Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Chris Christie's Advice to GOP Governors Brings Down the House

4 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
SAN DIEGO -- When at least four possible presidential contenders – Govs. Haley Barbour, Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels -- shared a stage at the Republican Governors Association conference Thursday morning, along with Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie, who do you think was the standout?
Yes, Barbour's every word is quotable, Daniels has sewn up the David Brooks primary, and no one can say that Pawlenty doesn't present well. But if you read Politics Daily's Jill Lawrence, you might not be surprised to learn that it was Christie who got the most applause and laughs from the crowd.
What new governors can't understand, he said, is that "I don't care if you had a Democrat or a Republican before you,'' you will still be up against the same "it's never been done that way'' mindset. He told governors-elect that their own political advisers will tell them, "Let's not kick anybody you shouldn't kick and you'll be fine; let's incrementalize, kick them a little and cuddle up to them at other times.'' Which is fine, he said, if you want voters to "fog over" when you speak, throw down the newspaper when they read about you, and vote against you the next time.
Speaking about his own fight against the teachers unions, he said he likes teachers, too, "but I can't stand their union.'' Freezing teacher salaries for a year and asking teachers to pay 1.5 percent of their salary for health benefits was characterized as such an historic assault on schools that even his own first-grader, Bridget, was hurt as a result. Really? Sure, he said, and told a story about her supposedly coming home with her first report card and complaining that OF COURSE her marks were poor. "I can't concentrate, I can't study,'' with a teacher whose pay has been frozen. "Dad, stop the madness!"
In answer to the huge laughter and applause from the crowd, he said, "You laugh, but that's the crap I have to listen to in New Jersey.''
Spend your political capital while you have it, he advised those just elected, because if you stow it in a drawer for some time when you need it, you'll open that drawer some day and find that is has dissipated.
Christie and Susana Martinez of New Mexico were chosen as at-large members of the RGA's leadership team headed by incoming chair Rick Perry. Outgoing chairman Haley Barbour will remain on the team in the newly created role of policy chairman. Jindal will serve as gala chairman and Nikki Haley as recruitment chairwoman.

As for advice new governors got from others on the stage? Barbour told them to "do what you said you were gonna do. Anybody that thinks there's one department in your state that can't save money doesn't know what the hell they're talking about."
Pawlenty said "every day there are threats to our freedom in the form of school board" and other governmental decisions. Taking one of several shots at the press, he said that when Republicans so much as mention the word freedom "some of our friends who are cynical in the media snicker at that.''
Daniels, who moderator Bill Bennett introduced as "the man on the motorcycle,'' (Daniels rides a Harley) was in both dress and posture the most relaxed guy on the stage. In a baggy blue sweater over a T-shirt, he leaned way back in his chair and told new governors, "You're going to have a field day, especially if you follow a Democrat'' because there will be so much fat to trim from state budgets. "Low-hanging fruit,'' he called it. "It's what our military friends call a target-rich environment.''
Interestingly, a main theme of today's discussion was that this is a moment when the American public is prepared and willing to make sacrifices; that's an argument that many of Obama's fellow Democrats thought he should have made more explicitly.
McDonnell said this is a unique moment "in American history when people are willing to put up with more cuts. People manage resources better if you give them less of it.''
Later in the day, at a panel discussion modestly called "Saving America,'' Newt Gingrich gave the only formal address of the conference, a 12-point plan delivered from a podium. In it, he said people receiving unemployment compensation should be required to go through a training course because "paying people to do nothing for 99 weeks is as wrong in unemployment compensation as it was in welfare.''
Another of his proposals is that every public school student be required to "reassert American exceptionalism" by studying the Declaration of Independence every year. "The time has come to reassert that we are Americans, and America is a learned civilization,'' he said, pronouncing learned as a one- rather than two-syllable word.

Click here to follow Melinda Henneberger on Twitter.
Filed Under: Republicans, Governors

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.


Filter by:

Is this the same Governor Christie who killed a major construction project in our state (NJ) and caused the loss of thousands of much needed jobs in the worst recession since the grate depression? With all of the other flops he's made since being in office, the loss of federal education funding in the millions, we will make sure he's a one turn Governor!

December 02 2010 at 12:38 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tzone1928's comment

Be thankful you have him. Face one wants to move to your state due to excessive taxes, unions, and corruption! How can you be so uninformed. You can't spend your way out of this recession. Christie is a gem!

