2012-07-26 / Columns
Chris Christie could give a keynote speech to remember
Parental advisory: Some material in this column may not be suitable for all audiences, especially those readers in grade school, grandmothers, librarians and certain members of the American Family Association, which monitors the media for stuff it considers tasteless and immoral. All right, now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can get on with the topic of today’s discussion: what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will say if he is tapped to give the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next month.
As we in New Jersey well know, there’s what the Republicans expect him to say in order to get the troops fired up about his buddy Mitt Romney (the good, ready-for-prime-time Christie), and then there’s what he might say if his blood is up and the spirit moves him (the bad Christie, channeling an episode of the “Sopranos” or “Jersey Shore”). You never quite know which Chris Christie you’re gonna get, but on the off chance that it’s Jersey Chris who shows up, there’s nothing that could keep me from watching, short of being run over by a bus.
At this point, it’s unclear whether Christie will be asked to give the speech at all. The rumor mill is alive with stories that he’ll take the podium, but as of a couple days ago, the governor was still being pretty coy, telling the Star-Ledger that he hasn’t gotten an invitation to speak so far (Romney’s people are apparently still trying to decide whether to roll the dice) but that the decision was up to the candidate. In other words, he’ll show up if he’s asked.
Although his home state is still battling high unemployment, huge revenue shortfalls and multibillion-dollar deficits, the governor has taken a whole lot of time off this year to campaign for Romney in other states — most recently a two-day fundraising tour through Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., Minnesota and Illinois that ended last week — and he’s been on his best behavior speaking from the stump. Chances are good he’d mind his P’s and Q’s at the convention, but wouldn’t it be fun if he didn’t? You’d listen to that speech, wouldn’t you? I know I would. Heck, I would love to write it, using the governor’s own words:
“You know, I’ve watched this Obama administration for the last four years, and everything that has come out of it, like this health care travesty, is just a pile of crap [a metaphor Christie used to describe most of the work conducted by the lame-duck session of the New Jersey Assembly last February]. And speaking for my party, the American people, and myself, I say we’re tired of getting hosed [Christie used that colorful expression at a town hall meeting in Monroe last year, describing the method of determining state aid to education], we’re tired of getting screwed [the same venue].
“We’ve told them to hold the line on spending and taxes, but do they listen? No, they don’t. Are they idiots? [He’s used that term on many occasions, most recently to put down a reporter whose question the governor didn’t like during a press conference, but also earlier this year about a former Navy SEAL who had the temerity to question his education plan.] Are they stupid? [Many instances.]
“It certainly seems so, but I’ll tell you what else they are. Harry Reid, Senate majority leader? Nothing but an arrogant S.O.B. [A phrase he used to describe a state legislator who spoke out against the governor’s proposed 10 percent tax cut.]
“Nancy Pelosi, minority leader in the House of Representatives? What a jerk! [Numerous instances, including applying the epithet to a state assemblywoman who questioned him about a report that said he’d taken N.J. State Police helicopters to his son’s baseball games.]
“And the worst is Obama’s attack dog, Joe Biden, who keeps saying those awful things about our nominee. Look up the term ‘numb nuts’ in the dictionary, and there’s his picture!” [Christie used that phrase to describe Democratic New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, who’d compared him to certain Southern segregationist governors because of Christie’s stance on same-sex marriage.]
So do you see what I mean about the potential of a Christie keynote speech at the Republican convention? It has the potential for transformational greatness. It has the potential to be the most jaw-droppingly memorable keynote speech in the history of keynote speeches. It has the potential of giving the rest of America a glimpse of the Chris Christie we’ve come to know and love in New Jersey (when he’s not off gallivanting around the country campaigning for Mitt Romney).
Think it’ll happen? Probably not — but with Chris Christie, there’s always the possibility, depending on which of his alter egos shows up. If it’s Bad Chris, old numb nuts had better watch out.
Word came from Washington last week that the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations had included Rep. Rush Holt’s request for $20 million as part of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2013 to be used for suicide prevention and outreach programs for veterans. Earlier this year, Holt had secured an additional $20 million for suicide prevention as part of the Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill — bringing the grand total to $40 million for 2013. The House approved the measure, and it must now go to the Senate for approval and be signed by the president before it becomes law — but both are likely to give their nod.
This is the second year that Holt has come through with this funding. He and New Jersey U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg pushed through the same amount for suicide prevention and outreach programs in 2012. What was different this year was that Holt pushed for a verbal commitment that part of the money would go to support community-based programs, like the successful Vets4Warriors outreach program administered by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey — a program my wife and I have actively supported since its inception. Holt was assured the committee will work with him on the issue going forward.
As I said last year when the first $40 million was awarded, it was a mighty step forward in what has been, and will be, a long march. This was another. Good job, Congressman. Gregory Bean is the former executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.