Klein: Chris Christie’s Problem: ‘He’s Really, Truly A Bully’
Ezra Klein doesn’t necessarily think the bridge scandal will destroy Chris Christie’s career as much as that something else will. He reminds us that Christie has an aide who follows him around with a camcorder and then uploads his bullying of Jersey residents to YouTube.
Almost everywhere Christie goes, he is filmed by an aide whose job is to capture these “moments,” as the governor’s staff has come to call them. When one occurs, Christie’s press shop splices the video and uploads it to YouTube; from there, conservatives throughout the country share Christie clips the way tween girls circulate Justin Bieber videos. “The YouTube stuff is golden,” says Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review. “I can’t tell you how many people forward them to me.” One video on Christie’s YouTube channel — a drubbing he delivered to another aggrieved public-school teacher at a town hall in September — has racked up over 750,000 views.
He’s not all bad, says Klein, but…
The reason Chris Christie is so good at this is that Chris Christie is actually a bully. That doesn’t mean he’s not also a nice guy who cares deeply about his family and his constituents and his country. It doesn’t mean he’s not an unusually honest politician who’s refreshingly free of cant and willing to question his party. There’s a lot about Christie that’s deeply appealing. But there’s one big thing that’s not: He’s someone who uses his office to intimidate people and punish or humiliate perceived enemies.
In the accompanying video, Christie yells at a citizen who insults him, “You’re a real big shot,” and tries to move toward him as his aides walk him away.