I Disagree With This Premise

I notice a lot of folks poking fun at Chris Christie and his LT. Gov for being out of state:

Following up on an item from yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and his lieutenant governor were told Sunday about the blizzard barreling down on the Garden State. Soon after, they left town at the same time, with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) and her family flying to Mexico, and Christie and his family going to Disney World in Florida.

It left state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) in charge as the acting governor, and by all appearances, he’s handling everything fine — he declared a state of emergency, dispatched road crews, coordinated with state agencies, and activated the National Guard. The response seems to have gone fairly well, and Sweeney lifted the state of emergency this morning.

But there’s still the political fallout to consider. Many are questioning why the Christie administration allowed both the governor and lieutenant governor to go on vacation at the same time, despite warnings about the impending storm. Others have noted that the governor isn’t bothering to rush home to deal with the situation.

This is just silliness. This is like the idiotic need for our President, whoever he may be, to be wearing hip-waders while filling sand bags whenever there is a flood, etc. There are large redundant systems in place to handle the snow removal, and there is no need for Christie or Guadagno to be anywhere near the state for things to function properly. Likewise, our military isn’t going to forget their mission while Obama vacations in Hawaii, and the world and the country will keep on keeping on.






124 replies
  1. 1
    mk3872 says:

    Spot-on, John.

    I’m surprised that more lefty bloggers & pundits don’t embrace Christie. Frank Rich does write glowling about him, tho.

    Christie is a man’s man and his brazen no-compromising attitude seems to be EXACTLY what the libs are demanding Obama to be.

    Christie IS the anti-Obama.

  2. 2
    Joey Maloney says:

    It cost Michael Bilandic his job, back in the day. I don’t expect it’ll have that kind of fallout here – Christie’s not up for reelection for 3 more years and no way are voter memories that long.

  3. 3
    RP says:

    I basically agree, and public officials are certainly entitled to their vacations (even vacations — gasp — out of state), but I do think it’s a little ridiculous that BOTH Christie and Guadagno were out of the state on vacation at the same time. Aren’t they supposed to coordinate these things? It doesn’t make much of a difference in terms of the actual handling of the crisis, but it just seems a little silly.

  4. 4
    JPL says:

    Why have a Lt. Gov.? If the Lt. Gov. does not step in when a state of emergency is declared, what’s his role?

  5. 5
    Mike Lamb says:

    @RP: That’s the strange part to me as well. I think that someone should have changed their plans once news of the blizzard came down, but it’s not that big of a deal.

  6. 6
    Paul in KY says:

    In our supercharged partisan climate, it is unusual (IMO) for them to allow the (D) to be in charge & get kudos for being in charge.

    Conversely (I suppose) he could screw up & get aw shits. Maybe that’s what they were thinking…

  7. 7
    bmchgo says:

    It’s A Fox News/Freeper Freebie, John!

    We get to bash a prominent Republican for falling down on the job at a crucial (i.e badly timed) juncture. It’s the same thing that a Malkin/Hot Air junta would do to Devel Patrick if he and his Lt. Gov were out of state during this same blizzard.

    C’mon, just enjoy it for a sec, huh?

  8. 8
    Richard S says:

    Given Christie’s effect on the state (much as we NYers love to disparage NJ) everyone on the other side of the Hudson is probably better off when he’s out of town.

  9. 9
    Dennis SGMM says:

    What’s to complain about? Either Christie knew that Stephen Sweeney could competently handle the storm or he was lucky enough to have Sweeney do so. Moreover, Christie’s absence allowed a Democrat to demonstrate leadership.

  10. 10
    Breezeblock says:

    I don’t begrudge either their vacations, but at the same time?? That’s the whole point of having a Loot Goober. And if they want the vacations because they have kids in school and this is when they can get away, tough shit.

  11. 11
    Cacti says:

    Disagree.

    A governor’s powers end at the borders of his/her State. When a governor hits the bricks when an emergency situation is on the way, they are, in fact, passing the buck downwards.

  12. 12
    StevenDS says:

    I thought this was silly too.

    And even more, with the invention of the telephone and personal computer, why does the governor need to be personally present to be briefed on issues, make decisions, etc.

  13. 13
    j low says:

    It seems only fair to point out that the people who are cleaning up the mess are the same unionized public employees the Christie is doing his damndest to assf*ck. If he gets his way it’s only fair that the citizens of NJ should expect their executive to in the streets with a snow shovel.

  14. 14
    Allen says:

    I’m with you 100%, John. We usually see that idiocy in this area with the DC and Baltimore mayors.

  15. 15
    Frank says:

    It’s no sillier than many of the wingnut attacks on President Obama.

    That doesn’t make it right, of course.

    New Jersey only recently created the post of Lieutenant-Governor after Jim McGreevey left office under shall we say a cloud. Before that, the governor’s successor was the President of the NJ Senate. The current LG is the first LG.

    http://www.njvoterinfo.org/lieutenantgov.php

  16. 16
    Mojotron says:

    What JPL said- the article states that the Lt. Governor position was created for situations like this. What’s the point of the position otherwise? I have no problems with Christie taking a family vacation as long as it isn’t at the same time as the person who fills in for him during “State(s) of Emergency”.

    BTW thanks mk3872 for copypasting the same bullshit here as you did in the TPM thread.

