After this week, Chris Christie may decide on his own that being President isn't what it's cracked up to be. No matter how hard he tries to bully people, he just can't seem to get away without someone objecting. Loudly.
Tuesday was particularly rough for Christie, who was confronted by protesters at two events. In the morning, he stopped in Paterson to swear in Mayor Jose Torres. But an estimated 60 public school teachers showed up (the state currently controls the city’s school district) to boo the governor and demand fairer salaries and state contracts. They chanted “liar” and held signs with messages like “Christie’s staff gets 23% pay raises – Paterson school staff gets ZERO.” Christie reportedly skipped a speech he planned to deliver at the event.
Then, later in the day during a town hall meeting in Caldwell, the governor was repeatedly heckled over his handling of contracts with teachers unions. The governor – who blamed the interruptions on union leaders – quipped, “After being governor for five years, having them yell and scream at me doesn’t bother me one damn bit.” He seemed to lose his cool after some protesters began reading from their phones. “Keep reading. Listen, that’s an example why the education system in New Jersey is actually pretty good because he could read that whole thing without stumbling,” said Christie. Several hecklers were escorted by police out of the room.
The governor’s $32.5 billion budget into law on Monday evening was also criticized. Christie used his veto power to cut pension payments he promised three years ago and rejected a tax increase on the wealthiest residents – two proposals that were put forth by the Democratic – controlled legislature. He defended his spending plan Tuesday on CNBC, arguing “I’ve had to veto income tax increases four of the last five years,” Christie said. “You know folks don’t understand that you have to keep yourself competitive from a tax perspective and that’s why what I’ve tried to do.”
Parents of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown Connecticut also railed against the governor on Thursday after he vetoed a gun control bill that would have banned magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition, down from the currently allowed 15 rounds. Hours before Christie’s decision, several family members of Sandy Hook victims delivered a petition to Christie signed by 55,000 individuals, asking him to reduce the legal limit of magazines.
Christie argued “mass violence will not end by changing the number of bullets loaded into a gun,” adding “I will not support such a trivial approach to the sanctity of human life, because this is not governing.”
Well, he's right about that. He's not governing. He's vetoing a lot of things and saying no, but solutions are noticeably absent. Even when he thinks about solutions, he never has any. Witness his response to what appeared to be a pretty straightforward question earlier this week. When asked about the Hobby Lobby case, he bailed:
"Who knows if the Supreme Court [is] right?" the Republican governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate said. "When you're an executive, your Supreme Court makes a ruling and you've got to live with it unless you can get the legislative body to change the law or change the Constitution.
And bailed again:
"This is the way that you get bogged down in those things," he said. "You know what? I don't think that's the most central issue that we need to talk about this morning when you look at the challenges that face our country. "And if I allow people to put me into that box?" Christie counted. "Then shame on me – I'm not a good politician, I'm not a good leader."
In other words, there's no way he's going to let something like a Supreme Court decision get in the way of his ten-ton political truck.