Something is Very Wrong With Chris Christie

Yesterday, our governor distinguished himself by calling an Iraq War veteran an “idiot.”

No, I’m not kidding. Matt Katz tells the story:

At a town hall meeting in front of hundreds of people at the Roebling firehouse, Christie said current Rutgers-Camden students would be able to graduate with Rutgers degrees. But that did not placate William Brown, 34, a former Navy SEAL and second-year Rutgers-Camden law student, who asked about the future.

“What about my son? What about my neighbors? What about my friends?” Brown asked.

More below the fold …

Christie tried to explain why he was going to make sure the merger happened despite what has become an increasingly mobilized and vocal opposition. But Brown repeatedly interrupted the Republican governor.

“Listen, pal, I sat here and listened to your story and your position…and if you decide what you want to do is put on a show today, let me tell you something, I can go back and forth with you as much as you want,” Christie said.

Christie said not everyone at Rutgers is against the merger, and he was “providing opportunities for a bigger and better university.”

Brown yelled: “Nobody at Rutgers wants it, nobody in South Jersey!”

Then Christie stopped trying to explain his position, and called for the next question.

“And let me tell you something,” Christie said, his voice rising. “If after you graduate from law school you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end’s going to be thrown in jail, idiot.”

Now I wasn’t there, so I don’t know if Brown overstepped the lines of civility. But all seasoned politicians know constituents can get passionate when asking questions. Even if Brown went too far, a true statesman would have been able to defuse this situation.

But not Chris Christie – he lives for this kind of stuff. There’s little doubt he enjoys flinging insults at his critics – but only when he controls the platform, and only when he has an audience of sycophants behind him.

Some in the punditocracy find this “refreshing”; I find it appalling. No constituent, no matter how rude, deserves to be castigated in this way – especially by a man in Christie’s position. He isn’t some back-bencher or marginal gadfly; he’s the governor. And this state, for all of its Jersey Shore attitude, deserves better than a leader who loves nothing more than a roll in the mud.

If this were an isolated incident, I would dismiss it – but it’s not. He has publicly slapped down teachers and other public workers for daring to question him to his face. He’s yelled at constituents who point out his personal hypocrisy on school funding. He’s called duly elected legislators “jerks,” and called for the press to “take a bat to” a 76-year-old grandmother and Senator.

(Funny how so many of these attacks seem to be against women, isn’t it? When you combine this pattern with the fact that three-quarters of teachers are women, his personal attacks on teachers begin to make a sort of twisted sense.)

I’m no psychologist, but these appear to be the signs of a man who is not well. Something is very wrong with Chris Christie. For all of our sakes, I hope he gets some help.

Comments (21)

  1. 12mileseastofTrenton

    that Christie is mentally disturbed.  Because of his weight, he seems to attack anyone who poses the slightest threat as a defense mechanism.

    I sincerely believe that the man is unbalanced.

  2. SmartyJones

    if Christie actually conducted a trial when he was a USA?

  3. ken bank

    I wasn’t sure if this was the same Bill Brown who ran for Assembly 3 years ago but here is the link which confirms it even if it is posted on a rightwing blog. Brown ran as a Democrat after switching parties. He also posted very frequently on PolitickerNJ. Quite frankly, judging by his posts, he came across to me as a somewhat unstable individual with his own personal political agenda. I’m sure he is well known among both Democrat and Republican political activists in the region. That doesn’t excuse Christie for his conduct, but it does give it some perspective.

  4. brendanod

    for Christie.  The traveling circus raises its tent (only during the day) for the faithful.  Much like a finger waiving  Bill O’Reilly interview, ridiculing those who have opposing points of view is part of the show.  Like a wrestler delivering a “flying neckbreaker”, it is the highlight of the program.  I’m surprised he doesn’t have a stooge throw him a softball every performance so he climb to the top rope every show.

  5. Adam L

    Think back to 2009 and what many Congressional members had to face from angry yelling uninformed mobs of gun toting teabaggers.  And interestingly, outside of Christie and say, Allen West (another Republican hothead), how many Democratic Congressfolk were rude to or (gasp) shouted down their constituents?  And how many were hung out to dry anyway for any response that stood up to the angry mob?

    But yeah, IOKIYAR….

  6. Bertin Lefkovic

    …have to do with anything?  Unless you have some evidence to support a correlation between obesity and emotional instability, don’t go there.

  7. 12mileseastofTrenton

    and I’m not saying that there is one, I’m saying that a possible explanation for Christie’s behavior is that he attacks people when he feels threatened as a defense mechanism because of subconscious insecurity regarding his appearance.

  8. Jay Lassiter

    Maybe if Chris Christie were less insecure about his appearance he wouldn’t be so dang defensive all the time. to suggest that the his weight and his insecurities are unrelated is too PC for my blood.

  9. Hopeful

    Maybe Chris Christie can’t behave because he is a spoiled rich kid. To me it seems at least as likely. I just don’t see the point of it.

    Or to put it another way, maybe he acts like a jerk because of years of frustration as a Jets fan [I’m one too], and you proved it with a special brain scan. Would it matter?  


  10. 12mileseastofTrenton

    The diarist asserted that there was something wrong with Christie.  I simply responded by offering a possibly explanation.  I didn’t say that was the only possible explanation.  But I think what’s wrong with him goes beyond simple rudeness or political theater.

  11. Blue12345

    Which might motivate their behavior.  Just because we happen to be able to see one of Christie’s flaws, that doesn’t mean that’s the insecurity that motivates him.

    Regardless, his attitude is getting to be a bit much.  Insulting someone publically with the word “idiot” is the type of lack of class that we don’t need to be seeing in our governor.  

