Monday, December 12, 2016

Don Veto: Christie "Administratively Segregates" Himself From Reality

Christie vetoes himself into oblivion
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was branded politically-damaged goods long before his former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and his former Port Authority appointee Bill Baroni were found guilty on multiple counts related to their roles in conspiring to close lanes of the George Washington Bridge back on November 4th.

But it was remarkable how quickly Donald Trump removed Christie from any involvement with the campaign and began treating him like a leper when it came to naming top cabinet positions for the erratic president-elect.

For weeks after the November 8th election Christie withdrew into a political shell like a turtle protecting itself from predators as he sought to avoid unpleasant questions from the media about the guilty verdicts of his two former top-aides in the Bridgegate scandal - and an official misconduct lawsuit filed in court by a retired Teaneck firefighter named Bill Brennan.

But in recent days Christie's name has begun to slip back into national media headlines over reports that he reportedly turned down lesser cabinet positions offered byTrump.

After his rocky stint in the 2015 - 2016 Republican Clown Car as a presidential contender ended with a lackluster primary finish in New Hampshire, and his desire to be named Trump's VP or Attorney General pick were dashed, there's no way a man with an ego the size of Christie's would settle for a position as head of Veteran's Affairs or ambassador to Italy.

Especially not after Trump supposedly nixed his request to be named the next Republican National Committee chair, so sadly (for Christie), his best option is the one he sought to use as a launching pad for his national political ambitions - to remain the governor of NJ.

Christie 0 - Pence 2 
It's a rather mutually disappointing prospect both for him and for the citizens of the Garden State who've watched him spend the bulk of his last three years as governor traipsing around the nation raising money for the Republican party.

First in his former role as the head of the Republican Governor's Association, then as a presidential candidate, then most recently as the head of the Trump transition team - until he was unceremoniously replaced by VP-elect Mike Pence.

Now that Christie is back home and facing what are considered to be the lowest approval ratings for a sitting governor ever tracked (a dismal 19% of New Jersey-folk approved of him in November), it seems as if Christie is determined to spend the remaining year he has in office doing what's he's done best as governor - saying no to stuff that a majority of the people want.

With his latest in a long string of vetoes of legislation overwhelmingly approved with bi-partisan support in the NJ legislature, a decision to veto a legislative measure that would have placed restrictions on the use of solitary confinement in NJ prisons, Christie has edged further into some kind of detached ideological void.

Earlier today Christie earned the ire of the Editorial Board of the New York Times in a scathing op-ed piece that ripped into him for "resorting to euphemisms" to try and justify his decision to defend the use of a practice that justice reform activists, human rights advocates and legal experts alike are trying to curb in local, state and federal prisons and jails across the U.S.

Solitary confinement: 'Cruel & unusual punishment.'
As the Times op-ed noted, Christie had the gall to try and insist that "a form of isolated punishment called "administrative segregation" has replaced solitary confinement and it's horrors."

Administrative segregation?

Does Christie really think calling solitary confinement by another name will reduce the devastating and debilitating psychological impact it has on people?

His veto is a blow to inmate's rights, bi-partisan efforts to begin to dismantle mass incarceration and justice reform in American prisons - so why did Christie do it?

Maybe for the same reason he vetoed a bill back in August that was introduced by NJ State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg that would have required NJ gun dealers to carry at least one "smart gun" - handguns that use sensors in the handgrip that ensure that only the gun's owner can fire them.

The bill was an effort to try and at least offer some kind of solution to keep handguns out of the wrong hands of people who purchase them illegally, but as reported in his veto message Christie took aim at what he called "the relentless campaign by the Democratic legislature to make New Jersey as inhospitable as possible to lawful gun ownership and sales."

Sen. Corey Booker leads an anti-gun violence rally
in Newark in June after the Orlando massacre 
It's not just that Christie whores himself out to the NRA, his defiantly pro-gun stance is totally out of step with the overwhelming majority of NJ citizens who favor sensible gun laws.

This is a governor whose spent so much time in the past three years outside of the state that he was elected to lead, that it's like he's still stuck in some kind of robotic permanent campaign mode.

Seeking to satisfy the extremist wing of the national Republican party, rather than the will of the people of New Jersey.

He's almost like a greyhound racing around the track thinking he can catch the rabbit if he just goes a little faster.

As an article posted on earlier today reported, Democratic legislators are hoping that Christie's anemic poll numbers could help persuade Republican lawmakers to override his latest veto of legislation that would have helped ensure equal pay for women in the workplace.

Yes, in a state where women make up over 50% of the population and still make 80 cents to the dollar to men, Christie vetoed the latest legislative effort to close the gender pay gap.

Why? He called the bill "nonsensical" and "business unfriendly".

The only thing nonsensical is Christie's continual vetoing of legislation that people and politicians from both parties support - as if he's a little kid on the political playground still trying to prove he's conservative enough to play with the big boys.

As our governor enters his final year in office, he's increasingly politically removed from the mainstream; and administratively segregated from reality.

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