  17. 17
    quaint irene says:

    Why have a Lt. Gov.? If the Lt. Gov. does not step in when a state of emergency is declared, what’s his role

    That really is the point of people’s criticism. Not that Christie went on vacation in the face of a possible crisis. This blizzard pretty much came out of nowhere. And exactly how was he supposed to get back once it hit. Fly? ha-ha-ha.

    Nope, people are wondering why the two were out of town at the same time. Cause the Lt. Gov was a position Christie himself instated, during a supposed budget crisis. Plus Kim also draws a salary as Sec. of State. So what exactly is she being paid for?

  18. 18
    fucen tarmal says:

    i don’t think it matters that they went on vacation at the same time.certainly they aren’t out of contact like steve largent on 9/11. i think that gotcha moment, inspired many more less sophisticated attempts.

    i do think there is a reason to be irked, if it was something along the lines of, “oooh storm coming, gotta go, gotta go” and they used state resources and clout to bump their way onto the runways and out before the snow fell…

    i am sure the cma on when their trips were planned, has been done, so it would never appear now as if they were just running from the snow

  19. 19
    Steve says:

    The point is that New Jersey got along just fine without any Lieutenant Governor at all until last year. It’s a new position. A lot of people are baffled because it seems like the one and only duty that goes with the job is filling in for the Governor when he’s unavailable, which should sorta mean you don’t take vacations at the same time.

  20. 20
    Maude says:

    The reason this is a story is because NJ didn’t used to have a lt.
    gov. He is paid well over $100,000 a year. The whole idea behind getting a lt. gov. was so when the gov was away, the lt. gov would be the sub.
    The fact that they are both away at the same time, defeats the purpose of having a lt. gov.
    Sweeney has done well and handled things without any nonsense.
    This story isn’t going to fade fast.
    The storm just pointed out that nothing has changed at all and the NJ taxpayers are paying a large amount of money for a position that really isn’t needed.
    Chrisite should have arranged with Guadagno to not be away at the same time.
    It is important and not a silly issue. With all the buget cuts and the in your face style that Christie uses, this makes him look
    even less proficient than usual.

  21. 21
    Bob says:

    I don’t really disagree with the points made in the original post, but if I were an advisor to either the Gov. or LT Gov. I would certainly have advised against leaving the state.
    Yes, phones, computers etc mean the work can be handled from anywhere. But you can’t pretend that image is irrelevent to politics. You damage your image when you do this.
    Remember Palin’s press conf. in front of the turky dicer? Look, you can’t eat turkey without someone first killing it. That doesn’t mean the Gov. has to hold a freakin’ press conf. in front of the killing.

  22. 22
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Actually, my objection is due to the fact that they both scheduled absences from the city during the same period.

    They aren’t needed for the shovels or the hipwaders. However, the nature of an emergency is such that hard decisions must be made. Decisions such as “do we spend the money to clear it all, and if not who doesn’t get cleared?”

    At a more emotional level, yes we do need our politicians participating. “You don’t understand” is easy when Boss Hogg sits in his mansion all the time and never even looks. Even though he does nothing, when Bush or Clinton or Obama actually goes there, people get a subliminal impression that he knows what’s going on. Yes, it’s absurd as better info comes from reports and analyses from a number of experts.

    But politics isn’t rational.

  23. 23
    TR says:

    As others have said, the big deal here in NJ is that they just created this new Lt Gov position *precisely* for circumstances like this. If she’s going to skip town the only time she’s needed, then why are we paying for the goddamn office in the first place?

  24. 24
    MattR says:

    @Maude: This. When your job description is to be somebody’s backup, then you damn well better make sure you are available when the person you are backing up is not.

  25. 25
    Shock Trooper in the War on Christmas says:

    I kinda disagree.

    If there is a state of emergency (even if the “emergency” isn’t the biggest ever), elected leaders should be around. If only because these elected officials are ultimately responsible and should be carrying the political blame if wrong decisions are made.

    To me, this is not so much about “showing leadership” as about political accountability. Without it, democracy cannot work.

  26. 26
    JGabriel says:

    B-b-but … Chris Christie is fat.

    .

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    I think the only time I viewed a governor’s absences as truly irresponsible was when when Mark Sanford disappeared from SC to visit his lover in Argentina without making any arrangements for the normal assumption of power by the Lt Gov or whoever was supposed to.

    Dude just vanished for all official intents and purposes. Yet, since he was Republican, there were no effects of that particular part of the story, just the scandal of the affair itself. As far as I ever saw.

    I imagine that if a Democrat were to vanish from the Governor’s duties without doing the proper temporary power transfers to go visit another country for the purposes of an affair, there would have been more attention paid to that first part.

  28. 28
    bob says:

    First off, this blizzard didn’t come out of nowhere. We all knew it was coming, and when it would hit.

    And when a state of emergency is called, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the leadership to be at their station. Governors, like presidents, are figureheads. As such, they should be seen to be at the helm.

    There’s really no excuse for an executive to bolt when he KNOWS a state of emergency is going to be declared.

    As for the D getting credit… Sure, the R’s will definitely let that point stand come election time. I’m sure this little point of light will shine brightly as the R’s use their normal scorched earth tactics as painting the D’s as weak on snow (or whatever the flavor of the day may be).

  29. 29
    jharp says:

    “This is just silliness.”

    I disagree.

    While they might not have to be shoveling snow they do have a job to do. And doing it from Disney and Mexico would not cut it if I was the boss.

