It’s that time of year when people make New Year’s resolutions. The easy ones are kept. Most of the hard ones are not.
What should Governor Christie resolve to do differently and better in the New Year?
It’s probably too much to ask him to focus on the poor, the middle class, the public school teachers and kids, the uninsured, or the environment. After all, they are not his benefactors. His agenda will focus on the wants and needs of the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and the medical-educational-insurance-industrial complex – the folks who provide him the funds for his state and national political ambitions. But this year, he can make one small resolution to the people of New Jersey. One that he’s started to follow post-Sandy, but one that he’s likely to ignore as the 2013 election heats up.
Ever since he assumed office, Christie has employed an army of videographers and social media experts to produce his YouTube videos, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and a host of other political propaganda outlets.
Certainly, the governor should be applauded for using these media for communicating state-related business to his taxpayers. He’s done a fine job with this. But he’s also misused these taxpayer-funded assets to further his political agenda. The governor should resolve to use these forums only for non-political purposes.
Below, for example, are some of his tweets that excoriate Democrats and add no value to a civil discussion on the issues. These types of messages are of dubious value on a GOP-funded site, but have no place in his taxpayer-funded Twitter feed.
Of course, his most egregious misuse of taxpayer funds is his carefully orchestrated “Town Hall” meetings. These meetings are held throughout the state, during the day, when most working people cannot attend. An entourage of uniformed and plain-clothed security personnel, aides, and state videographers follow the governor around.
Town meetings are supposed to promote two-way dialog, but in Christie’s case, those with differing opinions are marginalized, maligned, and summarily dismissed.
When asked a difficult question, Christie typically turns it into a political polemic. Take, for example, a question that was asked by an NRA member some time ago. The questioner asked Christie if he supported a “concealed carry” law. Christie did not provide a definitive position, only telling the citizen to elect a Republican legislature.
So for 2013, Christie should resolve to make these taxpayer-funded political rallies into real Town Halls. It may not always be easy to separate his political rhetoric from his policy positions. But it would be easy to invite a leading Democrat like Senator Loretta Weinberg or Senator Barbara Buono to accompany him at these expositions, and give them equal time on the taxpayer’s dime.
Blue Jersey readers – what other New Year’s resolutions should the Governor and other elected officials make?