Maybe I’m extra sensitive because Chef put me on a diet after I covered a Republican presidential candidates debate, although I found a better diet plan through Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. Maybe it’s because Mrs. Squirrel is visibly pregnant. Or maybe I just think progressives should focus on issues that matter instead of joining the race to the rhetorical bottom.
But enough already about New Jersey Governor and rumored Republican presidential contender Chris Christie’s weight problem.
Instead let’s talk about Gov. Christie’s anti-union problem. He called the state teacher’s union “political thugs” on ABC News, and pushed for a bill that would end collective bargaining for public employee unions.
Or let’s talk about Gov. Christie’s class-warrior-for-the-rich problem. He twice vetoed Democratic bills to raise tax rates for New Jersey’s wealthiest citizens, and said “If you tax them, they will leave.” Never mind that the study he cited didn’t make that claim, and other studies have shown it’s not true. And his 2011 budget proposed tax hikes for the working poor and tax cuts for the rich.
We can even talk about Gov. Christie’s slash-Social-Security-and-Medicare problem. When he spoke at an anti-Obama fundraiser hosted by the Koch brothers, Gov. Christie said:
We know the answers. They’re painful answers. We’re going to have to reduce Medicare benefits. We’re going to have to reduce Medicaid benefits. We’re going to have to raise the Social Security age. We’re going to have to do these things. We’re going to have to cut all types of other government programs that some people in this room might like.
These are all excellent reasons to oppose Gov. Christie, even though he criticized House Republicans for trying to hold disaster relief funding hostage to partisan budget cuts. But he’s also the guy who cut state funding to cities for snow removal, then during a blizzard told New Jersey residents “If someone’s snowed into their house, it’s not our responsibility.” Well, once he got back from Florida, where he stayed until the roads were clear.
No one except reality TV addicts would care that Gov. Christie just vetoed the so-called “Snooki Subsidy,” a $420,000 production credit for MTV’s Jersey Shore. But that’s national news because several big-money Republican donors want Gov. Christie to enter the 2012 presidential race, and he’ll give a speech on “American Exceptionalism” today at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Will he join the Republican flavor-of-the-month club? If so, he’ll need to get in gear quickly, as October 31st is the filing deadline for the Florida and South Carolina primaries.
Claims that Gov. Christie’s weight is relevant because “he may not be healthy enough to serve as president” strike me as paper thin excuses to demonize people with weight problems. There are plenty of other reasons to oppose his candidacy. Gov. Christie’s problem isn’t his weight. It’s his commitment to more wealth and privilege for the wealthy and privileged.
That’s the “800-pound gorilla” in the room.
Good day and good nuts.