The one thing more frustrating then living through a governorship dominated by ill-thought-out schemes foisted on an apathetic electorate by a clueless blowhard is reading about it. So it is with American Governor, a new book by Matt Katz who has been stalking Chris Christie and reporting on it for pay.
I read the ‘Union Wars’ chapter (and skimmed a few others) and found only a rehash of things I already knew both literally (95% of the book seems shallow enough to have appeared in a newspaper first) and deductively (Christie is an asshole who would have never risen to the governorship if there were skills beyond fundraising necessary to be appointed a US Attorney and New Jersey were not the pay-to-play capital of the universe).
For the record, my few notable excerpts:
Back when he was running, Christie wrote an open letter to cops and firefighters calling accusations that he’d cut pensions :inaccurate information: from political opponents. “The false claim states that I would somehow eliminate or diminish your pension benefits. Let me be clear. Nothing could be further from the truth…Your pension will be protected when I am elected governor…It is a scared trust.” (page 146)
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver was having trouble wrangling votes. Getting the bill through Sweeney’s Senate proved far easier than moving it through the more liberal, more independent-minded state Assembly. Oliver was desperate, Christie later claimed. So he told her that he’d save her job as the leader of the Assembly by guaranteeing her Republican votes if her position was threatened. He said he even went down the hall to tell the Republicans: “If they take a run at her on the floor, I need all of you to vote for her for Speaker.” And that’s how he got her to support the bill. Oliver called the story an outright fabrication. She told us that she was “beginning to wonder if Governor Christie is mentally deranged.” Chrisitie was just myth-making for his Republican friends, Over said. (page 150)
Behind the scenes Romney had been given a list of twenty-four possible running mates, which he cut down to eleven. Research was done on each, and the presumptive nominee then narrowed his list to five, including Christie. Romney adviser Stuart Stevens, who had only months earlier called Christie an “asshole,” was now fully on board with Vice President Christopher J. Christie. “We’re in a street fight, and he’s a street fighter,” Stevens said to Romney. “He’s the best street fighter – and he’s comfortable saying things that you’re not comfortable saying.” (page 176)
Carl Golden on njspotlight hit it on the head:
The sycophants with whom he’s surrounded himself may find his persona endearing and clever. To the rest of us, it’s ugly.