Nel's New Day

November 4, 2013

GOP Wants White Men–Like Christie, Paul?

White men—that’s what 95 percent of conservative Republicans want in Congress. Only 5 percent said that they wanted more minorities sent to rule the country. Only 26 percent of conservatives—and 23 percent of Republicans—even want more women in the House and Senate, according to the same ABC/Fusion poll.

christieGov. Chris Christie, New Jersey candidate in tomorrow’s election for a second term, wins my angry white man of the week. Mrs. Christie smiled blandly while Christie shouted, “You people! Just do your job!” His fury came public school teacher Melissa Tomlinson’s question on Saturday: “Why do you portray New Jersey Public Schools as ‘failure factories?'” Christie is a shoe-in for tomorrow’s gubernatorial election, but his presidential aspirations may suffer from his bullying behavior.

Yesterday Katty Kay pointed out on Meet the Press that Christie “has a problem in particular with women voters. I think what is seen as bullying, overbearing, perhaps a little bit thin-skinned, and he goes on the attack a lot.  I know that it hasn’t affected him in New Jersey, but I have a feeling that when he gets out into the general audience there is a character issue there that may put some women voters off.” Men, especially white ones, may not have any issue with his behavior as shown by Bill Kristol’s response to Kay: “He’s awfully impressive.  I like him.”

There were a few things not to like about Christie when Mitt Romney vetted–and rejected–him as a possible VP candidate last year. Mark Halperin and John Heileman cited a few of the problems in their new book, Double Down: Game Change. As an AG, his overspent travel monies without “adequate justification,” including stays at places like the Four seasons, followed his work as a lobbyist for the Securities Industry Association while Bernie Madoff was a senior official for them. A Congressional hearing resulted from Christie’s help for his donors and political allies, such as former AG John Ashcroft, in receiving large government contracts. A defamation lawsuit against Christie came from his 1994 ousting of an incumbent. His brother also settled for SEC civil charges by acknowledging making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged.”

Other, more recent issues, show problems in electing Christie as president:

  • He cancelled the ARC tunnel, largely funded by federal aid, that would have provided tend of thousands of jobs.
  • He unilaterally gave the clean-up contract after Superstorm Sandy to a politically-connected Republican firm which charged more than twice as much for debris removal as other reputable firms.
  • He turned down federal aid to hire people in helping people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, causing more loss of jobs.
  • He killed another 1,800 New Jersey jobs by unilaterally pulling the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative after a supposedly secret meeting with the Koch brothers.
  • He unnecessarily spent millions of dollars to have the special election for a U.S. senator just days before the general election.
  • He picked an inexperienced hedge fund manager and waived the salary cap when he appointed a superintendent for Camden’s schools.

Another issue is the slowness of disbursing charitable donations for Superstorm Sandy. One year after the disaster, 42 percent of the $575 million has still not been given to needy people. The Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund, with Mary Pat Christie as Board Chair, has been suspect in this area.

Maybe one reason that Gov. Christie has yelled at teachers is his contribution to stripping the state retirement for all New Jersey state and local employees. His first budget in 2009 skipped a $3 billion payment, and the state pension funds continue to pay out more in benefits than it takes in with contributions. The state saved some money by barring part-time public workers from the pension system. At this rate, the pension fund will run out of money in five years, making New Jersey the first state in the nation to do so.

Rand PaulAnother angry white man is Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) after it was discovered that he has plagiarized chunks of his speeches and writing. Rachel Maddow introduced the issue when she gave a couple of examples from Wikipedia. Her discoveries were followed by Politico reporting that he directly copied a 2011 report from the Associated Press for his 2013 speech responding to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. He also used a 2010 passage from Citizenlink for his story about Ronald Holassie at Howard University. 

Another case was copying pieces of an article for his op-ed piece in the Washington Times and then using the same pieces in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. BuzzFeed reported that a passage of 1,300 words (more than the length of this blog) in his new book, Government Bullies, came directly from the Heritage Foundation. The book cites the source but doesn’t explain that it’s a direct quote.  

Paul attributed the copying to “sloppiness” and the reporting to “hackers and haters.” There might be graceful ways out of this problem, but Paul hasn’t taken them. Instead of admitting any wrongdoing, he said, “I think the spoken word shouldn’t be held to the same sort of standard that you have if you’re giving a scientific paper. I’ve written scientific papers, I know how to footnote things, but we’ve never footnoted speeches, and if that’s the standard I’m going to be held to, yes, we will change and we will footnote things.” That was before news sources started tracking a number of his plagiarized entries in written material.

The story went viral after he said—possibly in humor?—that if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, it’d be a duel challenge.” Kentucky takes dueling very seriously; it’s the only state in the Union that requires state officials to swear that they have not fought in, challenged for, or assisted at a duel “so help me God.” On yesterday’s ABC’s This Week, Paul asserted, “I take it as an insult, and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting.”

Although Paul didn’t specifically name the potential dueling partner, the person was identified as female. On Fusion, an ABC/Univision cable channel, he said, “You know, the person who is leading this attack, she’s been spreading hate on me for about three years now, and I don’t intend for it to go away, but I also don’t see her as an objective news source.” We’ll make a wild guess that it’s Rachel Maddow. Someone should tell him that it’s not presidential material to declare a vendetta with a journalist.

For just a senator, his plagiarism and resulting hostility might not be a problem, but Paul has designs on the presidency. At least, he’s advertisers are making money off him; this advertisement for software programs to identify plagiarized material was posted at the top of an article about Paul.

grammar checker

[To avoid plagiarizing, I wish to state that the source for Rand’s photo is here.]

So Christie the bully yells at people, primarily women, and Paul threatens one with a duel. The GOP still doesn’t understand that this isn’t the way to win an election, no matter how much Republicans wish that women weren’t in Congress.

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