Chris Christie, a wrong choice for President
November 21, 2013
To the editor:

Following this month’s elections, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was hailed as the savior of the Republican Party and anointed by several “Beltway bloviators” as the presumptive frontrunner in the upcoming 2016 presidential primaries.

PEER has a field office in New Jersey led by the inimitable Bill Wolfe who has observed Christie up close and personal. From this intimate perspective, one thing is clear – projecting the Christie record onto a national stage would be an utter disaster and make the George W. Bush (the last Republican with cross-over appeal) era seem like a walk in the park. Here are a few reasons why:

Christie’s populist appeal as a straight-talking everyman also does not stand up to close scrutiny. As Mitt Romney’s VP background check revealed, Christie has fostered, not fought, the cozy corrupt world of Jersey politics. Nor has Christie been anything close to a reformer with respect to good government issues such as transparency or scientific integrity (where he put corporations in charge of public agency science).

Rather than make the hard choices and eschew fiscal gimmicks as he promised, the state’s embrace of dubious short-term fixes has only tightened, leaving New Jersey tied with Georgia as the state in greatest fiscal distress. One example of a short-sighted gimmick is emptying DEP special funds that support pollution enforcement actions – a move akin to eating the farm’s seed corn.

Christie will not be confused for someone who ever says they are sorry – no matter how red-handed he is caught. My favorite recent Christie whopper is his blaming $120 million in damages from leaving hundreds of New Jersey Transit locomotives and passenger cars stored in low-lying yards during Sandy on an unnamed “lower level manager” when it was his own top appointee. Then in his own “helluva-a-job, Brownie” moment, Christie said his hapless transit director did “an extraordinary job” for compounding the debacle.

I could go on and on, but the point is that if Christie is the best they got, God help the Grand Old Party.

Jeff Ruch, executive director, PEER (Protecting Employees Who Protect Our Environment)

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