  12. Bertin Lefkovic

    …your insecurities, Jay?  If I attributed your anti-social behavior on this site to insecurities related to your sexual orientation, not only would I be rightfully tarred, feathered, and run out progressive circles on a rail, but the correlation would be dismissed without a mention of political correctness.

    Even if either correlation were true, there is no good reason to talk about them here.  The fact of the matter is that Christie is an obnoxious jerk and you are not a very nice person either, although as best as I can tell based on limited personal interaction with either of you, I would guess that you are still a better person than Christie, although I definitely allow for the possibility that I could be wrong about that, because it is just a guess and not even an educated one.

    But whether there is an actual correlation between Christie’s weight and his behavior and/or your sexual orientation and your behavior, discussion about them is better left to a therapist’s office than a progressive blog.  If you want to dismiss that as me being PC, be my guest.  I plead guilty as charged.

  13. Blue12345

    Maybe he has and has been thrown out of the courtroom himself a few times for his own attitude!  Maybe he speaks from first hand experience.

  14. Bertin Lefkovic

    There are a lot of obnoxious jerks in the world, inside and outside of the political world and they come in all shapes and sizes.  Christie is just the first for whom being an obnoxious jerk has been more of a benefit than a cost for his political career.  I think that has more to do with the devolution of our society than anything else.

  15. Rosi Efthim

    I don’t know what you mean by “unstable”. I do know the Christie front office will now be pumping out that kind of description of him to counter the howl that is likely to rise up when people see how the Governor of New Jersey treats a war vet and constituent who disagrees with him. Brown’s tone, his passion on the issue, and whether he interrupted the governor (I think he did) are really less at issue than the behavior of the big man up front with the big microphone and the big flags behind him. That guy is the governor of a large number of constituents, 443,000 of them veterans (78,000 of them Gulf War). And he’s this unglued when somebody has the nerve to disagree with him, and fail to shrink away when Christie tries to shut him down?

    Christie wants to be Leader of the Free World someday. I’d say he’d better start holding himself to a higher standard than he expects of an occasional citizen who loses control of his temper at a meeting ostensibly advertised as a public forum.  

  16. mmgth

    Bill Brown’s specific “agenda” at this town hall was calling attention to the  Rutgers’ students’ and alumni’s anger at this political deal of a merger. He was spot on. No one wants this in South Jersey.  

  17. Bertin Lefkovic

    I hope that Christie continues to behave this way and worse as it will hopefully lead to Dick Codey or some other Democrat defeating him next year.

    This is also why I think that it would be fun for Democrats to organize in the 10 districts where there are not contested Democratic primary elections (9 if you include CD5, which may or may not be contested) and register Democrats and independents as Republicans so that we can vote in the June primary against Christie’s candidates, Romney and Kyrillos.

    If Gingrich or Santorum and Little were to somehow win in June the embarrassment would not only bring about an end to the Christie myth, but it would probably drive him crazy enough to do something that might even alienate his BFFs, Adubato/Oliver and Norcross/Sweeney.

  18. ken bank

    My impression of Bill Brown as “unstable” is purely personal and not meant to be a professional diagnosis. It was just a feeling I got reading the voluminous items he posted on politickernj under the alias “frogman”. I do know the Burlington County Republicans have plenty of dirt they can dish on this guy, especially that he was formerly a Republican who said wonderful things about Republicans until he became a Democrat and started trashing the very same people he previously said were wonderful.

    I never met the guy, and he may come across as sincere. But I can’t shake the feeling that he’s more interested in self-promotion, and will no doubt use this incident to get his fifteen minutes of fame, than he is in actually helping other veterans.

    Another point is that just because the guy is a war vet, even a war hero, doesn’t mean he can’t be an idiot, and should somehow be treated differently than any other constituent acting the exact same way. History is full of war heros (even American ones) who were idiots and, dare I say it, even worse. I think Christie’s behavior towards women is ten times worse than anything he said to Bill Brown.

  19. Bertin Lefkovic

    …is coming to NJ next year.  When Christie was speaking at the announcement for this event, I am surprised that he didn’t challenge Dick Codey to meet him in the squared circle.  My guess is that he was afraid that Codey might accept.  Considering how physically fit Barbara Buono is, she could probably take him on and do some serious damage.

  20. ken bank

    Thirty years ago it was Ronald Reagan who shouted down a protestor and told him “sit down and shut-up”!! I thought it was Reagan’s finest moment, and I only wish we had u-tube in those days because I’d want every teabagger and reactionary neanderthal to watch it. The reason? It was thirty years ago and Reagan was defending tax increases (yes, folks, that’s right, Ronald Reagan increased taxes in 1982 to help bring down the deficit, sound familiar?). A rightwing heckler was yelling at Reagan and berating him for raising taxes, at which point Reagan simply exploded, pointed his finger at the guy, and told him to “sit down and shut-up!” It was my favorite moment of Reagan’s presidency. If anybody can get a video, please post it. Besides that, shortly after Reagan raised taxes in the summer of 1982, the stock market rallied, interest rates fell, and the economic expansion began that lasted nearly ten years.

    I loved it when Reagan told that teabagger to “sit down and shut-up”. I have to wonder if the reaction here to Christie’s behavior would be any different if Bill Brown was some rightwing teabagger yelling at Christie for appointing an openly gay male who supported marriage equality to the Supreme Court. Would we still be just as outraged? Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t. In fact, I’d be cheering for Christie.  

  21. JeffO Teaneck

    I don’t remember that the person Reagan yelled at was a conservative, but I do remember that he got some criticism for yellling “shut up.” I also remember that Saturday Night Live used it in a skit, wherein a somewhat ditsy Ronnie was bumbling around the Oval Office looking for “Presidential” things to do, and yelled “shut up” into an intercom (or something like that).

    But in defense of the Gipper, this was pretty much a one-off event — not part of a chronic pathology.


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