New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie has certainly acted gracefully in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, cooperating with President Obama to take care of his own people and drawing the ire of much of the far-right elements of his own party in the process.
But it's important for Americans to remember that Christie -- who is widely believed to have presidential aspirations in 2016 -- is not a moderate Republican. During his time in office, he has pursued a staunchly right-wing agenda that has taken aim at workers, the environment, education, and other areas of American life.
Here's five reasons Christie is not a moderate:
- He Has Moved To Crush Unions: If one thing marks Christie's tenure, it is his hostility to organized labor. In 2011, Christie "signed landmark legislation that increases pension and health contributions paid by a half-million teachers, police and other public workers and removes the issue from collective bargaining for four years" -- undermining labor rights. During his speech at the Republican National Convention, he derided teachers unions: "[Democrats] believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children. They believe in teachers' unions. We believe in teachers."
- He Killed Marriage Equality: Remember that Christie vetoed a bill that would've given gays and lesbians full marriage rights.
- He Has Rapidly Advanced Education Privatization In The State: In 2010, Chris Christie (R) slashed $820 million in school spending, a cut so extreme that a judge ruled it unconstitutional. At the same time, he has pushed for hundreds of millions of dollars in school vouchers which would transfer taxpayer dollars to private schools.
- He Ended New Jersey's Involvement In Battling Global Warming: Despite his strong leadership in the wake of Sandy, Christie undermined the movement to stop these extreme weather events by pulling New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which was designed to combat global warming.
- He Has Bailed Out Irresponsible Corporations: While slashing school spending, Christie bailed out a massive super-mall boondoggle with $400 million. He has also diverted funding to privately run half-way houses where violent inmates have escaped and non-violent inmates have been killed.
Chris Christie's close cooperation with the federal government to aid the victims of Sandy is certainly laudable. But especially in light of his possible presidential aspirations, Americans should not forget that he is a hardcore right-winger who had undermined the middle class, equal rights, and basic fairness in New Jersey.