Christie at CPAC after Putting Down Pensions

Posted by Ruth O’Brien Professor Ruth O’Brien & Frederic D. O’Brien (a.k.a. Fred Schwarz, Deputy Managing Editor, National Review)


Being a longtime New Jersey voter, I noticed that Gov. Chris Christie went after the gold standard when it comes to public employees – judges.

If this intimidating governor can take away a judge’s pension, who’s next? Everyone’s vulnerable – from teachers in Wisconsin to social workers taking care of the elderly, who are vulnerable since they do not have grown children in the state to protect them.

Today our Gardener State non-Green Governor Christie insists at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he’s the people choice. Huh? Having lived in that state for 20 years plus, I know that Christie reminds most women of your sibling’s husband or former husband. Is that warring on women? No, he’s just the blowfish (i.e. blowhard) every relative wants to avoid. #RuthOBrienGC


Well, he is kind of a blowhard, but that’s never been a disqualifying factor in politics. I think Governor Christie’s biggest problem in chasing the GOP nomination is that he’s just too New Jersey. HIs act goes over well enough in Avenel and Ridgewood and Manalapan, but will it play in Peoria? Or Paducah or Pasco or Pine Bluff? Women will see their overbearing brother-in-law, and men will see The Situation crossed with Tony Soprano.

Truth be told, I was never quite sure what Christie’s justification for reducing the state’s pension payment was (though New Jersey’s heavily Democratic legislature did approve it). The approach described in the Times, in which Christie negotiates with the unions to work out a deal on pensions, seems much more promising and legally sound.

The culprits in these cases are neither the unions (who are only doing their job) nor today’s politicians (who must try any expedient they can to plug ever-greater budget holes). The culprits are the politicians of decades past, who, like New York’s Gov. George Pataki in the 1990s, made rash promises of future gold to secure union support, knowing that they wouldn’t be in office when the bills came due. Conmen like that deserve every bit of scorn their states’ current residents can muster. #FredericOBrien

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About Ruth O'Brien

Professor Ruth O'Brien, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) & Honorary Unaffiliated Academic Book Series Editor for The Public Square, Princeton University Press & Heretical Thought, Oxford University Press, USA Last book: Out of Many, One: Obama & the Third American Political Tradition (U of Chicago 2013). Nickname: Professorette by Rush Limbaugh (see

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