Governor BigBoy (R-NJ) is an easy target for Eags and The Deadline Poet. However, it couldn't happen to un-nicer guy. BigBoy has hired a battalion of lawyers to fend off the mob carryin' torches, pitchforks, and ropes. Christie might have to do a reverse George Washington in crossing the Delaware out of Jersey in the dark of night. If this is the (fair & balanced) stuff of impeachment, so be it.
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[x NY Fishwrap]
By Timothy Egan
Tag Cloud of the following piece of writing
Governor Christie Traffic Jam
By B. Springsteen & J. Fallon
People love a man who tells it straight, the authentic stand-up guy who doesn’t have to let you know he’s that guy. Harry Truman, despite looking like the bank auditor from Bedford Falls, was that guy, and earned his nickname — Give ‘Em Hell, Harry.
John McCain of the early 2000s, the pre-grumpy, un-embittered, even-kind-of-vulnerable John McCain, was that guy. But then he gave the nation Sarah Palin, and you knew he was no longer that guy because you couldn’t say the words “President Palin” and call it straight talk.
Chris Christie is not that guy. You may have heard Brit Hume, that is, Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume of Fox News, refer to Governor Christie’s problem. It’s not that he’s arrogant, paranoid, testy, bullying or too blunt for the P.C. culture. It’s just that he’s an “old fashioned guy’s guy” in a “feminized” world — an endangered species adrift on a floe of mush.
Even by the standards of Fox, where Santa Claus is officially white and the pope is a red, Hume’s remarks flummoxed his listeners on a panel. He was asked to elaborate.
He said, “By which I mean that men today have learned the lesson the hard way that if you act like a kind of an old-fashioned guy’s guy, you’re in constant danger of slipping out and saying something that’s going to get you in trouble and make you look like a sexist or make you look like you seem thuggish or whatever.”
His complaint is a favorite theme of Rush Limbaugh, the national bully, who’s constantly harping about “the feminization of America,” and in the broadcast realm, “the chickification of the news.” Of late, he’s gone after the National Football League, with all its concerns about lifetime brain damage to players and harassment in the locker room, as further evidence that the American male has become a wuss. “Men now have linguini spines,” he says.
Let’s stick with Christie for now. I’ve always liked his Jersey edge, his greatest commodity. Even if most voters couldn’t tell you his politics, they would say Christie is no plastic pol, nor a ditherer. Plus, he has a man-crush on Bruce Springsteen (certified guy’s guy), whose recent parody with Jimmy Fallon probably broke Christie’s heart.
But look beyond his appealing persona. There’s a reason “Nixonian” is moving up the Google search-pairing chart with Christie; he’s vindictive, and never forgets a slight. His world is divided between enemies and loyalists. And you look at the way he talks to people in public with far less power than he — teachers, students, lowly constituents at town hall meetings. They’re idiots, morons. Ha ha ha. I’ve got the microphone, fool.
Would a guy’s guy try to weasel out of a friendship since high school? Christie went out of his way to stress that David Wildstein, one of his top appointees linked to the traffic shutdown at Fort Lee, was in essence a loser who never was a Christie friend at all. “You know, I was the class president and athlete,” said Christie. “I don’t know what David was doing during that time.”
David was, at the least, on the same high school baseball team as Christie, as the coach revealed. Yeah, but Christie, the big man on campus, probably never talked to that poor little nebbish Wildstein.
Incidentally, baseball this week offered another example of guy dichotomies. Alex Rodriguez, the preening, desperate phony who tried to preserve his diminishing athletic powers with a grab bag of pharmaceutical enhancements, showed once and for all that he’s no guy’s guy. For that moniker in pinstripes, look to Derek Jeter, who struggled through his injuries the old-fashioned way.
What frightens Hume and Limbaugh and all their listeners in the aging male demographic has little to do with traits of loyalty or honesty, or even plain-speaking. They see that women will soon make up a majority of people in the workforce, and women bosses at every turn, and worry that the old towel-snapping days are over for good. Somehow, altering the balance of power makes men soft, forced to speak in touchy-feely pap. Watch what you say, boys, and put that cigar out.
If they were talking about the huge diminishment of opportunity for blue-collar men, and the inability of our culture to find a place for those who put their backs into their living, the defenders of a lost era would have a point. But they’re not.
Christie, in Hume’s definition, is “very much an old-fashioned masculine, muscular guy.” The consequence of being that guy, he said, is the risk of appearing sexist or thuggish. He’s got it exactly wrong. A truly muscular politician — think Teddy Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson, both of whom brought lasting changes to American life by sheer force of their political skills — can govern without acting like a thug or a Neanderthal. (Johnson, of course, could also be a bully.)
Books like The End of Men (2012) and the inevitable Fox crusade against “The War on Men” are squeaks of the turning wheel. The “Mad Men” days are not coming back. You will never convince a majority of Americans to vote for your political party if you call smart young women “sluts,” as Limbaugh did, for using birth control.
If you say something that genuinely offends women, it’s not because you’re a brawny dude, speaking freely, or even standing up to the culture patrol. It’s because you’re insensitive to people in general — the daughters, wives and mothers of many a manly man. Or, at the least, it’s because you’re outdated, like showing up for work at a tech company with a cellphone the size of a shoebox. Ω
[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]
Copyright © 2014 The New York Times Company
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[x The Nation]
Fort Lee Jam
By The Deadline Poet (Calvin Trillin)
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Chris Christie insists he knew nothing at all
Re jams at the bridge lanes. Well, maybe.
But, now, those commuters are smiling. They say,
“So who’s in a bigger jam, baby?” Ω
[Calvin Trillin began his career as a writer for Time magazine. Since July 2, 1990, as a columnist at The Nation, Trillin has written his weekly "Deadline Poet" column: humorous poems about current events. Trillin has written considerably more pieces for The Nation than any other single person. A native of Kansas City, MO, Trillin received his BA from Yale College in 1957. He served in the army, and then joined Time.]
Copyright © 2014 The Nation
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