Watching the spectacle of Chris Christie’s bridge scandal, now compounded with charges that he withheld hurricane relief money from Hoboken for no good cause, I had to think back to the question I had about this guy the first time I heard of him.
The answer is a tough one, because it doesn’t speak well of a big chunk of the populace. Chris Christie was known from the start for hurling insults at reporters, and protesters, and just regular citizens who asked him questions he didn’t want to answer. Plenty of video bears this out. He would bellow out that people were “stupid” or “idiots,” or worse. He would get blazing mad, inappropriately so, and start roaring out abuse at people. At times it was almost funny. You never saw politicians do this.
It was less funny when you realized that this was almost certainly the only thing that voters knew about the man. At least outside of New Jersey, his signature personality trait was all that voters knew about this politician. And he was declared the rising star of the Republican Party! This was the guy to watch!
Beloved for Being a Jerk?
How many of his devoted supporters nationwide could honestly say that they knew where he stood on the issues? Where did he want to take the country? What legislation did he have in mind, pro or con? I don’t think most people had any idea. What they knew about him was that he got mad and blew up at people—and that is why they loved him.
You will hear people talk about him being a “strong leader.” No milquetoast professor here. This is no diplomat! He’s a real man! The media long ago wore out the odd term “brash” in describing him. But there is a distinction between brash and obnoxious. Rudeness is not strength.
It has not worked out well historically when people support a leader based on his having a hot head. It’s bad enough that we are chin deep in ranting demagogues on the public airwaves. We don’t need anger management issues in high office in this country.