  30. 30
    Tim says:

    I do kind of have a problem with an organizational leader, especially one in government, who makes $175,000 for his trouble (in the top 4% of U.S. income), not making a point of sticking around for a potentially MAJOR problem, particularly when that problem can be forecast with some accuracy. Even if he somehow KNEW that everything would be handled smoothly (which he could not have known, of course), changing his plans and sticking around would have set a great leadership example for all state employees.

    You can bet your ass his employees are muttering plenty about his absence during the storm and aftermath.

    It seems to me that in the U.S. in general, the more money and power an executive has, the less they are expected to work. How many small business owners, even those with trustworthy and capable staff, would leave town in the face of a potential disaster? It’s just not good leadership.

    Christie could have sent his family ahead to Disney World, and stuck around even a couple of days to make sure the snow response was going smoothly, then joined them. Great opportunity for PR kudos too.

    Christie’s move here reminds me of the type of thinking employed by the BP CEO douche who complained during the blowout drama that he “wanted his life back” because so much of it had been devoted lately to pretending to deal with the disaster. Assholes.

  31. 31
    pdf says:

    I think most of the people poking at Christie over this are from out of state, and are consequently overlooking the fact that the majority of New Jersey residents don’t miss him, and would be just fine with him staying gone. He won by being “not Jon Corzine,” and the bloom is off the rose, big time.

  32. 32
    gil mann says:

    When Chris Christie travels around the country, he travels AROUND THE COUNTRY.

    ba-dump tssss

  33. 33
    liberty60 says:

    I agree with John, and if I can enlarge the point-

    The basic premise of classic small “L” liberalism is that government can be an effective provider of services- utilities, roads, emergency services;

    The demand for strong executive, the Galtian “Man on Horseback” favored by conservatives tends to refudiate this.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    This is just silliness. This is like the idiotic need for our President, whoever he may be, to be wearing hip-waders while filling sand bags whenever there is a flood, etc.

    Yeppity yep. Well said.

    The idea that a governor’s power and authority magically vanish when he or she is outside the state is bizarre and antiquated. It’s not like the guy has to hire a horse and buggy and go down to the Telegraph office to get word of what might be happening in the state.

  35. 35
    Left Coast Tom says:

    Why does NJ need a Lt. Governor if the Governor and Lt. Governor will both be unavailable at the same time? As others pointed out, taking over in the absence of the Governor is the only actual job of a Lt. Governor.

  36. 36
    mk3872 says:

    @Mojotron: No problem. It’s still true. Christie is a man and Obama is a girl.

  37. 37
    Dave says:

    I don’t agree entirely. While you are right about the fact the state will function smoothly without either one (and probably better to boot), Christie left after being told about the blizzard. Truth is, the more local you get government-wise, the more “hands-on” you have to appear. And Christie looks like he bailed on NJ and left the responsibility for dealing with a blizzard to the State Senate President.

  38. 38
    Zifnab says:

    This is just silliness. This is like the idiotic need for our President, whoever he may be, to be wearing hip-waders while filling sand bags whenever there is a flood, etc. There are large redundant systems in place to handle the snow removal, and there is no need for Christie or Guadagno to be anywhere near the state for things to function properly. Likewise, our military isn’t going to forget their mission while Obama vacations in Hawaii, and the world and the country will keep on keeping on.

    I think it was timing more than anything. New Jersey just created the office of Lt. Governor last year. And the first time New Jersey has a pressing need for its Lt. Governor, he’s out of state.

    Yes, the world continued to turn. No, bedlam did not ensue. But if I was a New Jersey voter, I wouldn’t be able to keep from scratching my head and asking, “Why the hell does Guadagno’s job exist?”

  39. 39
    Allan says:

    John, John, John. Of course it’s a bullshit non-issue about optics. Therefore, it should have no more impact on his career than riding in a tank had on Dukakis’.

  40. 40
    MattR says:

    @El Cid: It would have been interesting if things did not go so smoothly. Recent history tells me the Republicans would have attacked Sweeney if he made bad decisions or if things had gone wrong.

  41. 41
    Allan says:

    @mk3872: It’s clear you’ve inspected Christie’s genitalia up close and personal, but I suspect you’re getting your Obama scoops second-hand.

  42. 42
    gene108 says:

    no way are voter memories that long.

    I don’t know about that. Cozine’s first big political battle was back in the summer of 2006, when he wanted to raise the sales tax from 6% to 7%*** to try and plug NJ’s budget problems, as part of the overall state budget.

    The legislature didn’t want to go along with him. The state government was shut down and many state workers had several days of unpaid furlough.

    That left a bad taste in voters mouths regarding Corzine and helped sink him in 2009. He made a bad first impression.

    I don’t think vacationing in Disney world will have the same impact on Christie. His actions have already left whatever first impressions he’s going to leave on voters, already. This will either reinforce those impressions or be ignored.

    But voters do remember stuff that happened three years ago, when election time rolls around again.

    ***Christie, who champions tax cuts and rolled back the tax on people making more than $400,000, immediately after taking office, has yet to roll the sales tax back to 6%. This would be a popular tax cut for everyone in the state.

  43. 43
    Tim says:

    Also, too, and I fear I will be flamed for this but I will be honest anyway: I have a gut reaction of lowered respect for business people who are fat like Christy. His obesity spells “fat cat,” “undisciplined,” “slob,” “addict,” “health problems,” etc. to me. I see him waddling around and I think of how he must stuff his face to be that heavy and gross.

    I have this gut response in general to fat folks, but it is especially pronounced in reaction to those in positions of authority, who are educated and have the resources to deal with their weight and surrounding issues but choose not to do so.

