Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) took time out from imprisoning heroic nurses against their will to celebrate the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy by screaming at and eye-murdering a constituent in Belmar yesterday. Liberal SuperPAC American Bridge 21st Century captured the scene on video, in which Christie alternately challenges a protester to a debate, tells him to "sit down and shut up," offers to meet with him at a later time, then refuses to meet with him at a later time:
"I've been more than happy to have a debate with you any time you like, guy.
"You want to have the conversation later, I'm happy to have it, buddy. but until that time, sit down and shut up."
"There's about a thousand things I'll do tonight. Going to dinner with you is about number thousand-and-one."
The news media treats Christie's meltdowns as either a matter of personal taste. or even as an asset. The merits of these confrontations hardly matter, although MSNBC's Chris Hayes did interview Jim Keady, the man Christie yelled at, who is a Hurricane Sandy activist and self-described "independent." His beef with Christie concerns $800 million worth of federal Sandy aid that still has not been distributed to survivors.
But the merits of these interactions are never the point, as far as the news media is concerned, but rather, the degree to which they serve the "brash tough guy" narrative they've developed for Christie. In no particular order, here are nine more of the exchanges that have fueled that narrative:
Hey, Ebola Nurse, "Get in Line!"
After telling reporters that he wouldn't talk to Nurse Kaci Hickox about her forced detention because "It's not my job to represent her," Christie was asked about the possibility of legal action by Hickox. Christie's response? He was literally like "whatever":
"Whatever. Get in line. I've been sued lots of times before. Get in line. I'm happy to take it on."
Hey, she had climate control and take-out food, proving that hospital care in New Jersey is at least as good as the back seat of a Hyundai Santa Fe.
Don't Play Doctor With Me, That's My Job!
Until recently, it would have been easy to be on Christie's side when he slammed Dr. Connie Mariano for making a medically unsupported claim about his weight, but maybe he ought to take some of his own medicine.
"If she wants to get on a plane and come here to New Jersey and ask me if she wants to examine me and review my medical history, I'll have a conversation with her about that. Until that time, she should shut up."
In 2012, Christie was caught on cellphone video jawing at a citizen on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights. The topic was Christie's education policy.
"You're a real big shot ... you're a real big shot shootin' your mouth off."
"Nah, just take care of the teachers!"
"Keep walkin' away ... really good ... keep walkin'."
I'm Governor, Shut Up!
In March of 2012, Christie got into it with a former Navy SEAL, and as the man was being escorted out, Christie predicted jail in the "idiot's" future. Then, at the end of the talk, he kept talking about the guy after he was gone.
"And let me tell you something, after you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a court room, your rear-end’s gonna get thrown in jail, idiot."
"Damn, man, I’m governor, could you just shut up for a second?"
And thank you for your service, I'm sure.
Eat a Dick, Sweetheart!
While campaigning for Mitt Romney in 2012, Christie responded to protesters chanting "Christie kills jobs!' with a super-creepy crack about oral sex, or a super-creepy accidental crack about oral sex. You choose.
“You know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.”
Don't Be a Teacher
Education is something of a running theme with Christie's beefs, as in this exchange, with a teacher named Rita Wilson, over compensation:
Teacher: You’re not compensating me for my education, and you’re not compensating me for my experience.
Christie: Well you know what? Then you don’t have to do it.
Teacher: Teachers do it because they love it.
Christie: And teachers go into it knowing what the pay scale is.
That ought to help education recruitment at least as much as Christie's food-laden hospital tents will help tourism.
Are You Stupid?
To non-reporters, it might seem almost reasonable for Chris Christie to flip out on a reporter for asking an off-topic question, but anyone who's done the job knows that there's no such thing as a one-topic press conference. It's normal for a subject to deflect off-topic questions, but it's not normal to do this:
"Are you stupid"
"I'm sorry for the idiot over there"
In yet another exchange with a teacher who is having a hard time with budget cuts, Christie doesn't like her reaction to his answer, and lets her know. The crowd loves it, but most grown women don't enjoy being told to stop "giggling" or "sit down."
"If what you want to do is put on a show and giggle every time I talk, well then I have no interest in answering your question. So if you'd like to conduct a respectful conversation I'm happy to do it. If you don't please go and sit down and I'll answer the next question."
I'm Tired of Hearing About The Minimum Wage!
Not nearly as tired as Americans are of making it.