Yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie engaged me on Twitter for much of the day, defending his attack on Congress for delaying relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy, and claiming, wrongly and bizarrely, that “All the pork was stripped out of the bill prior to passage at the insistence of Republicans, myself included.”
On January 2, Christie launched an infamous attack on Congress, singling out “the House majority, and their Speaker, John Boehner” for blame when the House declined to take up the Sandy relief bill that had come back from the Senate. The Senate bill included “pork” and wasteful spending that had nothing to do with Sandy.
House Republicans, in the midst of negotiations over the “fiscal cliff,” balked at passing $60 billion in new spending, little of which was directly aimed at Sandy victims and none of which was offset by cuts elsewhere. The media and the left portrayed Republicans as heartless, ignoring legitimate concerns about corruption and waste.
Gov. Christie was understandably outraged by the delay. But rather than focus his anger on the politicians of both parties–particularly in the Democrat-controlled Senate–who had exploited the victims for their own purposes, he singled out his own party, perhaps in an attempt to appease Democrats in his largely blue state.
It was pure opportunism–good local politics, bad national politics, and poor leadership overall. Instead of acknowledging that concerns over excessive spending in the Sandy relief bill were legitimate, Christie called those who raised concerns about pork “know-nothings” and implied …