Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Court of Chris Christie: Day Two At the RNC

Christie plays prosecutor & judge Tuesday night 
I know it's traditional to come up with clever creative ways to energize enthusiastic crowds at political conventions, but it was pretty remarkable to see New Jersey Governor Chris Christie conduct a "mock trial" of Hillary Clinton at last night's RNC event in Cleveland.

As the New York Times reported earlier today, Christie's claims were rife with wild exaggerations, factual inaccuracies and plain old falsehoods.

Was it meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek? Sure.

But there was something disturbingly misogynistic about the whole episode that served to reinforce the image of the Republican party as hostile to women in general; particularly when you couple that with nationwide Republican legislative pushes for oppressively restrictive anti-abortion measures and their unprecedented smear campaign against groups like Planned Parenthood that provide critical healthcare services to millions of women.

Recently-concluded lengthy investigations by multiple Congressional committees and the F.B.I. determined that no crimes, intentional or otherwise, were committed because of Clinton's decision to use a private email server.

Yet Christie encouraged the hostile crowd to repeatedly chant "Guilty!" - as if by the mere expression of their hostility towards Clinton they had uncovered some kind of evidence that Congressional staff and federal investigators had somehow missed.

But on another level, it also seemed to not so subtly tap into the undercurrent of irrational anti-government rancor that flows through the Republican party like toxic sludge.

Anti-government zealot Cliven Bundy
The fringe wingnuts who align themselves with the sovereign citizens movement, "patriot" organizations, or groups associated with guys like rancher Cliven Bundy and his son Ammon Bundy who occupy federal lands in defiance of government authority, are drawn to the disturbing "Lock her up!" chants that echoed through the convention hall last night.

Was Christie was intentionally using his "mock trial" to try to tap into the mindset of groups who want to take the law into their own hands, establish their own shadow courts and operate outside the legal system?

Individuals using the cloak of anti-government fervor can come with horrific consequences as in the case of sovereign citizen sympathizer Ryon Lenelle Travis of Detroit.

Christie may have once been a federal prosecutor, but he sunk to a new career low with his episode last night in Cleveland; it's remarkable to see someone who once had such promise as a moderate conservative now reduced to schilling for the Republican party to whip up hostility, fear and anger and cultivate a dangerous mob mindset.

Fear-meister Rudy Giuliani handed the baton to Christie and he ran with it.

Frankly Christie has got some real cojones standing up and putting anyone on "trial" considering that Federal Judge Susan Wigenton recently ruled that Bridgegate trials will be staring this fall and he's already put New Jersey tax payers on the hook for more than $10 million in legal fees related to his role in the scandal - fees paid to a law firm with whom the Governor has deep personal ties.

The hypocrisy of Christie criticizing Hillary Clinton for using a private email server as Secretary of State is funny considering the flagrantly deceptive efforts he and his lawyers went through to hide the cell phone he was using as governor when the Bridgegate scandal was unfolding.

It's hard to decide which speaker on the stage of day two of the RNC convention seemed more detached from reality last night, Dr. Ben Carson telling the crowd that Hillary Clinton is an admirer of Satan, or the court of Chris Christie?

The jury is still out on that one.

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