And To All Those Who Question Him, The Middle Finger
"You don’t put something out when you’re running for governor and when you start running for president, you pull back" says Steve Sweeney, State Senate president. Oh, but you do, if your name is Chris Christie, about whom the New Jersey Democrat was speaking.
Running for re-election in a Democratic state and determined to win big as a mandate for Chris Christie, GOP presidential candidate, the New Jersey governor told an audience of the Latino Leadership Alliance he supported the “tuition equality for everybody in New Jersey” (video, from the Democratic super PAC American Bridge, below). The Democratic state legislature, shortly after the governor was re-elected, sent him such a bill, which he promptly vetoed.
This represents not a flip-flop but rather a flop-flip-flop; or more likely, a flip-flop-flip, with Christie against tuition parity before he was for it before he was against it. Newjersey.com three weeks before the election had reported on Christie's appearance before the hispanic group:
“We need to get to work in the state Legislature on things like making sure there is tuition equality for everybody in New Jersey,” Christie said in a portion of his keynote address recorded by the coalition and distributed to the media Monday.
But it’s unclear whether the governor, who two years ago pledged to veto tuition equality legislation, would sign such a bill if there was sufficient support in the Legislature to advance the measure.
But some things never change. Christie
has refused to join a coalition of eight Eastern states seeking to curb air pollution blowing in from Midwest and Southern coal-fired power plants that help make New Jersey’s air quality among the worst in the nation.
The move to reject a petition filed Monday with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency follows a series of similar actions by Christie to withdraw from multistate initiatives designed to address environmental problems. It also adds to criticism that Christie, a potential Republican presidential candidate, makes some decisions based on appeasing red and swing states rather than looking out solely for the interests of New Jerseyans.
All eight governors who signed on to the coalition are Democrats. The three who did not are Republicans.
“He’s turning his back on the lungs of New Jersey residents,” said Doug O’Malley, director of the advocacy group Environment New Jersey, about Christie. “It’s clear Midwest power plants contribute to the poor air quality here. And it’s clear Governor Christie is not doing his job if he’s not protecting New Jersey residents from this.”
Both a Christie spokesman and a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman did not return repeated requests for comment on Monday.
The leader of the environmental effort, Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy, comments “We’re paying a steep public health and economic price for the failure of upwind states to make investments needed to operate power plants and industrial facilities in a clean and efficient manner. Now is the ideal time to get the upwind polluters to take action.” No doubt that is falling on deaf ears, for Christie cannot run for a third term as governor and his sights are set much higher, and to an audience well beyond the borders of his state.
While Christie has reversed his position on immigration reform and maintains his hostility to environmental remediation, his trademark congeniality remains the same. According to columnist Charles Stile of nj.com
Michael Phillis, a reporter for The Record, asked Christie on Monday if he intends to renominate Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and how he intended to get past the Senate Democrats' block on two of his other court nominees, Robert Hanna, the Board of Public Utilities president, and David Bauman, a Superior Court judge from Monmouth County.
"You're new here, right?" Christie replied in a tone that suggested that he was about to launch into a made-for-YouTube scold.
"Here's the thing. I don't have to answer any of these questions until I have to," Christie said. "His appointment is not up until June. So we'll deal with the chief justice when his term ends, but not until then."
As Christie's voice trailed off, suggesting that he had finished answering, Michael Aron, the senior political correspondent for NJTV, cut in.
"He also asked you how you plan to deal with the blocks on your current nominees," Aron said.
Christie shot back, "What are you, his agent?"
Defensive, snide, arrogant, sarcastic- and the favorite of GOP voters for their party's presidential nomination and of the mainstream media for president of the whole country. It figures.