, according to a report released Monday.

The report, released by the U.S. Department of Justice's inspector general, found that while many U.S. attorneys and their subordinates approved their own travel and expenses, the vast majority complied with the approved government lodging rate.

However, the investigation found, "a small number of U.S. attorneys routinely exceeded the government rate, by large amounts, with insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification."

The report does not name any individuals, but the Associated Press identified Christie as "U.S. Attorney C" in the report, based on a comparison of details in the report and public records of Christie's travel expenses released under the Freedom of Information Act during his campaign for governor.

Oops. Not such a fiscal conservative when it comes to billing the taxpayers. Still, at the Boys Club, Christie contended that if teachers were as concerned about the students as he is, "they would not be down there in Atlantic City having a party — because that’s what it is.’’ But why travel 50-100 miles to have "a party" in-state in Atlantic City when Europe beckons?

The report also took note of Christie's reimbursements for transportation to and from airports. In Boston, for example, to travel a distance of four miles, he arranged for car service that cost $236 round-trip, instead of a taxi. And in London, car service between the airport and a hotel cost taxpayers $562 for a round trip.

Palin-Christie in 2012? Not likely, but allow President Obama the luxury to fantasize.

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