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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chris Christie's Pighating Politics

I'm not really a close observer of politics, but I kind of liked Chris Christie in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which occurred just before the Obama-Romney election.  Here are some quotes from him from that time:

By tweet: “I want to thank the President personally for all his assistance as w recover from the storm.”
“The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit . . . .  I’ve been on the phone with him, like I said, yesterday, personally three times. He gave me his number at the White House, told me to call him if I needed anything. And he absolutely means it.”
“I spoke to the president three times yesterday . . . .  He has been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state and not once did he bring up the election. So if he’s not bringing it up, you can be sure that people in New Jersey are not worried about that primarily if one of the guys running isn’t.”
In response to a question that suggested that Romney might play presidential politics by coming and touring damaged areas:
“I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested . . . .  I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power. I’ve got devastation on the Shore. I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
Source:  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/83042.html  (I guess if you're pretending to be a man of the people, you have to say "I could care less," even though it makes no sense [but see http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2014/03/18/why_i_could_care_less_is_not_as_irrational_or_ungrammatical_as_you_might.html]).

I don't really understand the whole GW Bridge Fort Lee entrance closure fiasco, but the one thing I know is that if I had been one of those commuters stuck on that bridge for hours, and I found out that the delay was completely manufactured by some goons in Chris Christie's office for political pay-back reasons, I would have been permanently furious.  That is the height of abuse of political power, coming at the expense of innocent and harried commuters -- and the arrogance of it is mind-boggling.

I can't remember the last thing I heard about whether or not Chris Christie knew about it in advance. Apparently, as of Sept. 2014, there was still no firm evidence that Christie knew about it (at least those were the reports coming from an ongoing  DOJ investigation).  My overall sense is that even if he didn't know, he must have created the kind of culture that would have allowed it to happen.  So despite his good work and seemingly impressive "non-political" stance on Sandy, the bridge scandal definitely took him down a peg in my estimation.

But now we have the pig thing.  I love pigs and as a result, I try to avoid eating them whenever possible, even though I also used to love bacon.  But of all "farm" animals (I put "farm" in quotes because most meat comes from factory "farms," which are nothing like the farms of our imagination), pigs are the most badly treated (although dairy cows are treated very badly too, as I've reported elsewhere:  PriceFixer: Domino's Pizza and the "Heroic" Dairy Cows).  It's all the worse because they are probably the most intelligent farm animals too.

Read The Pig Who Sang at the Moon by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (http://www.amazon.com/The-Pig-Who-Sang-Moon/dp/0345452828)  if you want to gain an appreciation of the living beings that we so casually consume.

And read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran-Foer to learn more about what we do to those animals in order to keep our meat prices down.  (http://www.amazon.com/Eating-Animals-Jonathan-Safran-Foer/dp/0316069884)

So what is Christie's pig problem?  Just this:  despite the fact that 93% of New Jerseyians would like for New Jersey's 9000 pigs to be able to turn around in their crates, and despite the fact that the New Jersey House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill (53-13 and 32-1) that would require that modicum of comfort to be bestowed on New Jersey's pig population, Christie vetoed the bill.  Why?  Because of political pressure from the Governor of Iowa, home to 20 million pigs, many of whom have never turned around in their crates.  Why should Christie, the champion of New Jersey, give a darn about what the Governor of Iowa thinks?  Gee, I dunno -- maybe it's because Iowa is going to be the first (and hopefully last) stop on Christie's 2016 Presidential run.

Hey, I just googled this and found that Mark Bittman views the situation about the same way I do. Who doesn't?  I've found Bittman to be grossly naive and misguided in his "economic" analysis of an animal-related issue in the past http://pricefixer.blogspot.com/2014/07/true-cost-of-burger-by-mark-bittman-in.html, but here I agree with him, and he's got some good information packed into his current piece (it turns out that several other states have banned the crating practice, and most fast food restaurants don't use pigs that were subjected to it).

The easiest way to get up to speed on the pig crate issue is to watch the Daily Show's episodes on it.

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/9cn7ye/porks-and-habitation

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/quron5/garden-crate

The one thing the Daily Show doesn't do is juxtapose the Hurricane Sandy quotes with Christie's current position, as I've done above.  It now becomes apparent -- as some in the GOP have been whining all along -- that Christie's "non-political" support of Obama just before the 2012 election was, in fact, all about presidential politics.  If Mitt Romney had won, Christie would have had to wait another 8 years for his chance.  With Obama's victory, Christie could run in 2016.  That's what he was thinking in 2012, and that's what he's thinking now.

Bottom line -- if you, like me, were kind of impressed by Christie's words during Hurricane Sandy, get over it.  He was playing you, just like he's playing the pigs.  I'd call him a pig, but that would be a compliment.

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