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The Trouble With Chris Christie
Posted on Jan 13, 2014
By Chris Hedges
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been Wall Street’s anointed son for the presidency. He is backed by the most ruthless and corrupt figures in New Jersey politics, including the New Jersey multimillionaire and hard-line Democratic boss George Norcross III. Among his other supporters are many hedge fund managers and corporate executives and some of the nation’s most retrograde billionaires, including the Koch brothers. The brewing scandal over the closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge apparently in retaliation for the Fort Lee mayor’s refusal to support the governor’s 2013 re-election is a window into how federal agencies and the security and surveillance apparatus would be routinely employed in a Christie presidency to punish anyone who challenged this tiny cabal’s grip on power.
Christie is the caricature of a Third World despot. He has a vicious temper, a propensity to bully and belittle those weaker than himself, an insatiable thirst for revenge against real or perceived enemies, and little respect for the law and, as recent events have made clear, for the truth. He is gripped by a bottomless hedonism that includes a demand for private jets, huge entourages, exclusive hotels and lavish meals. Wall Street and the security and surveillance apparatus want a real son of a bitch in power, someone with the moral compass of Al Capone, in order to ruthlessly silence and crush those of us who are working to overthrow the corporate state. They have had enough of what they perceive to be Barack Obama’s softness. Christie fits the profile and he is drooling for the opportunity.
Activists, Democratic and Republican rivals for power, liberals, reformers and environmentalists will, if Christie becomes president, see the vast forces of the security state surge into overdrive to stymie and reverse reform, gut our tepid financial and environmental regulations, further enrich the corporate elite who are pillaging the country, and savagely shut down all dissent. The corporate state’s repression, now on the brink of totalitarianism, would with the help of Christie, his corporate backers and his tea party loyalists become a full-blown corporate fascism.
Wall Street was unable to mask Mitt Romney’s cloying sense of entitlement and elitism, along with his Mr. Rogers blandness. But Wall Street sees in the profane, union-busting New Jersey governor the perfect Trojan horse for unfettered corporate power. Christie, eyeing a bid for the presidency in the 2016 election, has been promised massive financial backing by the Koch brothers; hedge fund titans such as Stanley Druckenmiller, Kenneth C. Griffin, Daniel S. Loeb, Paul E. Singer, Paul Tudor Jones II and David Tepper; financiers such as Charles Schwab and Stephen A. Schwarzman; real estate magnate Mort Zuckerman; former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso; former AIG head Maurice “Hank” Greenberg; former Morgan Stanley CEO John J. Mack; former GE Chairman Jack Welch; and Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone. David Koch has called Christie “a true political hero” and said he is “inspired by this man.” Rupert Murdoch, whose ethics seem to align with Christie’s, is similarly besotted with the governor.
Christie is pitched to the public, as was George W. Bush, as a regular guy, someone who speaks bluntly and candidly, someone you would want to have a beer with. But this is public relations crap. He is and has long been a hatchet man for corporate firms and big banks. He began his career as a corporate lobbyist in Trenton, N.J., working for clients such as the Securities Industry Association. He has done their bidding ever since. His wife, Mary Pat Christie, is a bond trader who has worked at JPMorgan Chase, Fleet Securities and Cantor Fitzgerald and is currently a managing director at Angelo Gordon, an investment firm in New York.
If Christie implodes politically, Wall Street will no doubt find another candidate to be its lackey. The system of corporate power, not the individual at the helm, is fundamentally the problem for democracy. But this does not mean we should not fear the excesses that surely would occur under a Christie presidency. Christie and those who want him to occupy the Oval Office have little regard for the impediments of law and do not know the meaning of the word “restraint.”
The quality of most of the reporting on Christie has been pathetic. The numerous portraits of the “regular-guy” governor are rewritten versions of the fatuous press releases provided by the governor’s public relations team. New Jersey desperately needs a version of the late columnist Mike Royko, whose unauthorized biography of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, “Boss,” laid bare the Mafia-like inner workings of the Daley political juggernaut. The Christie forces, which have made an unholy alliance with the state’s corrupt Democratic Party bosses to create an unassailable gang of corporate rulers, are as brutal and colorful as anything Royko chronicled in Chicago. The Democratic machine, led by Norcross, allied itself with the Republican Christie to crush the Democratic candidate for governor, Barbara Buono, who lost last November’s election by roughly 22 percentage points.
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