New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) appeared at a water treatment plant over the weekend, and told reporters on hand that he only wanted them to ask questions about the plant. One journalist decided to ask an unrelated question anyway, and Christie didn’t respond well.
“Did I say on topic? Are you stupid?” the governor said. When the reporter followed up, Christie ended the press conference, calling the journalist an “idiot.”
Maybe now would be a good time to remind politicians of a basic truth: you don’t get to decide what topics media professionals are allowed to consider at a press conference. In this case, if the reporter had asked Christie for his favorite color, fine, let him have it. But the journalist asked a legitimate question, which makes him neither “stupid” nor an “idiot.”
I realize Christie’s m.o. is to bully people into submission, but is anyone seriously supposed to respect a governor who loses his cool so easily?
Postscript: Speaking of Christie, Jeffrey Goldberg has a good piece in The Atlantic on the governor’s love for Bruce Springsteen, who apparently doesn’t love Christie back. Apparently, the governor thinks The Boss would love Christie and his conservative policy agenda, if only Springsteen would give him a chance. Christie added that Springsteen only disapproves of the right out of some kind of class guilt: “He feels guilty that he has so much money, and he thinks it’s all a zero-sum game: in order to get poor people more money, it has to be taken away from the rich.”
What a deeply strange perspective. It’s as if Christie has never even talked to a liberal, and has no idea what those on the left actually believe.
We could try to have a dialog, I suppose, but he’d probably tells us liberals are “stupid” and “idiots.”