    I certainly wouldn’t quit a lucrative job because I worked with or for an obese person, but their condition would affect my overall assessment of their character, this is for sure.

    Yes, I know acknowledgement of this gut feeling is not permitted in current society (a big part of why America is so increasingly fat), but hell, this is the Intertrons and I can say what I want and be forthright. And I suppose I will be offending some BJ folks, but deal with it, I get offended here on a regular basis.

    But back to fat people in positions of authority and example-setting: Anyone else here feel likewise who will admit it? Thoughts?

  44. 44
    elmo says:

    I have a different problem with the article.

    …by all appearances, [the Lt. Gov] is handling everything fine…. The response seems to have gone well….

    buuuuut…

    Many are questioning…. Others have noted….

    I love Steve Benen like pancakes, but goddammit, this is just fucking lazy and unprincipled. Everything went as well as could be expected, but there’s no controversy in that, so let’s mount a whisper campaign using the voice of “many” and “others.” Who are these “many?” Could they be political opponents of the administration? Ya think?

    It pisses me off when they do it to Obama. I’m not an unprincipled hack, so it also pisses me off when they do it to my political opponents. Goddammit, Steve is better than that.

  45. 45
    Violet says:

    @mk3872:
    Girls rock.

  46. 46
    elmo says:

    @Tim:

    Hell, I’m fat myself, and I’ll admit it. So there.

  47. 47
    Punchy says:

    I’m pretty sure the residents of New Yerseh are expecting Christie to eat all the snow off the roads.

  48. 48
    johnsmith1882 says:

    @j low:
    This. Those union employees are the scum of the earth, sucking on the public teat, except when we need them to fix a bad situation, then they are useful. And, oh by the way, I’ll be at Disneyland, have fun with the two feet of snow. When I come back, and everything is back to normal, they are once again leeches, which I will make clear to everyone.

    And like Joey (post #2) points out, people _have_ lost jobs over just this type of thing. It snows a lot in Chicago (Bilandic), but a postcard from the man in charge doesn’t sit too well with the people shoveling crap for a week.

  49. 49
    freelancer says:

    @mk3872:

    You know who else was a man’s man

    Can you go jack-off to Republican Luca Brasi somewhere else?

  50. 50
    liberty60 says:

    @mk3872:

    Christie is a man’s man and his brazen no-compromising attitude seems to be EXACTLY what the libs are demanding Obama to be.

    um, case in point.

    Reminds me a bit of that old SNL skit, about the “manly men, in the pride of their manhood” aboard the Raging Queen.

    http://snltranscripts.jt.org/7.....aite.phtml

    BTW- Christie even looks a bit like Captain Ned. Just sayin’.

  51. 51
    Steve says:

    @TR: I do not think we are paying anything extra for the Lt Gov, actually. She is also the Secretary of State and I believe her only salary is the regular salary associated with that other office.

  52. 52
    MattR says:

    @Brachiator:

    The idea that a governor’s power and authority magically vanish when he or she is outside the state is bizarre and antiquated.

    Is this actually true in this case? Stephen Sweeney is the Acting Governor and could theoretically sign legislation until Christie returns. That is different from Christie just leaving the state but still running things.

  53. 53
    Josh says:

    I agree with your point generally, but not as it relates to Christie. This is a guy who takes pride in bullying constituents (mostly teachers and other union members), and talking about how public employees (and anyone else who lives in NJ and isn’t very rich) need to “sacrifice.”

    It would be a little easier to stomach this episode if it wasn’t in such glaring contrast to his calls for everyone else to give up things they would otherwise be entitled to, and if he didn’t have a history of living the high life on the government dime himself.

  54. 54
    Paris says:

    My governor (for a couple more days) is blind and our roads still get plowed. Incredible but true!

  55. 55
    Publius says:

    Some years ago NPR had a story about the government playbook for snow emergencies. Because John Lindsay was ridiculed for showing up during a 1960s NYC snowstorm in a suit, municipal officals always wear sweaters in public as if they were about to pitch in and start shoveling. Because Michael Bilandic was so clueles about the impact of the 1979 Chicago blizzard, officials (in Chicago at least) now devote prodigious resources forecasting, prepration and implementation of snow removal plans and the trucks start rolling at the slightest hint of snow.
    The point was that is in exactly in such emergencies that people get to see their governments in action and as a government leader, empathetic and effective beats clueless and absent any time. It’s exactly this type of thing that normal people remember and because it is, it’s the type of thing that a politician’s opponents exploit. Now it’s trickier as a governor because not everyone in the state was affected and there are limits to what he can actually do. So maybe he doesn’t cancel his vacation, but maybe he finds ways to show he’s involved and engaged – he issues releases saying he is in frequent communication with the acting governor, directing resources, etc. But the brutal fact of political life is that being in Hawaii while half the state is under two feet of snow is asking for trouble and not taking steps to show some level of empathy and control is potentially devastating.

  56. 56
    Hunter Gathers says:

    So Christie is out of state on vacation. What’s he gonna do, have one of his aides follow him with a camera so he can be taped berating a snow drift? Have a clip of him screaming at an ice patch that will show up on the You Tube? What am I missing here?

  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    @MattR:

    Is this actually true in this case? Stephen Sweeney is the Acting Governor and could theoretically sign legislation until Christie returns. That is different from Christie just leaving the state but still running things.

