Mr. Christie, a Republican who took office in January 2010, would hardly be the first politician to indulge in hyperbole or gloss over facts. But his misstatements, exaggerations and carefully constructed claims belie the national image he has built as a blunt talker who gives straight answers to hard questions, especially about budgets and labor relations.
— Richard Perez-Pena, The New York Times, March 9
This is the polite way of saying that Chris Christie tends to lie in public about policy matters. I was surprised to see NYT call attention to this fact in an analysis piece that, for a change, actually did analyze available facts and draw conclusions from them. This is something mainstream newspapers seem increasingly reluctant to do.
Maybe the article was to make up for Matt Bai’s lengthy profile of Christie in the NYT magazine, which was not a puff piece but was less than rigorous — I feel so polite today — in its investigation of Christie’s allegiances, and of his motives for demanding sacrifices from public-sector workers but none from the wealthy in his efforts to balance New Jersey’s budget.
For example, Christie vetoed renewal of a “millionaire tax” that would have raised about $800 million and made up for cutbacks in aid to schools and seniors. He apparently wasn’t asked to explain this decision for Bai’s article.
Perez-Pena’s piece is worth reading not because it makes startling revelations — it doesn’t — but rather because it documents misstatements that show Christie’s preference for winning over audiences with showmanship, and to hell with the facts. He’s a ham and a cut-up, like Rush Limbaugh, or like Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden. The difference, of course, is that Christie is in a place where he can ruin many thousands of lives in his pursuit of fame and power.
If The Times connected the dots between Christie’s politics, family, friends and campaign contributors, readers and voters might see his hypocrisy more clearly. But don’t bet your house on this happening anytime soon.