Monday, October 26, 2015

Christie's Red Meat Strategy

Chris Christie on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday
Between the brilliant foliage decorating the trees, the refreshing morning chill, and the clear skies and sunshine over Central Jersey today, fall is truly in the air.

But across the American political spectrum there's a whiff of desperation in the air too.

Trump attacks Ben Carson's religion because he's slipping in the Iowa polls? Low rent.

On Sunday Chris Christie took to CBS to score some free airtime and desperately-needed national exposure to try and remind Republican voters that he's still running for president.

In a move that offers a glimpse into just how desperate his campaign is to remain relevant to conservative voters in red states, he denounced the Black Lives Matters movement, saying that he doesn't believe "that movement should be justified when they are calling for the murder of police officers."

Now obviously that's a false narrative perpetuated by right wing media. But it's a pretty sad reflection of the state of the Christie presidential campaign that he'd repeat it on national television to bolster his conservative cred.

The truth isn't some kind of currency to be tendered whenever it suits your interests, especially for someone who's running for the highest office in the land.

The Black Lives Matter movement was first formed as a peaceful grass roots response to the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 and a Florida's jury's acquittal of racist sociopath George Zimmerman in the killing.

The term, 'Black Lives Matter' was intended (in part) to reinforce the idea that the lives of the unarmed people of color being killed by police have value and meaning; because the actions of some members of law enforcement in the U.S. suggest there is an entrenched attitude amongst America's police culture that the lives of black people simply don't matter.

While it may be true that in the midst of some protest marches that have taken place in various parts of the country in response to the rash of police killings of innocent and unarmed African-Americans, an occasional voice advocating violence against police may have been heard from an angry young guy.  

But that lone voice, or small group of individuals tacking their own violent agenda onto the Black Lives Matter message does not represent the BLM movement; and it was wrong for Christie to suggest it does - a feeling echoed by more than one Op-Ed piece today including one written by Newark Star Ledger guest columnist Reginald Jackson.

If you look at the BLM Website, the group's guiding principles affirm that it is "an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folk's contributions to this society, our humanity, and out resilience in the face of deadly oppression."

In no way does the group or it's members advocate violence against police.

When an angry white guy yelled out "White power!" at a Donald Trump rally in Alabama recently, I don't recall seeing Chris Christie on CBS denouncing Trump's campaign as a hate group that advocates white supremacy.

Pro-immigration protester being dragged from Trump speech
I don't recall hearing a peep from Christie when a Trump supporter recently dragged a man who was protesting The Donald's demeaning anti-immigrant fear-mongering out of the room and kicked him while he was on the ground while the crowd chanted "USA! USA! USA" (pictured left).

Situational moral outrage on Christie's part?

Just saying.

As Christie continues to cloak himself in an increasingly extremist conservative veneer, he seems to be abandoning reason and fact in favor of the fringe political perspective of those (as Tim Dickinson described members of the Republican Freedom Caucus in the October 22nd issue of Rolling Stone) whose "political imperative is to serve up red meat to furious constituents who say they want 'their country back'"
From a politically strategic standpoint, it's understandable that Christie would want to bash President Obama to serve up some of that red meat to hungry conservatives who despise the president.

But when he goes on a national broadcast and tells CBS host John Dickerson, "The problem is this, there's lawlessness in this country. The president encourages this lawlessness. Encourages it... by his own rhetoric. He does not support the police, he doesn't back up the police. He justifies black lives matter." He's not demonstrating the type of demeanor and thoughtfulness characteristic of someone worthy of being president of the United States.

He's just tossing chunks of red meat out to encourage the lowest common denominator of American politics.

Sure that dog may eat it up in the short run.

But when it comes to the long (presidential) run and winning the political mainstream and the electoral votes needed to win in 2016?

That dog just ain't gonna hunt.

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