    Good point. I think this is also still the case in California, and creates all kinds of opportunities for mischief when the governor and the Lt. Gov are from different parties.

    Still antiquated nonsense. And the VP doesn’t become acting president just because the president is on a foreign trip.

  58. 58
    Mojotron says:

    Compare Christie & co’s “response” to the storm with Cory Booker’s. Is some of that grandstanding? Absolutely. Is that the level of service I’d expect from all of my government officials? Not even close. But not only is it giving the appearance of “doing something” about the snow cleanup, but it actually is doing something about the cleanup. Night & day.

    mk3872, I can only imagine the tingles you would get when you realize that the size 12eee wingtip sneaking under your rest stop stall is Christie’s.

    and Christie (or the Lt. Gov) could’ve flown into DC and taken Amtrak up.

    So Christie is out of state on vacation. What’s he gonna do, have one of his aides follow him with a camera so he can be taped berating a snow drift? Have a clip of him screaming at an ice patch that will show up on the You Tube? What am I missing here?

    Realistically that is what he’d likely do, but again- what’s the point of the Lt. Governor’s position if not situations like this? How often does NJ have a state of emergency, especially one that they got a warning about?

  59. 59
    Geeno says:

    That nothing went spectacularly bad isn’t the point. Things could have gone spectacularly bad. The blizzard could have been worse than predicted, services like phone and electricity could have been lost in swaths of the state. To pick on a favorite theme from across the aisle, terrorists may have taken the opportunity of the first-responders having movement difficulties to strike a nuclear power plant or something; you know R’s would be saying this about D’s in the same position.
    Neither Christy nor Guadagno knew how this would play out, and they BOTH went on vacation knowing full well a potential emergency was on its way. That’s poor decision making. Sure, it’s unlikely that disaster will ensue from a blizzard in a state that’s fairly used to such occurrences, but you can’t know how it’s going to go, and it was irresponsible of both of them to go on vacation at the same time.

  60. 60
    sidhra says:

    I am a great admirer of William Howard Taft.

  61. 61
    toujoursdan says:

    As much as I think Christie and is a trainwreck and can’t wait to see him go, this is silly. In the day of global communications, but the governor and Lt governor can manage these problems from almost anywhere.

  62. 62
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @mk3872:

    Christie is a man’s man and his brazen no-compromising attitude seems to be EXACTLY what the libs are demanding Obama to be.

    And he uses a manly man’s soap, and sings pirate songs in the shower.

  63. 63
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    THIS IS FATSO’S KATRINA!!!

  64. 64
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @Brachiator:

    Good point. I think this is also still the case in California, and creates all kinds of opportunities for mischief when the governor and the Lt. Gov are from different parties.

    Anyone remember Mike Curb?

  65. 65
    Jennifer says:

    I think we ought to dispense with all the niceties and just start referring to Christie as “Fat Bastard.”

  66. 66
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Paris:

    My governor (for a couple more days) is blind

    And then a miracle will occur!

    I didn’t even know that Paris had a governor.

  67. 67
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @JGabriel: Gluttony is still one of the 7 deadly sins. Literally. Fatboy is headed straight to an obesity induced early grave. good riddance.

  68. 68
    General Stuck says:

    I thought the mob ran Jersey

  69. 69
    Ruckus says:

    I wonder why people want their politicians to be micro managers when almost no one likes to work for one. And just how would a governor or president get any meaningful work done if they were always trying to tell or show everyone else what to do?

  70. 70
    jomo says:

    Christie has carefully cultivated and branded himself as a no-nonsense guy who socks it to the bureaucrats and makes the tough decisions. He has a videographer follow him around to document this – probably prepping for a run at the 2012 Presidential campaign. In reality is is an incompetent hack. His administration bungled the $400 Million education award – and then he attempted to blame it on Obama. His decision on the tunnel has cost the state many more billions of dollars than it would have cost him otherwise. This thing with the Lt. Gov. has no real bearing on the state – but it smacks of negligence. He brings on a Lt. Gov but doesn’t coordinate schedules – that’s just weak. If it sticks to him so be it. He is a grandstanding asshole.

  71. 71
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Partisan hackery is partisan hackery. And there’s nothing our cognitively disabled media, of all stripes, loves more than a “crisis of leadership.”

    From plowing fucking snow. Which, I believe, New Jersey might have gotten before once or twice. A “state of emergency” does not actually mean a state of emergency, necessarily.

    @Publius:

    officials now devote prodigious resources forecasting, prepration and implementation of snow removal plans and the trucks start rolling at the slightest hint of snow.

    Which is kind of the point of bureaucracy. To devolve decision-making into an autonomous, technocratic process, and explicitly not leave uncertainty in the hands of a handful of elected officials.

  72. 72
    Punchy says:

    That’s poor decision making

    From a guy who bounced all the Fed’s money (and then some) to build a train to improve commerce and jobs….does anyone expect anything better?

    Does Christie need to shovel snow to show leadership? No. Does Christie need to shovel snow because he’s a fat POS? Yes.

  73. 73
    cmorenc says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    What’s to complain about? Either Christie knew that Stephen Sweeney could competently handle the storm or he was lucky enough to have Sweeney do so. Moreover, Christie’s absence allowed a Democrat to demonstrate leadership.

