Chris Christie, Bully Blowhard

Make that “incompetent bully blowhard.” Don’t get me wrong: I loved watching Christie take apart those pathetic public school teachers as much as anyone. And for about fifteen minutes I thought, “Hey, this guy is pretty cool.”  But then I noticed that he subjected everyone who disagreed with him to the same bully treatment. His only rhetorical strategy, it seems, is throwing his weight around. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that.)

And then there was Christie’s love-in moment with Obama after Hurricane Sandy (The Atlantic called it “the hug seen ’round the world”). Did it cost Romney the presidency? Probably not, but it didn’t help.

He had to engage in that public post-Sandy chumminess, I’m told, in order to do the right thing by New Jersey, which suffered cruelly from the hurricane.  But has Christie done the right thing by New Jersey?  I think the New Jersey Star Ledger may be right: Christie is America’s most overrated governor. Consider:

New Jersey’s economy is a mess, even compared with its neighbors. The property-tax burden is up sharply. Poverty is rising. And the state’s credit rating has dropped on Christie’s watch as the long-range outlook deteriorates. His successor will inherit a bigger mess than he did.

“His successor will inherit a bigger mess than he did.” And I thought Republicans were supposed to be the fiscal adults.

Some are. But I don't think Christie is among their number. He talks a big game (again, sorry), but what has he actually accomplished?  The Star Ledger  has more uncomfortable stats:

Crime is spiking in several of New Jersey’s hard-pressed cities, where loss of state aid has forced massive police layoffs. The state’s home foreclosure rate is the second highest in the nation and Christie fumbled a federal aid program intended to soften the blow. Yet he tried to raid a fund earmarked for affordable housing until the courts stopped him.

The list goes on. The state’s open space program is essentially dead, with no money and no ideas from the governor on how to fix it. The transportation trust fund is broke as well, so the governor has financed projects mostly by borrowing and by scavenging money that former Gov. Jon Corzine had set aside for the Hudson River tunnel project, which Christie canceled.