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January 2nd, 2013 07:48 PM
Republicans: Even Republicans don't like you
New York (CNN) -- "It's why the American people hate Congress. Unlike the people in Congress, we have actual responsibilities."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped a bomb on Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Congress for refusing to allow a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief in the final hours of the 112th Congress. It was an instant classic of principled political outrage. It provided a strong dose of what Washington has been missing: blunt, independent leadership.
Christie prosecuted the case by pointing out that hurricane relief had been provided more quickly to others: For victims of Katrina after 10 days and victims of Hurricane Andrew in Florida after 30 days. But residents of the New Jersey and New York coast have been waiting 65 days to date for some relief.
Christie also accurately pointed out that Northeast states such as New Jersey and New York send more to the federal government in taxes than they get back in federal aid, unlike many of the red states represented by conservatives in Congress. The "makers versus takers" narratives fall apart fast when confronted with reality.
Pulling no punches, Christie declared: "Last night, the House majority failed most basic test of leadership and they did so with callous disregard to the people of my state. ... It was disappointing and disgusting to watch." He also unapologetically named names: "There's only one group to blame ... the House majority, and their Speaker, John Boehner." He added that the relief bill "just could not overcome the toxic internal politics of the House majority."
But Christie also took the high road in terms of decrying the overall atmosphere of hyperpartisanship in D.C., arguing correctly that "Americans are tired of the palace intrigue and political partisanship of this Congress ... this used to be something that was not political. Disaster relief was something that you didn't play games with."
Sandy relief funds stalled in Washington
Christie's broadside drew widespread praise on the Web.
One tweet I saw from "Ronnie" in Chicago seemed typical: "His dedication to his State is inspiring. I'm a democrat but damn, Christie's won me over. He has a damn heart."
Christie's fury was backed up by similar straight talk from New York Republican Congressman Peter King of Long Island.
He blasted House leadership on CNN Wednesday morning: "I would say the Republican Party has said it is the party of family values," he said. "Last night it turned its back on the most essential value of all, and that is to provide food, shelter, clothing and relief for people who have been hit by a natural disaster. And I would say that the Republican Party has turned its back on those people."
This display of independence was a reminder that there is a distinct brand of tough Northeastern Republicans -- people such as Christie, King and Rudy Giuliani -- who don't simply tow the line with party leadership or ideological litmus tests. Largely as a result, they are able to connect with centrists and independent voters and win on Democratic turf. This is a lesson for national Republicans as they look to reach out beyond their base.
Christie and King's principled independence and tough talk against their own party leadership brought results.
Within hours, Boehner and Republican House leadership announced that they would vote for an initial round of Sandy relief on Friday, followed by a vote on the remaining amount on January 15.
Conservative activist groups such as Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth and Heritage Action all pressured congressional Republicans to vote against Hurricane Sandy relief, and while they helped block a bill from coming to a vote on New Year's Eve, the swift and unsubtle backlash brought a wise reassessment.
All this is a reminder that straight talk in politics is so rare that it stands out and carries more than its own weight in civic debates. It cuts through the spin and resonates beyond party lines because it is credible and rooted in reality.
Most importantly, it gets results. Boehner's turnaround brought to mind a comment made by Christie during his press conference: "No one is beyond redemption."
January 2nd, 2013 07:58 PM
so I'm guessing that Boehner and Christie won't be exchanging Christmas cards next year.
January 2nd, 2013 08:13 PM
Boehner/they was right to hold up the bill.
The question is why did the Senate have to add pork to it? Why can't they simply pass a bill for the aide? We have done this for far too long.
January 2nd, 2013 08:20 PM
Guess he doesn't listen to you or, if he did, he was acting on principle until he realized that there would be political fallout:
The anger that surfaced on Wednesday seemed to come as a bit of a shock to Mr. Boehner, who quickly sought to contain any political fallout. After meeting with Republican lawmakers from the storm-battered region, Mr. Boehner pledged to bring a $9 billion relief package to the floor on Friday and a $51 billion package on Jan 15.
January 2nd, 2013 08:24 PM
Oh I'm certain it's a poor political move, and I'm certain Boehner doesn't have a spine. But, how long are we going to continue adding on the pork into every bill that is passed? Can't they JUST pass a relief bill? Christie's ire should be targeted with the Senate. I do like Christie's fire for his state, and would act the same way. When you are Governor, it's about your state. But eventually, this pork all members of Congress love so dearly has to stop. What does an Alaskan Fishery have to do with Sandy?
January 2nd, 2013 09:18 PM
January 2nd, 2013 09:28 PM
No one likes Christie either. Get rid of pork the bill passes. It is pretty simple.
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January 2nd, 2013 10:03 PM
Why, no? It's their fault.
January 2nd, 2013 10:12 PM
I thought the east cost blue states were so rich and gave tons more $$$$ to the federal government than they receive back? Why do they need the governments help? They could easily secede....
January 2nd, 2013 10:48 PM
January 2nd, 2013 10:49 PM
You should run for president on this platform.
January 2nd, 2013 10:52 PM
Krispy Kremes didn't think it was so bad when he was hugging and slurping on BHO three days before the election. Get used to it Chris. You got used and tossed away like everyone else. Washington could care less about you. Call back in 2014 when you can help them out again.
Last edited by KCRuf/Nek; January 2nd, 2013 at 11:25 PM.
January 2nd, 2013 10:58 PM
...I'm not sure you have much of an understanding of why the bill was delayed by the majority.
January 3rd, 2013 04:57 AM
Republicans: Even Republicans don't like you
now that Christie has been portrayed as positive in the media he is tossed aside?
I am not the biggest Christie fan, but I hardly think he deserves the derision he is getting from the Right.
January 3rd, 2013 05:25 AM
I never think he comes off positive anywhere. I think he comes off as someone that's all about himself. Even now he's out there talking about himself. I'd wager that he didn't have to shit in his hallways and go without heat for weeks. He doesn't look like he's missed a meal. Why did he wait 66 days to be ****ing about this? Why not ten like Katrina? He needs to face facts that the election is over and there will be no more 2$ million photo ops with his BFF.
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