    The problem with this is that:
    a) since Sweeney handled the matter so competently, most people experienced only the minimal degree of unavoidable inconvenience from the snowstorm event, and hence by election time it will only be a small + chit in their memory, dwarfed by dozens of more (then) prominently pressing issues. So yes, Sweeney and the Ds will get some credit, but like a single pop quiz amid a two to four year-long course of difficult long exams and term papers the Rs will get a chance to bullshit their way through. Because the relationship of the electorate to government is unfortunately much more like a soft liberal arts course than a hard science course.
    b) had Sweeney handled the matter poorly, most people will have long forgotten that Christie was out of town for the event, and to the extent it comes up, Christie will shamelessly point to it and say: see, when you trust the dems to take care of something like this, they blow it. Next time, I’ll stay in town and show you how it’s done and cut costs while I’m at it. Doesn’t matter that saying that will be total bullshit in terms of what he’s actually done with a weather emergency or disaster situation.

  74. 74
    Anonymous At Work says:

    Winter Weather Rule #1:
    Snow can make unexpected shit happen.

    Winter Weather Rule #2:
    People freak out when unexpected shit happens, especially if caused by snow.

    Rule #2 holds true despite any other circumstance of the individual(s) in question, no matter how many years of backpacking in the Rockies in December or camping in Minnesota or even trekking though the Artic that they might have.
    Ergo, leadership positions that take their jobs seriously remain vigilant during winter weather seasons, even if their vigilant reaction is to appear nonchalant.

  75. 75
    Whick says:

    Hey, that’s neat how all the Republicans’ names are registered trademarks now [where you’d expect to see (R)].

    Following up on an item from yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie® and his lieutenant governor were told Sunday about the blizzard barreling down on the Garden State. Soon after, they left town at the same time, with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno® and her family flying to Mexico, and Christie and his family going to Disney World in Florida.

  76. 76
    Travis says:

    Well the rumor is that Christie has the goods on Sweeney (and Norcross), and keeps them in place as his compliant butt-boys. It’s the only explanation for the feckless Democratic “opposition” in Trenton.

    So you can be sure that Sweeney didn’t take a potty break without calling Fatboy for his approval.

    I agree with others that the issue here is the optics of having governor and lt. governor leaving the state in advance of a big storm that everyone knew was coming. It signals a basic attitude, that the little people don’t matter. The fact that the position of Lt. Governor was created to provide a backup chief executive just adds a WTF factor.

  77. 77
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Geeno:

    To pick on a favorite theme from across the aisle, terrorists may have taken the opportunity of the first-responders having movement difficulties to strike a nuclear power plant or something

    Quick question, Sr. Slippery Slope. If the roads are so bad that the first responders can’t mobilize, how exactly are the terrorists getting around themselves? Are they storming the facility on dogsleds?

  78. 78
    MTiffany says:

    There are large redundant systems in place…

    That’s the most concise summation of Gov. Christie I have yet heard.

  79. 79
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Whick: It means that Republicans are copy-protected. Sounds right to me, they broke the mold when they made this bunch.

  80. 80
    JB says:

    While I agree with the premise that, no, Christie doesn’t need to be anywhere near Jersey for practical reasons, there are very real political reasons why he should be back in the Garden state: namely, Cory Booker’s pretty kick ass performance during the blizzard in Newark.

    Think of it more in terms of competition in terms of political optics. No, Christie has every right to enjoy a vacation with the fam down in Orlando, but he does so at the expense of giving an upstart crow an opportunity to outshine him while he’s gone.

  81. 81
    pk says:

    @Tim:

    I disagree. Fatness has nothing to do with character. A lot of poor people are fat. People can be fat due to a lot of reasons. Some maybe working too hard and simply may not have the time or energy to deal with weight related issues.
    You have the full freedom to think with your gut, but that does not mean your gut is right.
    Our last president also relied on his gut. Look where that led us.

  82. 82

    @quaint irene: You are wrong. Christie left on Sunday. That’s right!! He left just as the shit was going to be hitting the fan.

  83. 83
    Scott de B. says:

    From TPM:

    Christie claims the Lt. Gov. Is not drawing a salary separate from her salary as Sec of State. No idea whether that’s true, but it does affect arguments about wasted salary.

    Second, apparently Sweeny is on vacation at the moment also. So why is he taking charge rather than one of the other two?

  84. 84
    Mike in NC says:

    Chris Christie is fat.

    Maybe he just wanted to get a good workout hiking down the Appalachian Trail ?

  85. 85
    jibeaux says:

    But if they didn’t let you leave New Jersey even for Christmas, would anyone want to be gov/LT of New Jersey?

  86. 86
    Geeno says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Simple the storm was predicted, they could have gone to target and laid low. If the storm is bad enough, attack! If not, wait for another opportunity. You have to remember, the people who would make such an accusation are the same people who think the ticking bomb scenario is so common.

  87. 87
    Dave says:

    @MattR: Actually, Sweeney has just directed Christie’s Chief of Staff and legal head to draft a request to FEMA for monetary assistance. So yes, Sweeney has very real powers.

  88. 88
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I always feel safer when Republican officials are away from the levers of power.

  89. 89
    MattR says:

    @Dave: But could Christie countermand Sweeney at this point?

  90. 90
    Dave says:

    @MattR: I don’t know the law exactly in NJ. But my understanding is that until Christie returns and formally resumes control, then Sweeney is in charge. So Christie can’t do dick while riding the monorail and wearing a mouse hat.

  91. 91
    quaint irene says:

    You are wrong. Christie left on Sunday. That’s right!! He left just as the shit was going to be hitting the fan.

    Okay, okay! I take your point. I assumed he left for the Christmas holiday.

