Barbara Buono was treated by New Jersey’s Democratic leadership as if she suffered from a contagious disease. She had one—she was a woman unafraid of Chris Christie in a state where many men leading the Democratic Party hid behind the big man’s shadow.
If courage ever spread through state politics, where would hapless satraps like Joe DiVincenzo be? How would George Norcross and his puppet Steve Sweeney ever get to rule South Jersey as their own personal fiefdom, complete with its own university and system of voucher schools? Where would cynical religious types get the money to run their charter schools?
What would happen to the political ambitions of professional opportunists like Cory Booker?
Courage has got to be stamped out before it spreads—and Christie and his Democratic tail-waggers got a big start Tuesday night.
About 400 people, maybe half of them professionally indifferent media types, crammed into Novita’s in Metuchen Tuesday night to bear witness to the conclusion of, in its way, the biggest political sellout since the end of Reconstruction gave us Jim Crow laws. Sorry, that’s not an exaggeration— by betraying Barbara Buono, New Jersey’s Democrats have unleashed on the nation a right wingnut who will campaign as an oxymoron, a Republican moderate. And could become president.
Chris Christie is a dangerous man.
But, gee whiz, guys and gals, wouldn’t it just be totally and awesomely cool to have a real Jersey guy become president? Think of all “hits” the dying, increasingly digitized newspapers in the state would receive writing about him? Might rival the Kardashians as a trender.
If Chris Christie, someone who couldn’t be re-elected freeholder, whose brother bought him the US Attorney’s office, who used the machinery of federal prosecutions to eliminate his rivals, who incited hatred against teachers and other public employees, who presided over unemployment and property tax increases, who made the poor poorer and the rich richer, who made publicly abusing women a new professional sport in New Jersey—becomes president of the United States, we have one group to blame:
The leadership of New Jersey’s Democrats.
And Christie’s bosom Sandy pal, Barack Obama.
Not since the Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas’s nomination to the US Supreme Court, has the stink of misogynistic betrayal wafted so strongly over the national political scene. Buono was humiliated, sold out, dissed, patronized, treated like a back-bencher by her own party. Think it had anything to do with her gender? Obama could come to New York City to campaign for Bill DeBlasio—but he couldn’t cross the river for Barbara Buono?
Did Obama want Christie to win?
“A lot of people have a lot of explaining to do,’’ said Rush Holt. “A lot of explaining.’’
Beginning with why he and Frank Pallone were the only members of the congressional delegation to show up at Buono’s political wake. Ok, so I don’t know what a lot of New Jersey pols look like, but most of the only familiar faces I saw in the small crowd at Novita’s were those of reporters. Glad they finally took an interest in her campaign.
Sure, she ran a terrible campaign, But that’s a little like blaming hit-and-run victims for standing in front of cars. The election schedule was rigged by Christie. Buono had no money. She had no logistical support. Even most of the Democratic lights who did turn out for her did so half-heartedly. Does anyone believe Christie would have won if it were not for the people who gave him enough money to use this campaign to begin his ascendancy?
She was a serious candidate with no support. He was a buffoon with money and fawning media. David Koch’s “Our kind of guy.”
Tuesday night, Buono offered some brave words about the “old boys’ club” and “kicking in the door.” And then she disappeared into the Metuchen night, a woman broken by the machinations of men who wouldn’t share their power ranger toys.
To me, the face of 2013 campaign won’t be that of an angry Christie. It will be the oddly glazed-over stare of Mary Pat Christie, her cold, heartless grin somehow demonstrating both slavish loyalty and cruel contempt while Her Man verbally eviscerates a public school teacher and other enemies of the state.
I’ve seen that look before. My son was a high school wrestler. I remember moms standing up at the bleachers during matches, cheering on their boys, yelling “Kill him, kill him!” in support of their sons.
Will we all become Mary Pat Christie?
Hey, New Jersey–you people wanted him. You people got him.
(A note about the ad. If you click on the Garden ad and then go to promotions, you’ll see a coupon for 15 percent off. I’m usually there on weekends. Ask for me–Bob)