As you may know, I am not a fan of Chris Christie.
I was critical of his handling of the Boxer Day Blizzard in 2010 when he took a vacation to Disney World with his family.
I have been critical of his handling of schools and education policy and a host of other things.
I think he can be boorish and insulting, thin-skinned and a bully.
That said, I think he has handled the Hurricane Sandy disaster extremely well (though criticism of his handling is coming from some quarters- including The Guardian and Slate.)
Yes, he's still his blustery, charming self, ripping the mayor of Atlantic City for ignoring a mandatory evacuation order from the state and allowing people to stay on a barrier island during the storm or telling people who are stuck in areas that were under mandatory evacuation orders that he wouldn't put first responders' lives at risk to save them.
But you know what?
He's fucking right about that.
I took this storm very seriously before hand, loading up on water and supplies, getting ready for the potential of 7-10 days without water and electricity and I live in Flood Zone B.
But a lot of people around me didn't do that.
Some didn't know a storm was coming.
Some decided the only provisions they needed for the coming storm was a case of vodka, tonic water and candles.
Nothing like drunk people wandering carpeted hallways in the dark with candles in a building where the staff has been telling people to unplug the smoke detectors because the carbon monoxide alarms are going off because of a system overload.
And that's the kind of stupid shit you saw happening in places like Atlantic City.
There was one video making the rounds of a bunch of college aged guys jumping in their bathing suits into a puddle of water as a TV reporter was doing a live update.
The storm was just about a couple of hours from landfall - at Atlantic City!
Listen, I wasn't on the Jersey Shore, so I dunno how many people stayed or were prepared for the storm.
But Christie was right to ream the Atlantic City mayor for letting people stay on a barrier island after a mandatory evacuation order and Christie was right to warn people "Before you do anything - if it seems stupid, it probably is stupid."
Jason Farrago read that as bluster in his piece about Mayor Bloomberg today.
I read that as Christie's exasperation with stupid people.
I side with Christie on that.
Also I would note that while Bloomberg declined a visit from Obama today, claiming he couldn't spare the police, Christie was gracious in his handling of the president's visit, going out of his way to thank Obama for the extra help he is sending New Jersey.
Bloomberg was being petulant because he can't stand Obama.
That's fine, but it's the sort of thing you expect out of Chris Christie and we didn't see that.
Finally I would note that Christie was taking this storm very seriously from the beginning and he was telling people to do the same. He seemed very much in charge before the storm, during the storm and now in the aftermath.
Bloomberg, on the other hand, seemed to need Cuomo's prompting to finally make the evacuation order official on Sunday morning (would Bloomberg have ordered the evacuation unless Cuomo had already made clear he was shutting down the MTA at 7 PM?)
He also seemed sedated during his live updates - the one time he showed any spark was when a reporter dared to question Bovis' crane operation when a crane nearly toppled down 90 stories and took out most of 57th street! God forbid anybody question a private crony company.
Listen, I don't like Cuomo, I don't like Christie, and I don't like Bloomberg. I don't like their policies and I don't like these men personally.
That's a fact and you can see the things I've written about these men and their policies on this blog.
That said, I have come away from my Sandy experiencing disliking the Little Mayor even more than I already did as he desperately spins his piss-poor handling of the pre-storm and some in the media, perhaps thinking Bloomberg is soon to buy up the NY Times AND the Financial Times, buy that revisionist spin.
I have come away with a begrudging respect for Christie and his bluster, however - at least in these circumstances.
First, because I think the bluster was warranted.
Secondly, because he really seemed to have a handle on the storm, knew what he was talking about before it hit (all the meteorologists on the weather forum were saying he was by far the best informed of the politicians dealing with this), and has seemed really on top of things since.
I'll go back to despising Christie after this (and from Jersey Jazzman's latest post, I see good reason already), but I wanted to get my thoughts down about Christie now, before he says something stupid and makes me regret thinking and saying good things about him.
Once again, I agree with you--and I'm sure I'll go back to finding fault with Christie in the not too distant future. Ditto Cuomo. I think the main difference is that Christie,whether you like him or not, is real and it actually seemed that he really cared about the people affected by this disaster. He was emotional and he tends to say whatever the fuck he feels like saying at the time too. I do have to admire that. Bloomberg acts like the whole thing bores him. At his afternoon press conference he rattled stuff off in a bored monotone, like he had to get through this , but he'd rather be someplace else. I think that if his handling of the disaster proves anything it is that he doesn't care in the least about the little guy. We, of course, already knew this, but I think he spread this message to a larger audience. I know I'll also go back to disliking Cuomo with a vengeance too, but he did act like a real leader this time and I believe that his actions forced Bloombucks into the position of having to do the right thing.ReplyDelete
That's a good point that I missed in my piece. Christie for better or for worse, is real - real reactions, real emotion. It's bad when he goes after a guy on the Shore with an ice cream cone, but in this case, it's a plus.ReplyDelete
Dunno if Bloomberg cares about people (I truly don't think he cares about individuals, though he seems to like people in the abstract) but even if he does, he sure seems cut off from his emotions.
Some people liked the monotone updates. I think Wolfson is loading Mayor Mikey up with percosets right before he comes out.
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