    I just remember the weekend forcast they gave on Christmas Eve-“Sunday-a dusting at most. Maybe an inch or two at the tip of Long Island.”
    Christmas morning it was “2-4 inches in most areas.” Then suddenly on Christmas afternoon, all armagadden was breaking loose! I’m kind of a weather junkie, so yeah, the magnitude of this storm did almost come out of nowhere.

  92. 92
    tomvox1 says:

    They should’ve staggered their vacations so that one was present in Trenton. That’s why Jersey created the Lt. Gov. position in the first place: so that someone was always On Duty, man. Not to mention that they both just got elected, so what the hell do they need a vacation for? (I know, I know–to get away from all that fucking snow, right?) I guess canceling the region’s biggest public works project in the last 20 years just tired Christie’s fat ass out. Not to mention running people over and trying to bully teachers.

    He’s going to be a really unpopular pol once his Tony Soprano act wears thin. Soon, the only fans left on the bus will be wannabe macho mancrushees like our boy mk3872 here…

  93. 93
    SenyorDave says:

    Has anyone ever seen Christie and the actor who played Big Pussy on The Sopranos in the same room at the same time?

  94. 94

    I think you’re wrong about this, John.

    1. When the president is in Hawaii, he is still in sufficient contact that he can actually run the government from there. These guys literally handed off responsibility to the Speaker.

    2. Obama and Biden don’t both bail at the same time.

    3. This isn’t about hip waders, and more than the criticism of Bush for being MIA during Katrina was about hip waders. It was about providing executive leadership and coordination among a zillion departments, headquarters, and municipalities.

  95. 95
    ruemara says:

    I am the assistant to my boss, a local government employee. When he goes on vacation, my duty is to pick up his slack. When he has an emergency, I pick up his slack. When there is a serious FEMA level emergency, we both agree to be on duty 24/7 until EOP are over. We do not schedule simultaneous vacations, especially after information showing that a serious storm is on the way. It’s not about people going vacations, it’s about a LT. Gov that has failed in the one key duty of his job.

  96. 96
    Shade Tail says:

    Meh. It’s the NJ voters who ultimately have to decide what to do about this, so my opinion isn’t worth much here. That said, personally, I think that while it’s true the CEO of the government doesn’t have to be there all the time, knowingly leaving on a vacation right when a serious (possible-)emergency is about to hit is a pretty damned irresponsible thing to do.

    Seriously, this isn’t about being on vacation and having a completely unexpected emergency slam into your state/nation/whatever. This is about knowing what was coming and leaving anyway. Delegating your responsibilities right when you know you’re about to be required to use them is just dickish.

    Then, too, as others noted, it’s pretty dumb that both the gov *and* the lt. gov pulled this dick-move at the same time.

  97. 97
    tomvox1 says:

    @ruemara:

    Thank you!

  98. 98
    catpal says:

    but when you are constantly Bragging that you are the “Best Governor Ever” (2nd to the Quitter that is) – and the sucky Media helps you perpetuate that Annoying Bragging — and you allow your 2nd in command to be on vacation also — Christie deserves the criticism.

    and since the corporate-whore Media thinks Christie is the “greatest evah” with his constant Union-Bashing — I am glad to see a little Christie-bashing in the news.

  99. 99
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @ruemara: Co-sign on with this. If the position of Lt. Gov. was created solely for these kinds of situations, why on earth would the two of them choose to go on vacation at the same time?

  100. 100
    calling all toasters says:

    @Dave:

    Sweeney has just directed Christie’s Chief of Staff and legal head to draft a request to FEMA for monetary assistance.

    Now Christie will rush right back to refuse the funds or fuck up the application. Because he’s a leader.

  101. 101
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Because the Lt. Governor isn’t the relevant authority anyway. Statutory, but not practical.

    The Governor’s chief of staff and public safety commissioner (or whatever the NJ equivalent is), they’re the ones working with the Senate president in real time.

  102. 102
    Jay C says:

    @MattR:

    @Dave: But could Christie countermand Sweeney at this point?

    To do what? Put the snow back where they shoveled it from?

    @quaint irene:

    Well, I’m not a “weather junkie”, but I dunno what forecasts you were looking at! Most of what I saw from last Thursday on made it clear that there was going to be a big storm blowing into the East Coast on Sunday some time (the “White Christmas” thing): admittedly, the snowfall predictions varied a bit – and were mainly slightly low, overall, IIRC: but this blizzard hardly “almost came out of nowhere”: major storms rarely do, nowadays. Certainly not enough of a surprise that a Governor/Lt. Gov would think of leaving the state simultaneously.

  103. 103
    catpal says:

    @calling all toasters:

    Now Christie will rush right back to refuse the funds or fuck up the application. Because he’s a leader.

    excellent – and so true.

  104. 104
    Berto says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Don’t you know the terrorists are super-human?
    It’s been all over the news since September 2001.

  105. 105

    […] Non-Controversy  Liberal blogger John Cole sighs, “This is like the idiotic need for our President, whoever he may be, to be wearing […]

  106. 106
    de stijl says:

    @Geeno:

    Simple the storm was predicted, they could have gone to target and laid low.

    Actually, the smart move for the hypothetical terrorists to take in a snowpocalypse is to go to Supertarget – you know, because they’ve got groceries there.

  107. 107
    maus says:

    @mk3872:

    I’m surprised that more lefty bloggers & pundits don’t embrace Christie … Christie is a man’s man and his brazen no-compromising attitude seems to be EXACTLY what the libs are demanding Obama to be.