December 03 2010 at 5:07 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

It looks like all the teacher union advocates are out in force judging by the comments. WAKE UP union people! You are killing our economy. I know teachers have a tough job, but compare money spent per student public v. private and guess what... private is less. A lot less. AND private gets better scores. Let's be reasonable and put country first, not union first, political job, etc., but the best interest of USA first.

November 30 2010 at 9:14 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to samharris2011's comment

Private schools don't take the students who are extremely difficult to teach, so that has to have at least a little to do with the better results in private schools. I would never teach at the salary they are paid. I'd rather drive a FedEx truck or wait tables for half to two thirds of a teacher's pay. It's a really hard job if you're in public school, and you should consider whether you are underestimating the degree of difficulty in teaching.

November 30 2010 at 11:21 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

To all those that plan on running for presidental office: "If you want to keep up with the other countries of the world; you had better be kind to the teachers unions or at least pay the teachers out of federal pay"! I would rather be a coal miner than go through the crap that a teacher has to go throough everyday. I started out as a teacher (teachers for many generations in our family), but couldn't handle the idea of not the kids so much, but the overbearing parents who demand results that are above the childs abilities! How many parents do you know that spend a full hour helping their kids with their homework (not doing it, but helping them). There is a big difference between doing their homework and helping them understand it. Being a teacher is a very tough job,don't kid yourself.

November 29 2010 at 3:21 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I challenge any of these idiots who think it's a walk in the park to teach school to do it ON FILM AND COMPLETELY DOCUMENTED for a month. Fuzz out the kids faces, their parents' faces (if they ever show up to a parent/teacher meeting), the administrator's faces, and do a frank documentation of exactly what a teacher has to go through on a day to day basis. If you think actual teaching comprises the majority of the day, think again. Administrative BS, classroom management of children who have never been told "no" by their parents, "mainstreaming" of children who would be better served by being in classes specializing in their disability, photocopying, meetings, and more meetings - the list goes on and on.

November 29 2010 at 11:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to sv0510's comment

BOOHOO. Poor little you. "I challenge any of these idiots {can you not make a argument without calling people names?} who think it's a walk in the park to teach school" ... Then DON'T TEACH. FIND ANOTHER JOB. If you think you are worth more than you are being paid GET OFF YOUR TAXPAYER FED ARSE and go out on the market and sell your skills to the highest bidder. STOP COMPLAINING.

December 01 2010 at 3:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

There are alot of "tough" jobs out there that get paid less than teachers and they have less benefits but most of them don't whine and whimper at any sign of sacrifice that they may have to make. You don't do anything more than the rest of us non-teachers, in fact you do less than alot of hard working folks and you get the opportunity to teach children. What an honor. Quit dumping on it or get out....

December 01 2010 at 1:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I don't know what's worse... Imposing what amounts to a surtax on teachers to pay for the mess that everyone else created, or Newt Gingrich's fascism. I know the moniker of fascism gets thrown about a little too easily, but his education proposal is ACTUAL FASCISM.

November 28 2010 at 5:20 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Ever notice how state and local government union bosses and teacher union bosses live compared to their workers. Pretty amazing - big houses, tons of money, lots of very expensive cars. The ONLY difference between a union boss (who is as greedy as any CEO), or a "greedy" CEO, is the CEO at least had a vision for building something new while the Union Boss only has a vision on how to take others money from their work and their vision.

November 28 2010 at 2:16 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

Are we ready for an "Italian American" for president...A good man!...

November 25 2010 at 5:55 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

The day Christie forces NJ's towns and school districts to combine into 100 from the current 700 or so is the day he gets this real conservative's vote. Until then he stands out among the rest of the bloated politicians for all the WRONG reasons.

November 23 2010 at 1:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Reading Christie's comments, I was reminded of the evangetlist's tale of a preacher who preached a fiery Sunday sermon. Afterward, one of his congregants came up to shake his hand and said, a little blanched in the face, "Preacher, you really rubbed the cat the wrong way!" To which the preacher replied firmly, "Well, then, the cat needs to turn around!" Precisely the message of the American electorate, 2010.

November 22 2010 at 7:53 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

Newt and all his buddies complaining make millions, and we are all over paid......The government is doing a good job brainwashing all of us into thinking we.....we are over paid, and should not have Social Security,or a pension, all the while they have for life great government healthcare, and a great pension. go figure. The American public is a bunch of brainwashed idiots...

November 22 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to celia's comment

Campaigns are expensive because TV advertising is expensive and, as you have noticed, TV advertising is very good at influencing the unwitting and unwary. If you want to undo the "brainwashing" start with banning the high-emotional appeal/low intellectual content of television political advertising.

November 22 2010 at 5:16 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>