Governor Christie’s suggestion to reporters that they take the bat out on State Senator Loretta Weinberg because she is collecting a taxpayer-funded pension in addition to her salary as a legislator probably won’t change too many people’s opinions about New Jersey’s GOP governor.
His supporters are likely to back him faithfully, as they have done throughout his term as the state’s chief executive. And they’ll probably take some shots at the media for good measure.
Meanwhile, Christie’s opponents will cite his comments as further proof that Christie is arrogant, mean-spirited, cruel, and bad for New Jersey.
The real significance of Christie’s comments, however, involves his long-term political future. True, the man has become extremely popular, largely because he displays a demeanor that resonates with today’s citizenry.
But if he harbors any ambition for higher office, Christie needs to start thinking a little more carefully before he speaks, even if that is not his style.
This week, he’s telling reporters to take a bat out on a 76-year old widow. Earlier this month, he strongly implied that Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman was responsible for a young man’s murder because he allegedly was murdered by a man let out of jail early under terms of a bill she authored. Last year, he got in trouble for comments he made after New Jersey missed out on $400 million in federal over education funds – which prompted the Obama Administration to release a video showing that Christie’s charges were not accurate.
So far, the ramifications of such comments have been minimal. In fact, they may have even boosted Christie’s popularity. However, he is walking on a dangerous high wire. The line between being outspoken and unacceptable is a thin one, and the list of people whose careers ended abruptly because they crossed that line — even just once — is a long one.
And it could someday become one person longer if Chris Christie continues to make the type of comments he made this week.
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