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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chris Christie: More Rhetoric Than Truth

"All right… all right… but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the Romans done for us?" - Monty Python's Life of Brian

At the beginning of his speech, when recounting his family's background, Governor Christie may have slipped up a bit: on "We Built That" night at the Republican National Convention, he allowed as to how his father benefited from the GI Bill, and how his grandmother relied heavily on public transportation:

They both lived hard lives. Dad grew up in poverty. After returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in the 1950s. With that job and the G.I. bill he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree. Our first family picture was on his graduation day, with Mom beaming next to him, six months pregnant with me.

Mom also came from nothing. She was raised by a single mother who took three buses to get to work every day. And mom spent the time she was supposed to be a kid actually raising children – her two younger siblings. She was tough as nails and didn't suffer fools at all. The truth was she couldn't afford to. She spoke the truth – bluntly, directly and without much varnish.

Later in his speech, the Governor says:

"We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down, and work together to take action on the big things facing America."

Was Christie referring to this?

Democrats have rounded on revelations about a private dinner of House Republicans on Inauguration Day in 2009 in which they plotted a campaign of obstruction against newly installed president Barack Obama.

During a lengthy discussion, the senior GOP members worked out a plan to repeatedly block Obama over the coming four years to try to ensure he would not be re-elected.

Sadly, no. According to another of the evening's speakers, Gov. Scott Walker, "elections have consequences." But that only holds true if the election results favor the GOP, it seems.

Next, the Governor reminded us that we are "the brothers and sisters of everyday heroes; the neighbors of entrepreneurs and firefighters, teachers and farmers, veterans and factory workers and everyone in-between who shows up not just on the big days or the good days, but on the bad days and on the hard days." What does he do next? Point out with pride how he took on those very same firefighters and teachers: the men and women who belong to public sector unions. He pointed out with pride how he "spoke the truth to the teachers union." What does it take to celebrate the examples of everyday heroes in one sentence, only to take them on in the next?

He was just getting warmed up. Here comes the big one:

"We believe in telling hard working families the truth about our country's fiscal realities. Telling them what they already know – the math of federal spending doesn't add up."

It's true: it doesn't add up. When we went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, did the President encourage us to buy war bonds? Did he address the nation, and tell us that patriots need to share the sacrifice of our brave men and women, by paying a little more in taxes to support the troops?

No. The President put those costs on the national credit card.

When the Administration voted to create the Medicare Part D program, did it come with a plan to pay for the additional costs?

No. The President put those costs on the national credit card.

When the Administration voted on tax cuts, not once, but twice, were those cuts offset by any cuts in spending to keep things in balance?

No. The President put those costs on the national credit card, too.

Were those the fiscal realities Chris Christie was talking about? Sadly, no.

The Governor talked about Democrats "whistl(ing) a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power." What he forgot to say is that the GOP created and supported the idea in the first place (as part of the debt ceiling agreement). What he also forgot to say is that the GOP is more than happy to admit that they have used the U.S. economy as a hostage to their own demands for political power.

The Governor said that "We believe it's possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for conservative principles." What he left unsaid was what other Republicans have said before him: that "compromise" means that the Democrats side with the GOP.

According to Governor Christie, "We have a nominee who will tell us the truth and who will lead with conviction." According to Mitt Romney, "I stand by what I said, whatever it was." Some conviction.

Finally, when Governor Christie asserted "Tonight, our duty is to tell the American people the truth," I can only wonder how many people asked "Okay - so when are you gonna start?"

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