    If his ideas were any good, he would not be Christie (or a Republican), so your comparison is irrelevant. If all we were looking for was a guy who’s stubborn and inflexible, we’d already be Republicans.

  108. 108
    agrippa says:

    @mk3872:

    Is he now?

    ya think?

  109. 109
    Ed in NJ says:

    We didn’t even have a lieutenant governor in NJ until this current administration, so to schedule concurrent vacations is really poor planning on their parts. Serves them right.

    As for the Democratic response, I’m sure the purpose is exactly the same as much of the anti-Obama bitching all the time. Every time Christie does something that has the ability to piss off even a few people, we will bitch about it. The tunnel cancellation, the government takeover of Atlantic City, attacking teachers, shouting down citizens at town halls, taking vacation during a crisis. You piss off enough people little by little and he becomes marginalized.

    Taken right out of the Republican playbook. So suck on it if you don’t like it.

  110. 110
    cynickal says:

    Why does New Jersey bother having a governor at all? The state gets along great when he’s out of state?

    I say we reduce the size of government and get rid of both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor posts.

  111. 111
    Morbo says:

    So Christie is out of state on vacation. What’s he gonna do, have one of his aides follow him with a camera so he can be taped berating a snow drift? Have a clip of him screaming at an ice patch that will show up on the You Tube?

    That does sound like Christie’s style.

  112. 112
    WhyKnot241 says:

    Hmmmm, John, you were in the military, where I’m told that officers lead (or should) by example.

    Like, say…Corey Booker.

  113. 113
    Nick says:

    I don’t think it’s a problem that Christie wasn’t there, but it’s a problem Guadagno wasn’t there, and it’s a problem that they were both on vacation. The point of New Jersey creating the office of Lt. Governor was to prevent the State Senate President from having to step in in situations like this. If he has to anyway, then why have the position?

    The problem isn’t Christie, it’s Guadagno. If she was having surgery or away at a family funeral or wedding or something, then I’d understand (same with Christie), but she’s vacationing in Mexico.

    Our editor and Asst. editor would never be allowed to take vacation at the same time. There’s a reason for that. While there are others who can step up and do their job if need be, that’s an emergency situation. Mexico isn’t an emergency.

  114. 114
    HyperIon says:

    @mk3872:

    Christie is a man’s man

    Is that you, DougJ?
    Sounds like your over-the-top spoofiness.

  115. 115
    Jill says:

    As a resident of New Jersey, I’m glad he’s out of state at the moment. Since the people plowing the roads are members of public employee unions, it’s probably good that they don’t have to listen to his dick-waving about destroying them for a few days.

  116. 116
    Svensker says:

    @Geeno:

    What you said.

  117. 117
    LevelB says:

    As a government employee, I understand that emergency services can function just fine in the absence of the governor. But you must remember that theater is an important aspect of political leadership. I did not care for the ‘Bullhorn Moment’, or ‘Mission Accomplished’, or worst of all, the flight back in the middle of the night to sign the Schiavo legislation, but I do understand why they occurred. I think this is just part of the package, and a large part of a politicians success or failure depends on how well these things are managed. And having said that, I have absolutely no idea if if it would have helped or hurt his image as a leader if he came back. Just my two bits.

  118. 118
    Kuvasz says:

    Cole. You wore a uniform and ought to know what leadership is all about. A leader doesn’t go on vacation during a shit storm, or snow storm.

    The best thing about this is it will help cause Christie to be a one term gov.

  119. 119
    Gretchen says:

    I am a co-supervisor of small department in a small company. The other supervisor and I are never gone at the same time.Never. Because what if something happens and it needs to be dealt with? That’s what it’s like in the business world, and what’s at stake is much, much less than the state of New Jersey. Sure, the world would probably keep spinning if we were both gone, but my boss wouldn’t see it that way.

  120. 120
    Tom says:

    I totally disagree.

    Someone tells the gov there will be a state of emergency in your state. There is a major storm coming. Lots of shit will be shut down. You choose to go on vacation anyway. So does your second in command.

    To say this acceptable is small government bullshit.

    If we don’t need our governor in a state of emergency then we don’t need our governor.

    And this isn’t about me needing to see Christie with a snow shovel. This is about me needing to see him leading. He needs to be in charge and that means making sure shit gets done when we are in a state of emergency. he’s either in charge or he’s not.

    Just because some people like to see phony photos of presidents and other politicians rolling their sleeves up that doesn’t make this a phony issue. The people in charge need to be there in times of crisis.

  121. 121
    brantl says:

    @mk3872: “No problem. It’s still true. Christie is a man and Obama is a girl. ”

    No, Christie is a lazy, stupid pig, and Obama’s an adult.

    And actually, since the purpose of a Lt. Gov. is to fill in when the governor is away AND VERY LITTLE ELSE, there’s no way they both should have left at once, certainly not for vacations.

  122. 122
    brantl says:

    @Bob Loblaw: “Are they storming the facility on dogsleds? ”

    Snowmobiles still work.

  123. 123
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    Pleaseopleaseoplease Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D), ramrod through a comprehensive single-payer public health care plan while Gov Creosote is shoehorning himself into Alice’s Teacup Ride!!!

  124. 124
    Bella Q says:

    @Nick: I thought she was visiting her father with Stage IV cancer? Poor planning, but I wanna blame Christie, cause he’s a fat fuck who’s a bully.

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