Chris Christie is in full-on apology mode and trying to perform the required mea culpas needed to rescue his expected presidential campaign and perhaps his governorship. Unfortunately, he does not seem to grasp the core of the problem that led to the scandal. He states that he fired Bridget Kelly “because she lied to me.” While her untruthfulness may have been the biggest personal affront to Christie himself, her greater failing was her willingness to put politics above governing. If Christie truly wants to advance himself as someone who governs everyone, “Republican, Democrat, independent or unaffiliated,” he needs to use this scandal as an opportunity to take a stand against the win at all costs political mentality that currently grips our nation.
Actually, the bottom line should have been that these were fellow citizens who were being terrorized by the actions of people who wanted to run up the margin of victory in an election. The culture behind their actions is the same one that causes the Senate Minority leader to declare that his “top political priority...should be to deny President Obama a second term.” Funny, I thought the job that we pay you to do is to serve your constituents. This poisoned political culture allows Ted Cruz to declare that “Obamacare isn’t working” and “driving up health care costs” while 25 Republican governors “actively work to keep millions of poor Americans from gaining coverage under the law’s Medicaid expansion.” According to one estimate this action will “raise premiums by 15% in the exchange because sicker people will be in the exchange.” It also allows Marco Rubio to use the slow rate of recovery in the jobs market as a talking point against the President and then vote against an extension of long term unemployment benefits for people affected.
Trapped in his current predicament, Chris Christie is in the best position to put his foot down and say that “enough is enough.” Somebody has to because in the current atmosphere nothing is getting done. Last year’s government shutdown cost the economy $24 billion. The Senate could not pass a bill improving the background check system for gun purchases. The House has refused to tackle immigration reform. They have also wasted time and resources in voting 46 times to repeal Obamacare but have yet to put one bill on the President’s desk that would improve the law. John Boehner may think that he “should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal,” but the problems facing our country are not going to solve themselves. The job of the legislature is to legislate.
A good place to start would be a total and complete repudiation of the birther wing of the Republican party. The party’s failure to do so has allowed the oft-refuted claims of Obama’s ineligibility for the Presidency to grow into a movement that undermines the office of the Presidency and stands in the way of cooperation. This sub-culture of conspiracy theorists has moved beyond claims that the President was not born in Hawaii to charges that Obama had Paul Walker killed in a drone strike and that he “secretly sign(ed) a law that makes it a crime to protest against him or ask him a question he doesn’t like.” The Tea Party continues to forget that impeachment is a punishment for committing “high crimes and misdemeanors,” not a way of reversing election results with which they are not happy by continuing to call for Obama’s removal from office for such perceived offenses as not sending and official delegation to “the great former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.”
Neither party holds a monopoly on the solutions that our country needs and the best course of action is to take the best ideas from both sides. However, this requires the ability to work across the aisle through the art of compromise. Unfortunately, this is never going to happen as long as words like “retaliation” remain part of our political vocabulary.
Credit for the title goes to a comment heard on the Brian Lehrer Show.
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