Ethics Hero: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

WHAT? A Republican being cooperative and respectful toward the President? What’s the matter with him?”

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy,  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is being labelled a turn-coat by some fellow Republicans and conservative commentators for supposedly “sucking up” to President Obama.

“The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit,” the Governor said.  “He’s been very attentive, and anything that I’ve asked for, he’s gotten to me. So, I thank the president publicly for that. He’s done—as far as I’m concerned—a great job for New Jersey.” Christie not only praised the President’s responsiveness to the plight of his state, along with New York the hardest hit of Sandy’s victims, but also toured disaster sites with Obama, giving the President photo-ops that could bolster his re-election campaign in the crucial final days. Rush Limbaugh bitterly slammed Christie, somewhat cryptically calling him Obama’s “Greek column,” and other talk radio hosts and political pundits followed suit. Here’s the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis:

“The question is whether — with just days left before Election Day — Christie should have gone out of his way to lavish praise on Obama, and to provide him with a terrific photo-op for which to look presidential. When Christie says he doesn’t “give a damn about Election Day,” that is also concerning — assuming he believes there are clear differences between the two candidates. While nobody should discount the seriousness of the storm — or Christie’s responsibility to his constituents — electing the leader of the free world has serious consequences, too. Is Christie really saying that the plight of his state today outweighs the seriousness of electing a President of the United States of America for four years?”

There is no question whatsoever that Christie did what was ethical, responsible and necessary, placing his duty to New Jersey above political posturing. Lawyer/blogger Ann Althouse wrote…

“I want to say Chris Christie is saying and doing the right thing, not only morally and in his own political interest, but in the interest of Mitt Romney and the GOP. Saying it’s not political and acting like politics are suspended, the best approach morally, happens also to be the best approach politically. It’s good politically because it’s a vivid demonstration of devotion to public service and the capacity to rise about partisanship and do the things that need to be done.”

I’m not at all certain that Christie’s actions were “good politically,” because no one should under-estimate the vicious partisanship and vindictiveness of the far right in the Republican Party. This is, after all, a group that has targeted GOP Senators and Representatives for defeat if they engaged in any cooperation or compromise with Democrats, despite the fact that doing so is their job. If Romney goes down to a narrow defeat and the long knives come out, I wouldn’t bet against Gov. Christie being one of the designated scapegoats. I’m sure Christie knew this, and, like the genuine leader he is, did the right thing anyway.


Graphic: RRStar

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7 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

  1. “If Romney goes down to a narrow defeat and the long knives come out, I wouldn’t bet against Gov. Christie being one of the designated scapegoats.”

    I wouldn’t bet against that either. Romney’s got a jinx to break. Since JFK, “M’achusetts” has sent out two “ass”-es who lost: Dukakis and Kerry. Either the jinx continues, or the third time’s a charm. Christie could be tagged as the polluter of the magic potion.

    The storm will likely affect turnout, thus the overall popular vote in the POTUS election. But Sandy won’t affect the Electoral College tally, and neither Sandy nor any bipartisan love-fest in the last week before Election Day, no matter how it is spun by either side, will likely affect the popular vote in a decisive manner in any election. That’s my take/prediction, FWIW.

  2. In general I do not like when leaders overemphasis the one day at a time approach to decision making, it’s important to consider the long term implications and weigh them appropriately. However, In this instance I think Matt Lewis’ comments are knee jerk long view. New Jersey was very hard hit, and immediate action needs to happen to avert real human suffering.

    This is clearly a situation where rational leaders conclude that any long term political damage is greatly outweighed by the immediate needs of a community. Christie should be praised, doubly praised given the political situation, for taking off the political hat and focusing on his job as the chief executive of New Jersey.

  3. I am waiting for the ethics dunce award for Bloomberg on the NYC marathon, it’s a sharp contrast… To take away resources from an ongoing disaster recovery effort to hold a race is unbelievable.

  4. I’m 100% with you on this one, Jack. If you think the President did a good job on something, then the ethical value of honesty (and when it comes to government officials, as in this case, of transparency) compels you to just say so.

    Especially if, y’know, you want to have any credibility when you say you think the President didn’t do a good job on something else.


  5. Why was it so important for Christie to make a public statement, knowing full well that it would be damaging to Romney?
    Christie has proven trustworthy, and has self-destructed.

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